ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - An Albuquerque Police Department sergeant found video from a stun-gun incident so disturbing she asked APD brass for an internal investigation, according to a memo obtained by KRQE News 13.
Her request, however, went nowhere.
Sgt. Cassandra Kukowski wrote the memo on June 1 addressed to her supervisors and APD's Internal Affairs Unit. In it she asked them to investigate a possible use of excessive force by Officer Connor Rice at the scene of a domestic-violence call two days earlier.
On May 30, Rice and Officer Shad Solís chased a domestic violence suspect near the University of New Mexico and found him hiding under a car. According to police reports, Rice zapped a Taser dart into the suspect, who was still under the car.
That is a violation of two APD policies because it is considered dangerous and unnecessary.
In Kukowski's memo, she said she watched the video from a lapel camera and requested an investigation. But that never happened.
One day after that Taser incident, the same officers used force again to nab suspected drug dealers. Again lapel video recorded the action as Rice and Solis kicked down a door to an apartment complex without a warrant and then fired their Tasers up to four times.
An hour later, cops found another suspect, who said "I surrender" and was voluntarily lying down with his hands behind his back. Lapel-camera video shows Officer Ronald Surran stepping on the suspect's face and Rice hitting him three times on the head.
The officers left out those details in their police reports although they did report firing their Tasers.
According to an APD spokesperson, department policy requires a sergeant to interview officers who use any sort of force and to look at evidence such as lapel video from the small cameras worn by officers.
In the case of the drug bust, it is unknown whether a supervisor watched the video and let the officers' actions slide or if no one ever watched it.
It took two months and News 13 asking for the video for APD brass to find out about the officers' actions at the drug bust.
At a news conference Thursday Chief Ray Schultz released the videos and announced Rice had been charged with battery and aggravated battery for excessive force. He is on paid suspension while Solís and Surran, who have not been charged with any crimes, are on desk duty.
"A complete, comprehensive internal investigation is being conducted investigating the actions of all personnel present at both scenes, including their actions as well as their inactions," Schultz said. "Also the actions of personnel who reviewed the incident at all levels will be conducted."
As a result of the scandal, Schultz has implemented a new policy. From now on, deputy chiefs, not immediate supervisors, will look at the evidence and lapel videos when a police report shows an officer used any type of force.
A lawsuit filed by News 13 under the state Inspection of Public Records Act filed earlier requesting the videos remains pending.
An Albuquerque man says an emergency vet clinic turned away his dying dog because he didn't have enough cash in his pocket to pay to save him. The dog later died.
Closing arguments wrapped up Wednesday in the final sentencing phase of John McCluskey's federal murder trial. The same jury that convicted him of killing an Oklahoma couple, must now decide whether McCluskey should face the death penalty.
Voters in San Juan County have approved a measure to allow restaurants to serve beer and wine.
It appears a former Los Alamos National Laboratory nuclear physicist accused of sharing U.S. secrets may try to withdraw his guilty plea.
Dozens of suspected drug dealers were arrested in Chaves County on Wednesday after a major operation involving 90 officers from 12 different federal state and local agencies.
Albuquerque is one of only 20 U.S. cities chosen to be part of a national initiative aimed at increasing college graduation rates.