State Police accused of arresting a woman with disabilities for no apparent reason

New Mexico News

A New Mexico State Police officer is accused of getting rough with a woman with disabilities and trying to arrest her, while she was watching wild horses. 

“Within probably 30 seconds of arriving on the scene, Jessica Guttman was handcuffed,” said Jamison Barkley, an attorney for the alleged victim, Jessica Guttman.

Guttman, 44, was in a car crash when she was a child, leaving her with a traumatic brain injury that’s greatly impacted her speech.

“She does equine therapy and she’s very involved in horse riding,” said Barkley.

According to a new lawsuit, back in September 2016, Guttman says she and two friends pulled over on the side of NM 14 in Santa Fe County to look at corralled wild horses. At the time, the horses were waiting to be relocated to southern New Mexico.

“She was walking north in the right of way along the fence line, just walking to look at the horses,” said Barkley.

Now away from her friends, Barkley says Guttman noticed a State Police Officer speeding toward her with his sirens blazing.

“Things did not go very well from there,” said Barkley.

According to the lawsuit, the officer rushed up to Guttman and asked what she was doing. Barkley says Guttman answered the questions to the best of her ability, also saying it would’ve been apparent to a ‘reasonably’ trained officer that Guttman has a disability.

When Guttman turned away from the officer and toward her friends, the lawsuit says the officer “forcibly grabbed Ms. Guttman from behind and placed her in handcuffs.”

Soon after, Guttman started having seizures.

Barkley says Guttman and her friends then started telling the officer that Guttman has a disability, even showing him an ID card for proof.

After keeping Guttman handcuffed on the ground for about a half hour, the officer decided to let Guttman go.

“They ended up acknowledging basically there was no basis to detain her or hold her and they let her go,” said Barkley.

But, the alleged damage had already been done.

“She had medical, psychological and physical issues that directly resulted from the excessive use of force,” said Barkley.

Guttman is suing State Police. She’s asking to be compensated for her injuries and for State Police to require more disability training. Her attorneys say they have no idea why police were even at the scene.

State Police Chief Pete Kassetas tells KRQE News 13 they cannot comment on pending litigation.

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