Attorney: Sheriff runs BCSO like a mob family
July 12, 2018 04:36 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A well-known local attorney is calling on New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas to investigate and prosecute BCSO Sheriff Manny Gonzales, accusing him of intimidating a witness.
Attorney Sam Bregman's law firm is representing the family of Martin Jim in a wrongful death lawsuit against BCSO. Jim was killed during a deputy-involved shooting on November 17, 2017.
Deputies say Jim was sitting in the backseat of a truck that was involved in a pursuit with BCSO. According to Sheriff Gonzales, Deputy Joshua Mora had given verbal commands for the men inside the truck to come out and they were not followed. He said Mora heard the engine revving and felt his safety and the safety of his sergeant was threatened, so he fired seven shots into the vehicle. Martin Jim and the driver, Isaac Padilla, were both killed.
In a letter to Balderas, Bregman calls the incident "murder" and says as part of discovery in the case for the wrongful death lawsuit, certain depositions have taken place. Bregman says one deposition was given by a deputy who had given "very unfavorable" sworn testimony about the Sheriff and the department, while Gonzales was present.
According to Bregman, his firm has been told that Sheriff Gonzales has now launched an internal affairs complaint against that deputy meant to intimidate and retaliate.
In a news release, Bregman says "Sheriff Gonzales is running the Sheriff's Department like it's a mob family. If you testify against the boss, you will pay the price."
The firm is calling on Balderas to investigate, file charges, and "initiate necessary proceedings to remove Sheriff Gonzales from office for his criminal behavior."
The Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office says it "is handling this case like it handles all cases of alleged deputy misconduct. Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office deputies, regardless of rank, are accountable to everyone in our community."
Attorney General Balderas also released the following statement:
"Attorney General Balderas takes accusations of abuse of a public office very seriously. The Office of the Attorney General has received the public referral and this matter is under review. All complaints received by the Office of the Attorney General are fully reviewed and appropriate action is taken.”
Updated: July 12, 2018 04:36 PM
Created: July 12, 2018 12:15 PM
Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved