Deputy named in wrongful death suit wins BCSO award
February 06, 2018 10:12 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Although he is at the center of a wrongful death lawsuit, a Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office deputy received a distinguished award over the weekend.
That deputy's supervisor, Undersheriff Larry Koren, stands by the award and its recipient. Koren said Deputy Josh Mora may be at the center of a major use-of-force investigation, but it doesn't invalidate his other work.
Mora wore a big smile on Saturday when BCSO awarded him the agency's Uniformed Deputy of the Year alongside Deputy Mitchell Skroch. The two men posed with Sheriff Manny Gonzales, holding their trophies.
Mora's supervisor honored him last April with a commendation letter. Along with Skroch, he'd pulled over a driver he suspected of drug trafficking.
"And indeed that's what was happening," Koren said. "They were trafficking about 69 pounds of cocaine and 19 pounds of methamphetamines. That comes to a value of about $2 million on the street."
Koren says the bust was likely a 2017 record.
Months later, Mora responded to the tail end of this stolen truck chase. Mora ended up firing seven rounds into the truck, killing driver Isaac Padilla and backseat passenger Martin Jim.
"According to the deputy's statement, the only thing that he could see was the driver of the vehicle," the sheriff said in November.
Jim's family filed a lawsuit against the county and the sheriff's office. Albuquerque attorney Sam Bregman is spearheading the case.
"The plain fact of the matter is that Mr. Jim was murdered by Deputy Mora," Bregman said in December.
"There are a lot of things that still need to be answered, and Josh Mora has a due process as well and we want to respect that," Koren told KOB on Tuesday.
The ongoing use-of-force investigation does not prevent Mora from winning departmental awards like Uniformed Deputy of the Year, Koren said. He said the agency stands by the decision.
"There are no disciplinary matters being investigated at this time," he said. "And so, it's not like the deputy is standing accused of anything at this time from our office, or the district attorney or anyone else."
KOB reached out to Bregman for his thoughts on the award but has not heard back.
Updated: February 06, 2018 10:12 PM
Created: February 06, 2018 09:57 PM
Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved