VIDEO: Tucumcari police officer seen slamming his arrestee to the ground

Crime

TUCUMCARI, N.M. (KRQE) – A police officer in a small eastern New Mexico city is caught on video slamming the man he’s arresting to the ground. The family of that man is claiming this was excessive force, but the officer is still on the job, for now.

A video taken by a bystander is gaining a lot of traction on social media from Saturday evening. It shows a Tucumcari police officer in the parking lot of Lowes Grocery. Tucumcari police said 43-year-old Pete Apodaca was pulled over for a traffic stop, and arrested because he was driving while his license was revoked for a previous DUI.

Video shows Apodaca was in handcuffs as officers were putting him in the back seat of a cruiser when Apodaca appears to be trying to make a run for it. The video also shows the officer quickly grabbing him, lifting him up, and slamming him to the ground.

KRQE spoke with Apodaca’s wife Vanessa Apodaca who said her husband suffered fractured ribs and possibly broke his collarbone during the incident. She believes the officer involved should be off the streets. 

“If he doesn’t know how to handle a situation – that kind of a situation – what is he going to do if something bigger happens, with somebody else,” said Apodaca. “How is he going to handle that, just body slam everybody that comes across him?”

Tucumcari Police wouldn’t give KRQE the name of the officer in the video, who is still working. They did say they’re reviewing the case internally and said if they determine the officer violated their policies or the law, they’ll take appropriate action. 

Apodaca’s long criminal history includes convictions for DWI, breaking and entering, aggravated battery, and criminal damage to property. His charges Saturday include battery upon a peace officer and two counts of resisting an officer.

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