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Lawsuit claims police officer retaliated against after investigating rapist cop

Chris Ramirez
March 30, 2017 10:17 PM

A female Las Cruces Police Officer who investigated and testified against a fellow officer accused of raping a high school intern claims she was retaliated against by supervisors and others in her department. 

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Las Cruces Police Officer Irma Palos was a key player in taking down Detective Michael Garcia. Garcia sexually assaulted underage intern Diana Guerrero inside of his patrol car while on duty in 2011 and Palos was the detective who started the investigation years later and then later testified against him.

“She was horrified at the accounts that Dianna Guerrero gave her that day,” Tim White, Palos’ attorney told KOB.

Palos initially received praise from the Las Cruces community for helping to rid a rapist from the police ranks, but internally, Palos claimed many of her colleagues turned against her. 

“To her face was called a ‘rat’, she was excluded from meetings, and if she started a conversation about work matters, the door would close on her. She was frozen out,” White said. “They really broke her down with all of the retaliation after she testified and told the truth.”

For the way she was treated, Palos filed a whistleblower lawsuit alleging that name calling and ostracization seriously hurt her and caused her to suffer.

Michael Garcia eventually confessed to the sexual assault and is serving a nine-year prison sentence. 

Palos is still working at the Las Cruces Police Department. Attorneys for the City of Las Cruces could not be immediately reached in time for publication of this story. 

Credits

Chris Ramirez

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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