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Briefs 05-14-14

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Panel: Albuquerque officer improperly used force

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A police oversight panel says an Albuquerque officer improperly used force when he fired at a driver who had escaped a SWAT lockdown.
The Albuquerque Journal reports the Police Oversight Commission on Tuesday upheld an independent review finding that officer Randal White used force improperly in the shooting. It was the first time in at least last four years that the civilian body has found an officer’s use of deadly force was improper.
Authorities say in December 2012 White fired twice at 20-year-old suspect Christopher Sosa who had fled a SWAT situation. Sosa was not injured, but a bullet was embedded in the car, and another struck the wall of a nearby elementary school.

Hearing set on New Mexico medical marijuana rules

SANTA FE — New Mexico health officials plan a June 16 hearing in Santa Fe on proposed new rules for the state’s medical marijuana program, including new limits on how many plants that producers and licensed patients could grow.
The Department of Health is proposing that producers could grow 150 mature plants and 300 seedlings. That’d be up from the current total of 150. Meanwhile, patients would be allowed six plants, down from 12.
A department study has found that there’s more demand for legal medical marijuana than supply, and department spokesman Kenny Vigil said the changes are intended to increase the supply.

Wildfire at 15 percent containment

SILVER CITY — Hundreds of firefighters battling a wildfire burning in the mountains of southwestern New Mexico have taken advantage of cooler weather and are starting to stop it from spreading.
Fire managers report the Signal Fire was 15 percent contained as of late Tuesday.
The fire is located about 10 miles north of Silver City and has burned approximately 9 square miles of timber and grass. The fire is believed to be human-caused.
Some crews are trying to build a line around the eastern and northeastern flanks of the fire while others conduct burnout operations between private property and the fire’s southern flank.
New Mexico has experienced record-setting fire seasons during two of the last three years.