Fallout from mayor’s brawl continues in Grants

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GRANTS, N.M. — The City of Grants has remained divided after a video of Mayor Erik Garcia from late September shows him tackling a man.

Garcia told police he believed the man was stealing from a cemetery. The city council met to take action on the incident.

“Yeah, it was voted in the open meeting after the closed session, that the city would request an independent investigation of the events that happened,” said Beverly Michael, city councilwoman.

However, she said the vote to file an ethics complaint was vetoed with the deciding “no” vote coming from the mayor himself.

Michael said she’s happy to at least get an independent investigation underway.

“You know, the reason that I’m pleased isn’t for personal reasons. The reason that I’m pleased is because I hope that this, that our actions and actions we’ve attempted to take in past closed sessions only on legal matters, prepare, protect our citizens, and protect the City of Grants, because the tort claim was filed by that individual with the city,” she said.

KOB 4 obtained a copy of the tort claim filed by Curtis Salazar, the man the mayor tackled.

The claim lists Mayor Erik Garcia, the City of Grants, and the Grants Police Department – putting them on notice of pending litigation.

Salazar tried to walk away from Garcia who “continued to berate and threaten Mr. Salazar,” according to the claim.

Despite the fallout, the mayor did have strong support at Wednesday’s meeting.

“At least Erik is trying, any one of you could get your hands dirty to help better this town but you don’t,” said Erik’s wife, Chantal Garcia.