Kapinski, Acquitted in Self Defense Shooting, Sues for False Imprisonment

Kapinski murder trial suit false imprisonment

courtesy krqe.com

On the night of May 26, 2017 at about 11 p.m. in Albuquerque, New Mexico, upwards of a hundred car lovers had congregated in the parking lot of the New Beginnings Church. On Friday nights, the parking lot had been a popular place for hundreds to meet and show off their wheels.

Video shows two men, Paul Francia and Jordan Mucher, are in a group close to Anthony Kapinski near where his car was parked. They are said to have accused him of previously stealing car parts. Kapinski moved to his car.

Kapinski then moved his car to the far end of the lot, still covered by the surveillance cameras. Francia and Mucher can be seen following Kapinski. Kapinski appears to be standing in the angle of his open car door (backed into the parking space) as he is approached. He is boxed in, then attacked by two men. They appear to be Francia and Mucher, but can’t be absolutely identified in the video.

Kapinski accesses a handgun and fires. The attackers disperse. One, believed to be Francia, falls down in the parking lot. Another, believed to be Mucher, staggers off. One dies in the parking lot, the other at a hospital. Each was shot once.

The next day, Kapinski turned himself in to police.

From krqe.com

According to the federal lawsuit, prosecutors never mentioned that police had video that showed what led up to the shooting.

The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office convinced a judge to keep him behind bars until trial, arguing that witnesses saw him pull the trigger and that he had a long criminal history.

The prosecution withheld the video from the judge when arguing that Kapinski should be held without bail. While Kapinski had never been convicted of a crime, the prosecution said he had a “long criminal history”.

Kapinski was in jail for nearly a year.

Kapinski murder trial suit false imprisonment

courtesy krqe.com

Kapinski and his lawyer are now suing the Albuquerque police and the City of Albuquerque for false arrest and imprisonment. They claim the video shows such a clear case of self defense, there was no probable cause to arrest Anthony Kapinski.

It seems unlikely a judge would have been convinced Kapinski was such a threat he could not be released on bail, after seeing the video. Kapinski did not initiate the fight. He retreated and actually moved his car in order to separate himself. He was followed and attacked, boxed in without an easy way to retreat.

Video evidence such as this — from surveillance cameras, security systems and bodycams — is changing our society and legal system in numerous ways. Juries are increasingly asking, where is the video?

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

comments

  1. avatar Jon in CO says:

    I hope he wins, gets a fat settlement, a cleared record, and they hang that prosecutor for withholding evidence.

    1. avatar rosignol says:

      Withholding exculpatory evidence is a Brady violation.

      The prosecutor should be fired and disbarred, at a minimum.

      Hopefully the people involved know this, and have standing to file complaints with the relevant ethics boards.

    2. avatar DDay says:

      It should be the prosecutors and the police personally paying it though. They don’t really have consequences unless they lose their jobs and/or pay personally

    3. avatar Hannibal says:

      Brady violation aside, prosecutors have strong immunity against such suits.

      1. avatar Cory C. says:

        Hannibal, respectfully, I think that’s an overstatement. They indeed have broad prosecutorial discretion and an accompanying immunity from negligence claims, but if it’s true that the prosecutor withheld exculpatory evidence then there are likely a few mechanisms (state and federal) that empower the accused to sue. In my state, for example, there would be grounds for or bringing a malicious prosecution cause of action and a federal 1983 violation. In order to invoke qualified immunity (again, assuming exculpatory evidence was withheld), it would have to be unclear to prosecutors generally that doing so is unconstitutional, but Brady took care of that for us.

        Not trying to be a jerk. Generally, you’re correct. The firm I work for has handled many negligence actions against governmental entities, and it’s an uphill battle. But a willful act —such as what is alleged here— is a while other ball of wax.

        1. avatar Lumpy says:

          Cory C, Is a Bevins Action a useful course of action here?

  2. avatar jwm says:

    Indeed. Cameras are everywhere. Even my cheap ass flip phone has a camera on it. Between the .gov and the people we are covered from every angle.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      Indeed.

      The question used to be, “Is there any video?”

      Now the question has become, “Why haven’t you shown us the video?”

      Probably 75% of the random people on the street have phones with better video cameras than most of the static security cameras in place.

  3. avatar Red in CO says:

    The plaintiff is absolutely correct in this case, but that won’t mean jack shit, unfortunately. Still, even if it proves futile, I always like (and support) anyone trying to take the state to task over blatant misuse of its authority. The powder keg is there, all it needs is a spark….

    (P.S. TTaG, why do I STILL have to put in my info every time i want to comment? This has a been a problem for freaking YEARS)

    1. avatar CarlosT says:

      It’s because God is testing your faith.

    2. avatar Dog of War says:

      The guy’s running TTaG have to do this to keep lefty trolls from just flooding the comments section with all manners of degeneracy. And having to only use an e-mail address beats the piss out of having to log into something like Facebook constantly. The People of the Gun have enough trouble without letting some authoritarian mega-corp chose what get’s said through their eco-system. #RIPInfoWars

    3. avatar P Hall says:

      And why don’t I get notifications of responses any more?

      1. avatar rosignol says:

        Probably because that feature tends to trigger spam filters, and getting the sending domain on a ‘spam source’ list is likely to affect search rankings.

        If that’s not it, it’s definitely because of this -> http://dilbert.com/strip/1998-07-02

    4. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

      “P.S. TTaG, why do I STILL have to put in my info every time i want to comment?”

      Buggy website code.

      You don’t need to type it in each time, just double-click on the field and your data will pop up. Click and select…

  4. avatar Alexander says:

    Would the same prosecutor have arrested a cop if he was to kill someone attacking him? Oh, never mind, that happens all the time and the cop is never charged. Some are more equal than others, but we knew that.

  5. avatar bontai joe says:

    So does the prosecutor still have a job? and why? I hope that Mr. Kapinski gets a bucket full of money and that the prosecutor and detective both get new careers asking folks, “You want fries with that?” And that bucket of money should come from the forfeited pensions of the nitwits involved in arresting Mr. Kapinski.

    1. avatar Ing says:

      I don’t want psychopathic snakes like that anywhere near my fries. My life could be at stake!

  6. avatar ANONNYMOUS says:

    Will this site (TTAG), follow this to its final judgement; not including an appeal?

    It appears the defendants, CITY OF ALBUQUERQUE and TERRA JUAREZ, have until September 04, 2018 to file an answer or otherwise respond to Plaintiff’s Complaint.

    While I was able to pull this up online, I have yet to pull up (find) the initial criminal case available online. Has anyone else had any luck?

      1. avatar ANONNYMOUS says:

        @ FedUp says: August 18, 2018 at 15:27

        … if this is a reply to my previous post (on this topic), I was referring to court documents; not news articles.

  7. avatar Dog of War says:

    You know it should be noted that Kapinski really screwed up by not immediately reporting this DGU to the police. Not doing so makes you look like you’re trying to hide your actions. But that said that in no way excuses what the Albuquerque PD did here. And in fact I’ll go even further and advocate that which ever DA pushed this prosecution should his or herself should be arrested and tried for false imprisonment.

    I always trend towards supporting law enforcement, but this level of misconduct should most certainly be treated as the crime it is.

    1. avatar Gunr says:

      Yeah, that’s what I was thinking, he should have definitely called the fuzz right away. To hold off, just throws more suspicion on yourself.

  8. avatar FedUp says:

    Does “long criminal history” mean “this department and this prosecutor have a long history of arresting and charging this man with crimes they cannot prove in court”?

    And is all that because he’s a career thief and law enforcement is both vindictive and incompetent? Or is it just because local law enforcement is vindictive and incompetent and don’t like him?

    And is there a right not to be beat up by people you stole stuff from? (yes, but I see how the dead guys would think otherwise)

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      Does “long criminal history” mean “this department and this prosecutor have a long history of arresting and charging this man with crimes they cannot prove in court”?

      I found this reference:
      Kapinski is no stranger to getting in trouble. His arrests range from unlawful drag racing to battery, but KRQE News 13 could not find a case in which he was convicted.

      https://www.krqe.com/news/man-arrested-family-of-victim-in-northeast-heights-shooting-speaks-out/900212886#

      I fail to see how any of that would be relevant as aggravating factors justifying denial of bail pending trial, especially if none of it resulted in criminal convictions.

      1. avatar Gunr says:

        The poor guy might have just had one of those “I’m guilty” looking faces.

      2. avatar P Hall says:

        It’s not even relevant if he was convicted of those lesser crimes. The right to self defense is inviolable.

        1. avatar Cliff H says:

          This should be obvious by the fact that this over-zealous prosecutor did not file any weapons violation charges.

          If Kapinski was such a “career criminal” how was he able to possess and use his pistol and nobody cold find anything illegal in that?

  9. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    This guy needs to find a judge that will hold the prosecutor accountable for misconduct in this case. Some people should simply not be prosecuting any more.

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      He’s suing the city of ABQ and Terra Juarez, an ABQ police officer.
      Nobody from the prostituting attorney’s office is involved in the suit, unfortunately.
      And I’m not sure what benefit there is to suing a bankrupt cop in her personal capacity.
      http://nmb.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/opinions/08-11174.63.pdf

      Defense attorneys accused prosecutors of malfeasance (failure to produce evidence in a timely fashion) at the beginning of the year, wanted either dismissal of charges or release from custody until the trial date. This being ABQ, I’m not surprised the judge granted neither.
      https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/attorneys-for-double-murder-suspect-want-case-dismissed/4736489/

  10. avatar CZJay says:

    Don’t forget that it wasn’t only the fault of the detective.

  11. avatar Bill says:

    The prosecutor should lose his license to practice law. He knowingly withheld evidence from both the accused AND the judge. Both are direct violations of his oath and the law. If he doesn’t know any better he should not stand before the court in anything other than cuffs.

  12. avatar Robert Powell says:

    alberquerque has always had a problem with the prosecuter and the truth.. time for some slam-dunk for these law-breakers…

  13. avatar David N says:

    Yet they let the New Mexico terrorists, holding a dozen children captive, one kidnapped and taken across state lines and training them to shoot up schools out on $20,000 bail. What in the hell is going on with the justice system in New Mexico???

    1. avatar ANONNYMOUS says:

      @ David N says: August 18, 2018 at 15:41

      David, the opinion from this keyboard is –honestly don’t think it’s the ‘System’, but rather/perhaps an individual and/or –an internal network of individuals– independently operating within any supposed system/organization, that may disagree with what *that/those individual(s) think* should be the course of action or resolve.

      Then there is always incompetence.

      If not the same,I cannot determine which is worse:
      — withholding evidence
      — just plain lying
      .

  14. avatar Fix the system says:

    Prosecutors themselves have no accountability in regards to filing charges against others (often downright lies) to get charges to stick. They have funding and revenue to acquire (via court fees and fines in addition to prison time), which helps further their career.

    Most have zero compulsion against putting a totally innocent victim behind bars, if it means one more notch in their belt and browny points for raking in more cash for the county/city.

    I know a guy who had 4 bikers on his property, and after striking him and knocking him to the ground, he fired a round into the ground near them to get them to back off, and he was the one who went to jail. After taking a plea-deal, and years of probation and over $50k in legal fees/fines, the only thing he did was yell at some bikers for almost running his kids over and then fearing for his life while on his back on the ground with 4 grown bikers closing in to continue the assault.

    But the bikers called 911 first, and they didn’t have any real money. The victim here had some money and boy they sure wanted it.

    It’s gotten so bad where I live, you don’t call the cops if you’re the victim of anything anymore, because if you have anything of value, they’ll throw charges at you till they get your property and/or savings if they can.

    The LEOs here are mad about it too, as they arrest real bad folk who immediately walk because they are broke and their convictions don’t help further the career/agenda of our county attorney.

    It’s a really ugly system, and until there’s some actual accountability built into it (with actual consequences), it’ll continue to grow in a bigger tumorous monster than it already is. City/County/State/All Prosecutors need to be held accountable for their actions, same as the rest of us.

    Withholding evidence or distorting it or lying in court is not kosher, I don’t understand how nobody has at least lost their job for pulling this…let alone doesn’t ever see any jail time.

    1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

      “It’s gotten so bad where I live, you don’t call the cops if you’re the victim of anything anymore, because if you have anything of value, they’ll throw charges at you till they get your property and/or savings if they can.”

      It would be helpful if you would identify “where I live” is, so I can avoid it…

  15. avatar Ralph says:

    The Albuquerque PD has already been investigated by the DOJ, which condemned Albuquerque’s “culture of acceptance of the use of excessive force.”

    Incidents of excessive force included unjustified shooting after unjustified shooting, including several murders and the shooting of an undercover cop by a trigger-happy Lieutenant. Eventually, the APD was forced to enter into a consent decree, which the Department has continually ignored.

    It seems that while the leopard hasn’t changed its spots, it has managed to camouflage them and found a partner in the District Attorney’s office.

    The sleazeballs who framed Kapinski need to go to prison for a long time.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      It sounds more like the Fed Dept of “Justice” has been out their with their FBI peons instructing “Withholding Evidence 101” and “Advanced Abuse of the Taxpayer/Sucker”

  16. avatar rt66paul says:

    Misuse government authority and lose your pension. That has a nice ring to it. Misuse for 2 weeks is one thing, keeping him in jail for a year is criminal.

  17. avatar Michael says:

    Prosecutors will be violated. 30

  18. avatar John J. McCarthy, Jr. says:

    If anyone is looking for a good way to get shot, watch the tape.

  19. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    Cameras are everywhere because Libertarians Liberals and the Left don’t trust government. The entire video will be played in court. Including the part before and after you are read your 4th amendment rights by a policeman.

  20. avatar David says:

    It’s way, WAY past time to start putting prosecutors in prison for this kind of thing.

  21. avatar FedUp says:

    “The next day, Kapinski turned himself in to police.”

    Which makes him an extreme flight risk who needs to be held without bail for the next 11 months.

    Seriously, if crap like this wasn’t the accepted norm in ABQ, somebody would be an ex-Judge by now just for that deprivation of liberty and waste of taxpayer money.

  22. avatar Bruce Clark says:

    Nobody is perfect. Given half a chance and enough time prosecutors could dig up dirt on anyone. Sure, the young man wasn’t perfect, but the video clearly shows that he was violently attacked by multiple people bent on doing great bodily injury or death to him. He was in full right to defend himself regardless of whether he legally possessed a gun or not. I hope they bankrupt Albuquerque and at the very least cause the firing of all those that infringed on his Constitutional rights. If he stole something from them then it is up to the courts to decide that, and does not give the two Stooges the right to commit assault and battery on him. Unfortunate, yes. Two young lives were lost. Three sets of familys were punished for the actions of their sons. Sad.

    1. avatar TomC says:

      No one will be fired. No one will lose one cent except the ABQ taxpayers. Suing a government agency accomplishes nothing (beyond making your lawyer rich). The government has unlimited manpower and money to delay and defend their side in court no matter how egregious the offense. If the plaintiff lives long enough to win, then win on appeal, and win on the next appeal, he will find that all of what he won will have already been eaten up in court costs and legal fees.

      1. avatar Alan says:

        TomC:
        Given your comment, I find myself curious re the following. Do you suggest or would you have the offended party, that being Kapinsky, do nothing?

  23. avatar Alan says:

    Seems like the prosecutor and possibly the police should be charged with obstruction of justice, and to hell with this baloney about immunity, qualified or otherwise. Concealing material evidence, or any evidence for that matter is, or certainly should be a crime

  24. avatar Jeff K says:

    Really a prime example of why you need self defense insurance. For me, the USCCA has the best overall coverage and support.

    1. avatar Destroyer of Worlds says:

      Have you ever had to use your USCCA ‘benefit’?

  25. avatar David says:

    “Video evidence such as this is changing our society and legal system in numerous ways.”
    Lawyers like this one should have to pay for their crimes of omissions of evidence. All Lawyers should be proving thier point TRUE or FALSE. Stop getting criminals released on technicalities & for Christ’s sack stop convicting innocent people just so they don’t lose a case.

  26. avatar Mikial says:

    I’m a former probation officer. I have testified and made recommendations in scores of cases and worked with some very good and conscientious judges, LEOs and prosecutors, and these clowns were neither. They deserve to be found guilty and ordered to pay damages out of their own pockets, and the city should be fined. This is not the way the American legal system dispenses justice, it is a travesty.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email