** (Disclaimer: This video content is intended for educational and informational purposes only) **
Albuquerque, New Mexico — On March 30, 2020 at 12:52pm, a report of a welfare check at 917 Edith Blvd SE was generated by Albuquerque Police Dispatch. The caller told the operator Valente Acosta-Bustillos had not been heard from in 4-5 days and that he had not been to work or picked up his paycheck. The caller, who was Valente’s son-in-law, also stated that Valente’s cell phone was off and this was unusual behavior. The son-in-law also indicated Valente had not been diagnosed with a mental health illness, and it was unknown if drugs, alcohol or weapons were involved with the call.
At 12:58pm, officers were dispatched to the call and arrived at approximately 1:13pm and made contact with Valente. Officer Edgar Sandoval engaged Valente in Spanish while Valente was on the side of the house. Valente was holding a shovel. In Officer Sandoval’s interview, he stated he had built a rapport with Valente from previous contacts and knew that Valente could understand English, but Spanish was Valente’s preferred language so he chose to speak to him in Spanish.
While discussing the reason for the call with Valente and ensuring his welfare, officers checked to see if Valente had any outstanding warrants. Valente was found to have one confirmed felony warrant for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. At that point, the call changed from a welfare check to a felony arrest, which officers were obligated to enforce. Officer Sandoval told Valente he had an arrest warrant and Valente was going to have to go with the officers. Valente argued that his court date was sometime in April, the papers were fake, and he wanted to talk to a lawyer.
Valente stepped backward inside his doorway and tried to close the security door to his house. Officers followed Valente into the house. Once inside the doorway, Valente briefly raised the shovel sideways above his head. He then lowered the shovel to his side and walked away from officers into a dark bedroom. He was given a verbal command to “get down” and to “put the shovel down”. Sandoval drew his firearm and the assisting officer drew his taser. Valente refused and attempted to shut the bedroom door on officers. Officer Sandoval drew his firearm and the assisting officer drew his taser.
Valente stopped moving backwards and continued to grasp the shovel as it was lowered to his side. He refused to drop the shovel. Officers gave verbal commands and warned Valente to back up or he would be tased. Additional commands and warnings were given to put the shovel down. Valente did not drop the shovel. The assisting officer discharged his taser striking Valente, which was ineffective.
Valente raised the shovel over his head with a two handed grip, and swung downward toward the officers, in what can be described as a chopping motion. Officers backed up, creating distance from Valente. Valente moved toward officers with the metal blade of the shovel extended and pointed at officers. Officer Sandoval reported that Valente raised the shovel toward him while closing the distance, causing him to be in fear of being struck with the blade of the shovel. Officer Sandoval stated he discharged his handgun five times. Acosta-Bustillos was taken to a hospital, where he died.
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