CUBA, N.M. (KRQE) - The Santa Fe police officer who was fired for beating up ahandcuffed teen was hired onto the Cuba Police Department, the Cubapolice chief confirmed Tuesday.
"He's been a great asset to the community," said Chief JasonGriego. "As of today I have yet to receive any complaints onOfficer Smoker."
The attack, which is captured on a Santa Fe police departmentcamera, cost Officer David Smoker his job there. The recording ofthe attack, which occurred in November 2007, has just nowsurfaced.
Griego said he hired Smoker after he looked into the incidentand saw the video in February 2009. The chief told News 13 that hisdecision to hire Smoker was based on his entire career and not thevideo.
"(He) had a stellar career prior to this incident, had never haduse of force incidents and I was not going to judge an individualoff of 15 seconds of his entire life," Griego said.
Before the one day that ended Smoker's career in Santa Fe andcost the city $15,000 in a lawsuit, Griego claims the officerdidn't have a blemish on his record in his 14 years as a statepolice officer and then with Santa Fe police.
Still Griego said Smoker did feel some regret after he lost hiscool and beat a drunk and belligerent 17-year-old boy who had triedto spit on him. Griego said Smoker has admitted he made a mistakeat some point in the attack.
Smoker was never charged for that beating and calls to DistrictAttorney Angela Pacheco were never returned.
He blamed stress for making him snap in 2007, and the Santa Fepolice department has since started peer support groups and otherstress management programs after the incident.
Griego said part of the reason why he hired Smoker was becausehe never tried to hide what happened and even went directly to hissupervisor after the beating.
"I believe that everybody deserves seconds chances," saidGriego.
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