What could’ve ended with a simple speeding ticket, may now put a former New Mexico firefighter behind bars for years.
Last June, a Rio Rancho police officer tried to pull over Timothy Lett for driving 20 mph over the speed limit.
Lett was a Bernalillo County Firefighter for 22 years. He retired in 2007.
According to audio in the lapel video, Lett said the officer started following him on Southern. It’s unclear when, but the officer is seen in lapel video driving with his lights on and telling dispatch he’s “trying to stop a vehicle.”
Lett never pulled over. He did not stop for about another two miles, outside of his home near Unser and Paradise.
In the video, the officer told Lett to get back in his car, but when Lett starts to walk away, he told him to come toward him.
It is unclear why, but Lett also set off his own car alarm, which you can hear through the entirety of the lapel video.
The first thing Lett said back to the officer was, “Shut up and get in your right jurisdiction”.
It became apparent Lett did not think the Rio Rancho police officer had the right to be at his Albuquerque home. However, RRPD does have jurisdiction in that area because they are cross-deputized with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department.
Then, the officer told Lett three times to “turn around and put your hands on the car,” before Lett appeared to start walking away again. Then, the officer pepper-sprayed Lett.
Following the spray, a small struggle ensued right outside of Lett’s garage. Lett swore at the officer and again told him he’s “out of [his] jurisdiction.”
Lett tried to walk through his garage and into his house, but the officer stopped Lett by grabbing his shirt just outside the interior garage door. Then, the DA’s office said the officer turned so he did not lose his balance, and Lett tackled him from behind.
The officer fell, dislocated his shoulder, broke the ball of his shoulder joint and tore his bicep.
In lapel audio, it appears a second officer arrived just as the struggle ended. That officer can be heard on lapel audio saying “no one is going anywhere.”
Lett was arrested that night.
On Thursday, a jury convicted Lett of aggravated battery of a police officer and resisting, evading arrest. He faces up to 2 and a half years in prison. His sentencing is set for April 29.