The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

DA stands by volunteer panel system used in officer-involved shooting


June 2, 2019

CLOVIS — Marco Serna acknowledged “it takes longer than we would like, and it’s not a perfect system,” but stood by the volunteer panel system through which he evaluated last year’s officer-involved shooting in Clovis.

Serna, district attorney for the 1st Judicial District in Santa Fe, spoke with The News Friday morning in Clovis during a four-day, 16-community tour kicking off his campaign to represent the state’s 3rd Congressional District.

Serna was one of three district attorneys from outside the 9th Judicial District that composed the panel evaluating the Oct. 8 incident in which Clovis Police Officer Brent Aguilar shot and killed a car theft suspect, Aaron Chavez. The panel received case materials from New Mexico State Police in mid-November and took about five months before concluding Aguilar was justified in the fatal shooting and that prosecution was not warranted.

Based on the same information, the CPD cleared Aguilar for regular duty a week after the shooting.

Serna echoed the points of 11th Judicial District Attorney Rick Tedrow, a liaison for the panel system, in stating that it was difficult for the busy prosecutors to coordinate their schedules and make time together. He emphasized the panel’s “thorough review” was paramount in order to respect all the parties involved.


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