ESPAÑOLA, N.M. (KRQE) –A normal drive home from school turned into anything but for a Pojoaque High School quarterback when police stopped and handcuffed him at gunpoint. He’s now suing the City of Española for mistakenly identifying his truck as one used in an armed robbery.
“Hey, let me see you get out,” said the officer stopping then-17-year-old Adam Pacheco on his way home from school. “Walk back! Lift up your shirt! Turn around! Lift up your shirt and turn around!
Pacheco was pulled over by state police on a ‘felony stop’ in August, according to a new lawsuit. Video from the encounter shows Pacheco getting handcuffed at gunpoint, frisked, and detained.
Officer: So, your truck is just a truck we’ve been looking for. It’s been involved in, in some stuff. Pacheco: It has?
According to the lawsuit, state police stopped Pacheco after the Española Police Department put a BOLO, or be on the lookout, for his truck following a string of robberies in the Española area. Lapel video shows one officer starts to catch on that there may be a mix-up
Officer 1:I don’t know if this is it, dude.
Officer 2: This is it.
Officer 1: But I don’t know if this is the actual truck.
Pacheco’s mom was called. She told officers she was ‘livid’ about the mistake.
Pacheco’s mom: You guys had him f****** handcuffed. He just got out of school. You’re talking about a 4.2 GPA kid.
Officer: I understand ma’am, but that was the information we were given.
Pacheco is now suing the City of Española for putting his truck on the BOLO. In the lawsuit, Pacheco’s legal team argues Española Police Department did a “quick” investigation in the hours following an armed robbery. It states Pacheco’s car was seen in some surveillance video near one of the crime scenes but that it had clear differences from the vehicle suspected of being used in the robbery.
It claims the Española PD officer was negligent in concluding Pacheco’s car was used in the crimes and issuing the BOLO. The lawsuit claims there were five armed officers surrounding Pacheco and that the entire encounter caused him to have anxiety and fear. Pacheco was released that day at the scene to a family member.
Two days after stopping Pacheco, police arrested and charged 31-year-old Ricky Martinez in connection to nine robberies in northern New Mexico and the deadly shooting of a Blake’s Lotaburger employee the day after Pacheco was stopped.
KRQE reached out to the mayor of Espanola. Mayor John Ramon Vigil said the city does not comment on pending litigation.