Updated: November 04, 2020 06:35 PM
Created: November 04, 2020 04:17 PM
FARMINGTON, N.M.- Former Farmington Police Officer Zachary Christensen pleaded no contest to a felony charge of child abuse and a misdemeanor battery charge after roughing up an 11-year-old student at school. As part of a plea deal, two other battery charges were dropped.
The Farmington Police Department launched an internal investigation and found Christensen violated its use of force policy.
The case was referred to the local district attorney which declined to prosecute. However, The New Mexico Attorney General's office stepped in to take on the case, which led to Christensen's conviction.
"I was very concerned with the safety of our victim, who was a child, and I think this conviction sends a strong message that no one is above the law, but we need to set a very high standard of care that protects students on our school campuses," said Attorney General Hector Balderas.
Despite the conviction, Christensen still has his state certification to be a law enforcement officer.
He is scheduled to be sentenced in January. He's facing the possibility of up to three years in prison.
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