Updated: December 12, 2019 10:02 AM
Created: December 11, 2019 10:12 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— A woman who recorded a Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office (BCSO) arrest on her cellphone is questioning a deputy’s use of K9 force after she said the suspect appeared to listen to BCSO’s commands.
The arrest took place on NM 333 in Carnuel, New Mexico.
Video shows the suspect, identified as Myron Sanchez, getting out of an SUV with his hands up. He starts to walk toward officers before turning back toward his car. That’s when a police K9 is released on Sanchez.
“I was like, why did they let the dog? I mean it was confusing,” said witness Lily Rivas. “It was just so quick and he was with his hands up and all of a sudden we just saw the dog running to him.”
Footage shows the K9 grabbing the Sanchez’s arm then dragging him in front of the SUV before deputies placed him in handcuffs.
“It went from him being calm to all of a sudden he’s getting attacked and drug and we were like 'Woah this is so crazy,’” said witness Kelly Thomas.
Thomas and Rivas are from Arizona. The two were traveling when they ran into all this.
“We basically were just driving up the road and saw seven or eight police vehicles,” Thomas said.
BCSO said the SUV was stolen and that Sanchez fled from officers before being stopped along the highway.
They believed he was trying to get back into his car and said the officer who released the K9 acted appropriately.
A spokesperson for BCSO provided KOB 4 with the following statement about the arrest:
“In this very dangerous situation for deputies, the video makes it crystal clear that the suspect in the stolen vehicle, who already fled from deputies earlier in the day, turned his back to officers, did not comply with commands, and attempted to get back in the stolen vehicle. Deputies acted appropriately and effectively when faced by the suspect's repeated dangerous behavior towards law enforcement and the public over the day apprehending the suspect with only minor injuries. This individual has two previous arrests in Bernalillo County.”
The witnesses thought they heard something different.
“After he got out you could hear them. He started walking towards him. You can hear them saying a couple commands, and we've listened to the video a couple times. It just sounds something like ‘Head back toward your car,’” Thomas said.
According to the criminal complaint, after Sanchez had stopped the car, he did not obey commands to come out. Deputies had to deploy a bean bag shotgun and a pepper ball into the car. The complaint said they released the K9 right when Sanchez got out of the car. It does not describe the moments he was holding his hands in the air.
Sanchez suffered minor injuries before being taken into custody. BCSO officials said he has been arrested in Bernalillo County twice before.
Copyright 2019 - KOB-TV LLC, A Hubbard Broadcasting Company