Skip to comments.(NM) State Police officer who shot at van fired (Locals rally in his support)
Posted on 12/07/2013 3:05:56 PM PST by CedarDave
SANTA FE The New Mexico State Police officer who fired shots at a van full of children while their mother was fleeing a traffic stop near Taos in late October has been fired.
State Police spokesman Lt. Emmanuel Gutierrez said that officer Elias Montoya, who was placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday, was terminated from his position as of Friday.
Gutierrez said he had confirmed the firing with State Police Chief Pete Kassetas. Gutierrez declined further comment until all appeals have been exhausted ...
The video of the incident received national media attention ... Media legal analysts weighed in, criticizing the actions of Montoya.
But in-state, he is receiving a lot of support. A Facebook page [I Support Officer Elias Montoya] has been created on his behalf, and postings praising the officer and criticizing Farrell, 39, a writer, rapper and home-school advocate, for causing problems during the traffic stop were piling up Friday night. The page had almost 2,200 likes.
Dozens of posters praised Montoya and many criticized Farrell for causing the problems at the traffic stop.
Farrell sped away and was eventually traveling at speeds of 90 to 100 mph before she pulled over at a Taos hotel, a prosecutor said at Farrells Nov. 12 arraignment.
Moriah Montoya, apparently the officers daughter, posted: My father look sad n been thinkin lot but he had faith. Ofc, he had good heart as gold. Just keep pray my father.
A Taos resident responded: Moriah Montoya, please tell him he does have support and the citizens of Taos wont sit back and take this. My thoughts are with your family. Youve always been so good to the rest of us.
(Excerpt) Read more at abqjournal.com ...
On the other hand, Montoya was featured in a 2010 Taos News article as a father who mentored boys in an organization called Taos Men Engaged in Non-violence and appears to be known and well liked in the community.
No question ... he deserved to be fired.
Please leave this in the news forum. The article provides a lot more information than the previous article which was moved to chat, likely as a result of the police haters who saw it as an opportunity to demonize all law enforcement officers.
What he did was unconscionable and he should have been fired...
Lots of people do ONE really stupid thing at their place of employment and pay the price by losing their job...
Just like he did...
Bad behavior on both sides.
This is a devil-in-the-details kind of situation.
At least some accounts have the policeman shooting out the tires of the van. Now whether it’s reasonable to expect that a typical officer aiming to do that won’t also get bullets into the vehicle itself, is a real big unknown here to us. Maybe this should have been a Motorola and road block occasion. Sometimes it’s too easy to treat the gun as a panacea.
Devil is in the details. I hope it wasn’t just because of popular hounding of people who were outraged before knowing all pertinent factors. That is a band-aid that won’t do much to fix more systemic problems.
Well, that didn't last long. Mods moved this one into "Chat" also.
In NM, that can get you multiple invasive searches, enemas and a colonoscopy.
He was right to want the lady to stop BUT the only time you shoot at a vehicle is if it’s coming AT you or AT another person OR shots have been fired.
Yes, she was dangerous driving through town at 100 miles per hour but that was after the shooting.
He already had the tag number and probably her DL number.
She wasn’t going very far.
I feel bad for the cop but shooting at the van wasn’t the right choice. Too much chance of hitting a kid.
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Oh yeah, I can’t imagine ANYONE having any objections to the way police often conduct themselves these days, let’s paint all the complainers with a broad brush, why don’t we?!
This was a no shoot situation the officer was fired for making a bad choice and endangering those in the van.
KILL THE VEHICLE NOT THE PERP
I never understood why in these sort of traffic stops when the use of a firearm is required the vehicle doesn’t get killed not the people. With the right type of weapon and ammo frontal shots aimed at the radiator for example will eventually wreck the cooling system. And the vehicle will quickly develop seizures. Angled side shots aimed at the engine block can wreck a piston wall and the vehicle goes nowhere rather quickly. Rear angled shots to puncture the gas tank should be considered but then there’s the hazard of somebody being locked in the trunk as happens particularly with car jackings and injuring them plus fire .
But if these policies were emplaced I’ll bet those car/vehicle chases would be reduced by half.
Goes to intent.
Yer fired Flinstone!
This all about BLACK RACISM.
I understand the officer was just following
their ROE for fleeing felons.
This all about BLACK RACISM.
My opinion may not be a popular one but that woman escalated this with her actions and those of her son. When people react that way during a traffic stop LEO becomes convinced they are dealing with real bad folk. Normal citizens do not behave that way during a traffic stop.
The woman was speeding down a mountain road endangering her own children and others on the same road.
Her actions were totally out of control as were her son’s. Her son is large for his age and appears to be an adult, as I remember two of the other children are teens so LEO was likely thinking they were dealing with 3-4 adults, two of the “adults” were out of control.
She was so uncooperative LEO did not know what they were really dealing with. As it turns out she had a small amount of drugs and was speeding, most people do not act the way she and her son did unless they are truly bad characters. The way she and her son were acting LEO had no way to know they were not dealing with a kidnap situation- human trafficking or even worse type of criminal behavior.
At least one of the officers claimed to have seen a firearm, and at the time it was not clear it was a toy. The woman had fled and was fleeing again- down a mountain road which seriously endangered everyone in that vehicle and indeed everyone on the road. I do think the officer that fired was shooting at her tires, which as I understand from people who have tried to shoot tires of a moving vehicle it is very hard to hit tires.
This officer had far more cause to fire at that vehicle than the California LEOs had to fire on the newspaper ladies and the man in their vehicles during the Dorner manhunt yet those officers have been cleared as far as I know.
It is pretty easy to armchair quarterback when we knew in the first reports that she was the only adult and the other passengers were children or at least minors. We also knew the gun was a toy and that she is just an out of control idiot and so is her son. LEO at the scene did not have any of this information while they were making split second decisions.
...and that justifies shooting at a van with children in it ?
That is SOP for the LEO ?
I seriously doubt it...
If an officer has any question as to "what he is dealing with" then of course he must shoot whoever he is dealing with. Then he has to say to the next person on the scene, "I felt threatened." Surely the officer in this incident forgot to say that else he would have got two weeks vacation with pay and high fives.
Many times a situation escalates far beyond the norm in traffic stops because the person turns out to be a murderer, kidnapper or guilty of other very serious crimes. Normal people just don’t act like she did, her actions and those of her son led to the situation being perceived the way it was by LEO on scene. New Mexico State Police deal every day with people with small and large amounts of drugs and they do not act like she did. I have been present at many arrests of people with large amounts of drugs- actual Cartel smugglers and they rarely get out of line with LEO; in fact I have never seen one act as over the top as she did, even those that have a bad attitude. If I had been at that scene I would have been convinced she was a very dangerous criminal and her son as well, based on their actions.
Many seem to think LEOs are only justified in certain actions if they are in imminent danger “fear of their life” but there is another issue many forget. LEOs are also allowed and expected to act to protect the lives of others. Her actions were endangering everyone in her vehicle and everyone on the road for that matter.
I was not at that scene so I do not know if the officer’s actions were actually justified or not. I will not judge the officer that fired at that vehicle, but much of what was reported/on video seems to support the reaction of LEO at the scene. I think most are judging based on sensational headlines of “officer fires at children” and not looking at other information that is out there about the whole situation.
“Other posters on Facebook point out how Farrell was given chances to sign a simple speeding ticket but sped away, not once but twice. She has been charged with aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer and intentional child abuse both felonies, and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. She is free on $10,000 bail. Her 14-year-old son has been charged with battery against and assault on a police officer.
On the other hand, Montoya was featured in a 2010 Taos News article as a father who mentored boys in an organization called Taos Men Engaged in Non-violence and appears to be known and well liked in the community. “
None of which changes that he used a deadly weapon in a reckless manner and without sufficient cause. Lots of people do good things and then make a mistake. They pay for their mistakes, and so should he.
In the current context betting against the trigger happy cop is far the safer bet. The incidents are so common now that it is simply not safe to give the policeman the benefit of the doubt and I will not.
Is fleeing a traffic stop usually grounds for police to use lethal force?
Acting like a raging asshole isn’t a death penalty offense. Rules of engagement, escalation of force measures exist for a reason. He didn’t use his head and now he has some free time to think about it.