TUCUMCARI, N.M. (KRQE) – A video that went viral on social media last month showed a Tucumcari police officer slamming a man to the ground. At the time, police said the short video clip didn’t tell the full story. KRQE News 13 got the entire video from police that shows exactly what happened.
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Tucumcari police said they were responding to a possible drunk driver. They pulled a man over, and things got ugly and witnesses pulled out their cell phones. Video shows what led up to a Tucumcari police officer slamming a man to the ground in July.
In the video, Corporal Herman Martinez pulled over 43-year-old Pete Apodaca, suspecting Apodaca is drunk and driving on a revoked license. Police said while they were talking to Apodaca, he put the car keys in his pocket and tried to run.
Officer Justin Garcia then arrived on scene and things got even more physical. Garcia is seen yanking Apodaca to the ground. Corporal Martinez then pulls out his taser, but he doesn’t use it. They are finally able to get Apodaca in handcuffs and pat him down. As they talk to Apodaca, officers said he turns his body to take off again.
Still handcuffed, Officer Garcia slams Apodaca down on the pavement. Apodaca yells in pain and is covered in blood, Witnesses pulled their phones out and posted videos to social media. Some expressed concerns over what they were seeing. “Why did you throw him on the ground like that for?” one witness is heard saying in the lapel video. “You are trained not to do that,” another said.
Other witnesses had a different take. “He is resisting arrest,” one witness said. “He him first,” another witness added. “He hit that cop.”
Apodaca was transported to the hospital. Corporal Martinez talks to his family outside. “We have a video,” Apodaca’s fiancé said in the video. “There was no need for that. But that was unnecessary. You guys didn’t need to do that to him.”
Leaving the hospital, Corporal Martinez seemed to make light of the incident. “I just got Facebook famous two days in a row,” Martinez said in the police lapel.
The Tucumcari Police Department said their Internal Affairs investigation is complete and found there were no violations of policy. Officer Garcia, who took Apodaca down, was put on leave during the investigation. He has since returned to full duty. Corporal Martinez was never punished. Apodaca has a lengthy criminal history including charges for battery, aggravated stalking and harassment.