ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputy is at the center of a new lawsuit claiming he got violent and severely injured an Albuquerque man. As it turns out, this deputy has a history of excessive force.
A left turn with no blinkers was enough for BCSO Deputy Jeffrey Bartram to pull over a Toyota 4Runner near 6th and Marble, last January. “It’s a DWI stop, whether it’s legitimate or not, turned into a use of force situation,” says Attorney Nick Sitterly.
According to the criminal complaint, it wasn’t until Deputy Bartram spoke with the driver that it turned into a DWI investigation. That’s when things quickly turned violent.
“Bartram, you can see him kind of grabbing his wrists, and then after about two seconds, he just grabs him and lifts him up, and slams him on the ground,” says Sitterly. The dashcam also shows him punching the driver, who’s already on the ground. “My client was fully cooperative at that time, yet the officer continued to use force,” Sitterly added.
Bartram’s criminal complaint says he asked the driver multiple times to place his hands behind his back. He claims the driver resisted and that’s when he threw him to the ground.
“That kind of lack of awareness of the risk to human life, that’s a level beyond losing your cool,” says Sitterly.
This isn’t the first time Bartram’s been accused of excessive force. In 2014, Bartram stopped Adam Padilla because his license plate wasn’t visible. As we’ve reported, Bartram said he thought Padilla was going to attack him, so he tazed, then shot and killed Padilla.
Then in 2016, Bartram pulled over another Albuquerque man for talking on his cell phone. That encounter ended in Bartram allegedly beating up the man.
With this latest case, the driver is now suing. “When somebody gets away with it, they start to realize they can get away with it. They continue to do worse and worse things,” says Sitterly.
BCSO did not want to comment on the lawsuit but did say they are focused on protecting children, families, and businesses. They also say Deputy Bartram is still employed with the department. The driver was charged and convicted for DWI from that traffic stop.
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