NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard testimony on whether a former New Mexico deputy, who was off duty when he violated the law, should not be excluded from a civil rights suit. It all stems from an incident 4 years ago.

In 2018, former Chaves County Deputy David Bradshaw followed Mario Rosales home in Roswell after he passed him. Bradshaw was off-duty and in his personal vehicle. 

Marie Miller, an attorney with the Institute for Justice, represents Rosales. On Wednesday, she said, “The deputy tailed Mr. Rosales home, blocked him in the driveway, accosted him with profanities, aimed a gun at him placing the guns barrel right next to his own child’s head. The whole time Mr. Rosales was in the driveway he was manifestly trying to calm the man down.”

Bradshaw had his young son in the pickup truck as he pulled out his gun and pointed it at Rosales. Miller appealed Rosales’ civil rights case to argue an off-duty officer who has committed crimes should not get qualified immunity from a civil rights suit. 

Miller went on to say, “Mr. Rosales had no basis to believe Deputy Bradshaw was a law enforcement officer and not simply a raging lunatic who was a potential intruder at his home.”

Bradshaw was fired, prosecuted, and convicted of two felonies for his conduct. But Attorney Daniel Macke argues his actions were just. He told the court,  “In context, Deputy Bradshaw is following the gentleman home, he stops outside the driveway, none of that I believe is unconstitutional conduct on the part of Deputy Bradshaw.”

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Another argument from Bradshaw’s side is that Rosales had a firearm in his pocket, creating a risk for the former deputy. “The risk that got created was Mr. Rosales emerging with a weapon, the law enforcement function here is he’s following the gentleman home, he called a deputy.”

After listening to arguments from both sides, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will issue a decision at a later date. If the court of appeals rules in Mario Rosales’s favor, then the case will go back down to district court and proceed with a trial. If the court rules in former Deputy David Bradshaw’s favor, the case will be over.