Gov. Martinez weighs in on controversial traffic stop, fired officer

Updated: 12/07/2013 11:22 PM | Created: 12/07/2013 10:34 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Support is mounting online for a New Mexico State Police Officer fired after a controversial traffic stop near Taos.

Saturday, Governor Susana Martinez weighed in.

"I understand this world," Governor Martinez said. "My husband was a police officer. I was in the law enforcement field for a long time as a prosecutor -- they're very difficult decisions and I know you have to make split second decisions...but... at a a van, with 5 children..."

Saturday, Governor Susana Martinez backed up the New Mexico State Police Chief's decision to fire former officer Elias Montoya.

She says the three shots Montoya fired at a minivan tire were too risky.

"There were 5 children in the vehicle, and shooting at the vehicle was extremely dangerous," Martinez said

Not everyone agrees with Martinez.

A Facebook page in support of re-hiring Montoya has more than 4,000 likes and stories about the good work he has done.

An online petition has 500 signatures and a post from someone claiming to be his daughter reading:

"He is the best police in Taos, a good father, grandpa, uncle, brother, godfather, friend and cousin...he is my hero."

Martinez says that may be true, but she stands behind letting him go.

"He may have been a good officer at other times but that was a critical decision made by the chief of police and I'm sure he didn't make it lightly," Martinez said.

Some people in Taos have organized a march in support of Montoya for Sunday.

 It starts at 11 a.m. at Taos Plaza and ends at the state police department.

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