MORA, N.M. (KRQE) - A New Mexico sheriff, who says he wanted to show his men he was the boss, got into a fight with his own deputies after he wanted to let a suspected drunk driver go.
That fight was caught on audio tape.
KRQE News 13 obtained an audio recording of Mora County Sheriff Thomas Garza firing deputy Lee Allingham. The incident was recorded by a fellow deputy who had just helped bust a suspected drunk driver that the sheriff knew and was about to let go.
The deputy did not agree and the sheriff fired him.
Sheriff: "Take your s*** off.
Deputy: "I'm taking this guy for a DWI."
Sheriff: "No you're not. No you're not."
According to a State Police report, April 7th, Deputy Allingham arrested Patrick Trujillo after he failed a field sobriety test. He took him to the sheriff's department to fill out paperwork. Then the off-duty sheriff showed up.
The sheriff told State Police he was on his way to church and decided to stop by to make sure his deputies were following procedure.
Then someone called the suspect's family and they showed up. The sheriff was about to release Trujillo to them when he and the deputy then got into a verbal and physical fight.
Allingham arrested Trujillo anyway. State Police investigated the matter. When they asked the sheriff why he was about to release the suspect, he told them he wanted to show his deputies he was the boss. When investigators asked if he thought Trujillo had been drinking, he said "yeah, he could smell the odor."
Sheriff Garza refused to talk to News 13. The case is now being turned over to the District Attorney.
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