Body Cam Footage: Police Mistake Leads to Dead Homeowner

Body cam footage reveals a New Mexico homeowner was shot and killed last month when officers mistakenly went to the wrong address.

The Farmington Police Department released the footage, which showed the officers responding to a 911 call. Apparently, they arrived at the address late at night, and after knocking three times, the door remained unanswered.

At this point, the officers contacted dispatch to double-check the address. They requested that dispatch call the 911 caller back.

When the officers realized they were at the wrong address, they began to back away.

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The door opened, and the body cam footage shows the homeowner, Robert Dotson, holding a firearm.

All three officers started yelling and fired shots. Dotson, positioned at the door, was hit.

He was subsequently pronounced dead. Following this his wife began firing from inside the house, according to reports.

CBS News indicated that dispatch was again called by Dotson’s daughter, “There were gunshots in the house and my dad is dead.” 


In the aftermath of the disaster, FPD released the body cam footage and a statement.

Fox News says the police “recognize the severity of the incident.” 

FPD Chief Steve Hebbe stated, “We will do everything we can to ensure a fuller understanding of what took place.”

Luis Robles, an attorney for the three officers, claims that the shots fired were justifiable.

We learned from CNN that the Dotson family attorneys, Mark Reichel and Shon Northam, argued otherwise.

“The FPD’s false narrative easily is debunked and disproved simply by reviewing the body camera footage and Ring camera footage,” they said in a statement.


Statistics show that this kind of incident may be happening far more often than anyone would like. According to Prison Policy Initiative, the fatality numbers for bystanders and civilians killed by police are far higher in the U.S. than in other countries.

The United States 2019 census showed that there had been 1,099 civilian deaths as a result of police shootings. Of course, the question is how many of those were legitimately justified (e.g. cop shooting armed criminal) versus accidental (e.g. cops go to the wrong house and shoot innocent victim). It wasn’t immediately clear.


So far in 2023, there have been an estimated 254 people killed by police. Mapping Police Violence says that there have been only five days this year where someone wasn’t killed by law enforcement.

In a 2019 article, Time magazine posited that one reason police make so many mistakes is that the threshold for lawful use of force is too low.

From the Time article:

Under use-of-force standards set by at least two U.S. Supreme Court cases in the 1980s, police officers may be justified in using lethal force when they have reason to believe there is a credible and immediate threat to themselves or others. That threshold, critics say, makes it hard to prosecute officers or even challenge them. “It’s a free get-out-of-jail pass from the highest court in America,” says attorney Ben Crump, who has represented several families in high-profile cases involving police use-of-force, including the family of Michael Brown.

As of now, it remains unclear whether any charges will be brought forward in relation to the shooting in New Mexico.

What are your thoughts about this incident? Also, do you feel the police are too quick to pull the trigger? Should there be a higher bar governing the use of deadly force for LEOs?

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About the author: Kimber Pearce is a student, an avid shooter, and a pro-2A advocate.

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  • jerry May 26, 2023, 4:39 pm

    I noticed Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, Russia, Iran, etc., were not on the chart. Stay safe.

  • Doc423 May 26, 2023, 8:25 am

    Sounds like that family are about to become multi-millionaires.

  • Bob W May 19, 2023, 3:38 pm

    Where the hell do these people live that they answer the door pointing a gun at someone. Couldn’t this guy see that they were cops. Stupid cops, but cops just the same. I feel sorry for anyone who lives their life being that terrified where they have a loaded gun in every room in their house and answer the door with one in their hand. The cops screwed up but what the hell were they supposed to do in that situation?

    • Pete June 16, 2023, 7:50 am

      They live where stupid Democrat DA’s refuse to lock up dangerous felons and put them back into the same neighborhoods to commit more violent crimes on innocent citizens. Did you watch and listen to the video? Or was that too much trouble for you to do before you wrote this comment?

      #1 Home intruders pretending to be cops happens more often than you think
      #2 The video shows he was NOT pointing his gun AT police officers when they opened fire WITHOUT giving the man a CHANCE to lower or drop his weapon.
      #3 Trigger-happy cops killed an innocent man protecting his home.
      #4 The cops AND the police department that sent them to the wrong address ARE GUILTY of NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE

      You asked what the cops were supposed to do in that situatution?
      Read #2 and then read it again.

  • Rob May 19, 2023, 2:09 pm

    Arrest. Try. Upon conviction, incarcerate or execute.
    Equal justice under law. No special injustice because of “status.”

  • J.W. May 19, 2023, 12:39 pm

    Agreed, very tragic event for all concerned. But I have to take issue with the homeowner. Not knowing what he is facing outside his door, at what point do you not realize you’re not going to be able to see what you will be shooting at with high-intensity flashlights shining in your face and walking out of a darkened space. He could have just started shooting blindly, hitting other houses with sleeping occupants. Yes, the police did seem to re-act too quickly in that episode, but less chance of being hit if you’ve got your target blinded already. There are flashlights now available that can cause temporary blindness, even at some distance (LEP, Laser Excited Phosphor) & small for pistol rail mount. Better to be blind for an hour than dead. As others already mentioned, looking out a window first is a good idea.

  • gypsy May 19, 2023, 12:25 pm

    so why is a citizen not allowed to defend him self and home . police could have stand down to calm the wrong visit . time to rethink calls into and wrong address calls .

  • Stan d. Upnow May 19, 2023, 12:03 pm

    Camera footage — Flashlights illuminating the door as homeowner opens door and is standing in doorway. Officers yell “Hands Up!!” and before homeowner can even begin to comply, they open fire. DID NOT see the gun pointed anywhere Close to the direction of the officers.
    As Dotson attorneys said, camera footage clearly dispels the police (coverup)claims.

    Don’t open your door without looking out windows first to see if there is a threat. Never let police in unless they have a warrant, or unless it was you who called them. And then meet them Outside to explain the situation without a gun in your hand!

  • Kevin Jamison May 19, 2023, 11:27 am

    Tis sad that police are not better trained and more efficient. It is unlikely that those who killed this innocent man will be significantly punished. In some ways this is worse than SWATting. Had an old man killed that way in my neighborhood a few years ago. Apparently the house was selected at random, the cops showed up pounding on the door, the guy opens the door with a pistol in his hand and they shot him full of holes.

  • Tip Tover May 19, 2023, 9:46 am

    This is why Ayoob says anybody knocking on your door at 3am is probably the cops and not to open the door with a gun in your hands. Answer the door but don’t open it. You can talk back and forth through most doors to clarify the situation before opening. Hard to think of all this when just rolling out of bed but it seems important enough to remember. Also would be good to have a way to see out to know who is there…. camera, window peep hole, etc. without opening the door.

    • Nobody May 19, 2023, 11:05 am

      I was told by a LEO, its them against us (wow). Well an armed citizen is a threat now according to them.Seems like the get out of jail card needs to go away. They have too much power judge, jury, and executioner.

  • LJ May 19, 2023, 9:16 am

    That family will own that police department before it’s all said and done.

    • Bob W May 19, 2023, 3:46 pm

      Cops all over the country will tell you they would rather be judged by 12 than to be carried by 6. If you want to die, point a gun at a cop. They are trained to kill you if you do that and they will get away with it because they didn’t have any other choice other than to get shot.

  • Billy May 19, 2023, 7:50 am

    Especially in 2023, no one has a harder job than police. Having said that, police incompetence, especially when it leads to wrongful death, can never be rewarded or even overlooked. No knock raids in the middle of the night on the wrong address or in this case a knock raid where they shoot the homeowner even after they suspect they are at the wrong address should absolutely NOT be tolerated. If your neighbor can be sent to jail for SWATing you, police investigators must be held to account for professional stupidity/incompetence that leads to death. Public trust in their police absolutely depends on it.

    • Stan d. Upnow May 19, 2023, 12:13 pm

      “Was it 4308, or 5308?”

      “Yeah, it might’ve been 5308.”

      Homeowner opens door. BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG

      Ooopsy, so sorry. Our bad. OK, let’s go check-out the other address. Reload guys.

  • REAL WORLD May 19, 2023, 5:32 am

    Bitch ass food wont serve a day AND dudes never coming back! At best the family MIGHT get a FEW bucks for their PRICELESS FATHER AND HUSBAND that they’ll NEVER be able to SPEND since it’s LITERALLY BLOOD MONEY that came from the BLOOF OF THEIR OWN FAMILY MEMBER!!!!! And of a SON that sounded VERY YOUNG in the call who JUST MIGHT YOU THINK HATE COPS WITH AN EXTREME PASSION… and could ANYONE BLAME HIM?! PUKE ASS COPS! It’s SOLELY THEIR FAULT! How does TWO COPS FIND THE WRONG HOUSE!!!! NEITHER NOTICED THEUR GPS SAYING NEEEEXT HOUSE?!!??!! MOOOORONS WHO DESERVE WHAT THEY GAVE!!!!!

  • Mark N. May 17, 2023, 2:01 am

    It would seem that way too often, officers responding to an incident who see a firearm–or what they perceive to be a firearm–are justified in opening fire. This was one case. There was the case in Minneapolis where the woman who called 911 went out in the alley to talk to the officer but was gunned down instead. Or the officers in NY who gunned down a Jamaican male at night when someone saw the man’s keys and yelled “Gun!” They shot him 46 times–and he was not the man they were looking for. There are instances where a homeowner, responding to a door bell at 0 dark thirty was spotted carrying a firearm–and was shot without ever opening the door. It was actually a swatting incident where the swatter had the wrong address–and he was sent to prison for that mistake, but none of the officers suffered any consequence. Out here on the west coast, we remember a massive man hunt for a former officer(Dorner?) out on a rampage, where police officers freaked out and lit up a small pick up truck (that didn’t even match the description of the subject’s vehicle) with their ARs. Over one hundred rounds were fired. Fortunately, only one of the two women in the truck, out delivering the morning news, was grazed by a bullet, although there were lots of bullet holes in cars and homes. LA paid heavily for that mistake. This happens with such seeming regularity that it is hardly surprising that officers, who are admittedly engaged in a dangerous occupation, have an “us vs them” attitude where it is better to shoot first and ask questions later. This is understandable where fractions of seconds may mean the difference between life and death, but that does not mean there should be no consequences for tragic errors. I do not know the solution. Better training? More range time? More shoot houses? I don’t know, but I don’t think the people should live in fear that a police knock on the door might get them killed.

    • Stan d. Upnow May 19, 2023, 12:20 pm

      Big difference between a person simply holding a gun calmly and someone quickly raising it into firing position and aiming. If cops can’t properly react to those two distinct scenarios, they shouldn’t be cops, or whoever administers the training program should be fired.

    • Bob W May 19, 2023, 3:56 pm

      I was a firefighter in New York City for 32 years. I worked in some of the shittiest neighborhoods the city has to offer but never once was I that scared where I felt that I needed a gun to go to work. All a cop has to say these days is that they feared for their life and they get away with anything they do. I say if you’re that scared get a different job. There are way too many people in this country running around scared for no reason and they all have guns.

  • Blue Dog (he/him) May 16, 2023, 12:06 pm

    Such avoidable tragedies are especially sad. I think one thing we can all agree on is that current police procedures need reform and that police forces have become overmilitarised. When do police departments cross over from being some sort of gang fetishising military intervention and become an occupying force?

    • paul I'll call you what I want/1st Amendment May 16, 2023, 12:32 pm

      were you there? are you a witness? or did you watch a heavily edited one sided video like I did? So how can you sit there and play with peoples lives without all the info?

    • Stan d. Upnow May 19, 2023, 12:23 pm

      “When do police departments cross over from being some sort of gang fetishising(sic) military intervention and become an occupying force?”

      Your resources for making asinine comments seem endless.

  • paul I'll call you what I want/1st Amendment May 16, 2023, 9:21 am

    “prison policy initiative” name says it all about the reporting…….how convenient

  • Capt Oveur May 15, 2023, 11:57 pm

    When I attended Police Academy training in 1990 it was
    as the Three Preconditions for Deadly Force

    With the Woke Leadership of our departments 40+ years later, the mere presence of a firearm in the hands of a Law Abiding Citizen equals all three without consequences

    • LJ May 19, 2023, 9:18 am

      Sad but true…

    • Stan d. Upnow May 19, 2023, 12:33 pm

      Yeah, today in those “woke” PD’s the Three Preconditions for Deadly Force are:

      Race – is the perp White?
      Location – does the perp live in a predominantly Republican district?
      Intent – obviously a dangerous MAGA Extremist who might own a gun and is a threat to democracy.

      Take no chances; open fire!! (don’t worry, our Soros-implanted DA will never charge you)

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