New details on excessive force incident involving Bernalillo Police

Politics - Government

BERNALILLO, N.M. (KRQE) – More information has been obtained about the arrests that prompted the three Bernalillo Police officers to lose their jobs. They are under investigation for excessive force because of that call.

That incident happened on April 29 when officer Adalida Lopez-Esquibel tried to pull a car over but the driver took off. In her report, Lopez-Esquibel says that the driver was seen weaving and speeding on U.S. 550 heading toward I-25, Officer Lopez-Esquibel followed that car all the way through Bernalillo to Los Ranchos where, at one point, he drove the wrong direction, hit a median, and came to a stop.

The criminal complaint says the driver, Michael Suazo, kept trying to get away, according to her and two other officers. Lopez-Esquibel writes Sauzo and his passenger, Warshaw Suazo refused to obey her commands along with commands now coming from officer Gabriel Waters and Anthony Jaramillo. The complaint states Sauzo’s passenger pulled a knife on Officer Waters.

After the passenger was disarmed, Officer Waters reports that the man reached toward his face and throat and Officer Waters administered approximately five forearm strikes to stop the defendant’s actions. The man was then detained and cuffed but still managed to nearly break Officer Lopez-Esquibel’s finger.

Neither Lopez-Esquibel’s report or Jaramillo’s makes mention of any use of force like Officer Water’s does. Lopez-Esquibel had been fired from Rio Rancho Police in 2019 for lying about a domestic violence incident that left her patrol car damaged. She was hired by Bernalillo Police in September 2020.

State Police are investigating this use of force case but neither they nor the Bernalillo mayor would comment further. KRQE News 13 does know Lopez-Esquibel resigned amid the investigation, the other officers were fired; Jaramillo is fighting it.

KRQE News 13 has requested lapel footage of the arrest to see exactly how this all played out. Bernalillo Police did take action to fire the officer within three weeks of the incident.

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