Grants city council holds special meeting to discuss mayor’s brawl

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GRANTS, N.M. – Grants Mayor Erik Garcia has been the center of controversy over the last few weeks after a video, shared on social media, showed him tackling a man he believed was robbing a cemetery. 

Garcia says he believed the man was up to no good and was stealing from a cemetery. Now, the Grants City Council has called another special meeting to talk about it. 

“So we want to have an action item so we can actually do something this time to try to protect the city, the city stands to lose millions of dollars with this lawsuit,” said city councilor Beverly Michael. 

At this meeting, Michael says she wants action on the matter.

“Number one, we’re going to request an independent investigation of what occurred– that’s on the agenda,” Michael said. 

And the other man at the center of it all –Curtis Salazar– told police that the mayor attacked him – unprovoked. Salazar has now filed a claim against Garcia and there’s potential pending litigation against the city. 

“All he did was just harass me,” Salazar said. “I picked up a thing of plant food from the f****** cemetery and he started harassing me. But, I’m staying away from the cemetery and like, that’s social profiling right off the back, that’s f***** up.”

KOB 4 spoke to the mayor last month about the incident, and he says he was doing his civic duty to stop crime. 

“I would say I handled myself knowing that in the background, he, I just followed him. I did anything like anything citizen could’ve – just followed him up. These guys need to get off the street or get help,” said Garcia. 

But Michael says she wants to prevent this type of thing from happening again, and that the mayor is using the incident to raise gross receipt taxes.

“So if we can get ahead of our public safety, where I’m trying to go with this tax, we’ll create that level of retaining officers our crime rate is going to come down,” Garcia said. 

The meeting starts tonight at 6 p.m. at the Grants Senior Citizens Center. 

Michael says the first part will be town hall style for residents to voice their opinions on the incident, and then it will move to a closed session.