Former BCSO sergeant claims discrimination, retaliation in lawsuit

A now-former Bernalillo County sergeant accused of roughing up a man during an arrest is pushing back with a lawsuit.

He’s suing the county, claiming he was mistreated by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department because he’s white and spoke out against the sheriff’s nephew.

David Priemazon is accused of using excessive force on a wrong-way driver during an arrest in March 2018.

BCSO Deputy Andrew Limon, the sheriff’s nephew, testified at a court hearing in November that Priemazon kicked the man following the chase off Arenal and Atrisco in the South Valley.

“While searching for his hands, I observed the subject’s head being kicked once,” Deputy Limon said. “I looked up into the direction of where the kick came and saw my sergeant standing there.”

A judge ruled Priemazon will stand trial for aggravated battery.

Priemazon, who quit in December as he was about to be fired, is now suing Bernalillo County, claiming retaliation, discrimination and a hostile work environment.

He calls Limon’s report about the kick a “false allegation” and notes that it was never reported to a supervisor until a few days after the arrest.

He also claims he was forced out shortly after complaining that Deputy Limon conducted a dangerous chase by “pitting” the suspect while speeding.

Priemazon’s attorney questioned Limon about the chase while in court in November.

“That is the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Policy now? That’s an acceptable outcome for what you observed him doing?” Defense Attorney Sam Bregman asked.

“I had to stop his actions, sir,” Deputy Limon responded.

But what stands out in the lawsuit is Priemazon’s claim that he was punished more harshly in the past for minor crashes and procedural violations than his Hispanic co-workers. Specifically, he cites punishments for scratching up a patrol unit and not tagging a video into evidence.

As for the wrong-way driver in that pursuit, Christopher Lucero pled no contest on March 1 to the chase. He was sentenced to 2.5 years behind bars.

Neither the sheriff’s department nor the county would comment on the allegations in the lawsuit.

Priemazon does not have a trial date yet on his aggravated battery charge.

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