ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – “Fear, bewilderment, just confusion,” said Melanie Stambaugh, attorney for Mark Lopez. That’s what she said Mark Lopez felt in March of last year when he saw police surrounding his house through his Ring camera.
“He learned that he had been accused of these heinous crimes including kidnapping a woman, punching her in the head and chest…ultimately engaging in a high-speed chase that killed a Santa Fe police officer and a retired firefighter,” said Stambaugh.
At the time, Jeannine Jaramillo was driving the car in a wrong-way chase that ended in a deadly crash. Police said she falsely claimed a man kidnapped her and that she was behind the wheel. While investigators still believed this ruse, they identified Mark Lopez as the possible kidnapper. A BOLO with his photo and personal information that was meant for law enforcement was released to the public.
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“He was horrified, his family was getting calls and texts about how the BOLO had gone viral. He was scared for the lives of his children and safety of his family,” said Stambaugh. Lopez is now suing New Mexico State Police and other agencies who shared the BOLO.
“It was not supposed to be shared beyond law enforcement. We believe there is some liability on behalf of the folks who shared it beyond what they were supposed to,” said Stambaugh.
While State Police did publish a correction to the BOLO in a press release, Stambaugh said more could’ve been done. “It was sort of a one to two-sentence press release that he was no longer a suspect. But compared to the photo that had gone viral that had all of his information in it, didn’t do enough to clarify the mistake that had been made,” she said.
She said the event still impacts Lopez today, like his anxiety and fear of identity theft since all his personal information was published. “Mr. Lopez wants some closure and some peace and also some accountability for what happened to him and the impact it had on him and his family,” said Stambaugh.
KRQE reached out to state police for a comment on this lawsuit but did not hear back. A spokesperson with the city of Santa Fe said they do not comment on pending litigation.