ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Women claim a police officer used his power to stalk and harass them, while the department looked the other way. Now, the City of Santa Fe must pay for it.
KRQE News 13 first uncovered then-Santa Fe Police Officer Michael Eiskant’s abuse of power in a special assignment report in 2012. After that, a group of women sued, and Wednesday their attorney said it has paid off.
“He’s very dangerous, he’s a predator,” said a woman who did not want to be identified, during a 2012 interview with KRQE News 13. At the time, she was talking about Santa Fe cop, Michael Eiskant.
“This guy should have been off the streets years ago,” the woman’s husband told KRQE News 13 Wednesday.
It took years of complaints against former Santa Fe Police Sergeant Michael Eiskant, a KRQE News 13 investigation in 2012 and eight women suing.
“At least this is some closure, and allows them to move forward,” said Cammie Nichols, attorney for the women in the lawsuit. Nichols represents the women who filed suit against the former cop, the City of Santa Fe, and former Police Chief Raymond Rael.
Now, as part of a settlement agreement, the City of Santa Fe must pay a total of $770,000 in Eiskant’s case.
“The administration should have realized that this individual was dangerous,” said Nichols.
Eiskant retired after a 2012 KRQE News 13 investigation. The former cop admitted to illegally using a law enforcement database to get information about women.
In nearly 12 years with the department, Eiskant racked up complaints from citizens and fellow female officers. He’s said to be “volatile, bullying, and abusive.”
“He was misusing all the authority and the trust the public puts in him to stalk and harass these women,” Nichols told KRQE News 13.
In a 2012 interview, one man who did not wish to be identified said, “how in the world can you have that many complaints on someone, and nothing be done about it?” He said his wife claims Eiskant stalked them for years.
“He would run up on my back, you know throw his lights on, pull me over and then take off,” said the man. “We constantly got these phone calls, you know 2, 3 in the morning.”
The couple said it was so bad, they had to move. Wednesday, the man told KRQE News 13, “I don’t think you could really put a price tag on something like this”
“I’m not talking about one time, I’m talking about many times we contacted Santa Fe and they did absolutely nothing,” he said.
He claims this was a prime example of abuse of power. “There are some fine cops out there, and he just happened to not be one of them.”
For the victims, Nichols said the settlement is a long time coming. “Nothing can ever replace for some of them their sense of safety, security and well-being,” she said.
“The women involved in this lawsuit really hope that it encourages other people who are being victimized, even if it is by somebody with a lot of power such as a police officer, will come forward,” Nichols added.
The man and his wife KRQE News 13 spoke with for the story was not involved in this lawsuit. However, he said, he has talked to an attorney and plans to file suit.
The attorney who won the settlement is encouraging any other victims to come forward.
As part of his plea deal, Eiskant got a year of probation and agreed to never work as a police officer again.
The City of Santa Fe would not comment.