Man files lawsuit after losing eye in encounter with Bloomfield police

[anvplayer video=”5161313″ station=”998122″]

*WARNING: The video above may be disturbing and difficult to watch. 

BLOOMFIELD, N.M. – A Native American man is now blind in one eye after he was beaten by a police officer in northern New Mexico.

Now, a lawsuit claims his civil rights were violated, and his attorney claims the police brutality is under investigation by the attorney general and state police.

KOB 4 spoke with the victim’s attorney, and she says this lawsuit is about seeking justice.

A video shows the Bloomfield Police Department responding to a possible domestic violence call in May 2020. Kevin Tully can be seen opening the door, and stumbling as he talks to police.

A woman can be heard describing the earlier conflict.

“And he goes, do you want to smoke some more weed, you want to drink some more drink? I said ‘No! Leave me alone.’”

This was the last night Tully could see out his left eye.

“It’s – it’s difficult to watch. Kind of makes me sick to my stomach,” said Elizabeth Piazza, the attorney representing Tully. 

“I won’t go outside.” “No. You’re coming outside.” “No, I’m not!” “You’re coming outside.” “I’m not going outside.” “Don’t pull away. Kevin. Please stop.”

Tully refuses to go outside. Officers Michael Wells and Justin Lynch enter the trailer home, and then after Tully is pushed to the ground, Officer Lynch hits Tully in the face with a baton. The skirmish continues for more than two minutes.

“They claim that Mr. Tully was resisting, and they had a right to get him under control and obviously those are big discrepancies we certainly disagree with,” said Piazza. 

Court documents show the police narrative describes Tully swinging at officers. 

The video shows officers grabbed him first, before Tully tries to break free. 

The officers said Tully was posing an active threat, and tried disarming the officer – a criminal charge that was later dropped.

The written account also claims that hitting Tully in the face with a baton appeared to be accidental. Officer Lynch wrote he was aiming for his arm but missed, and instead hit his face.

“He did have a skull fracture, he can’t see out of his left eye. I mean, again, he was in a coma for six weeks,” said Piazza. 

Tully survived and is now seeking justice in state court and federal court.

“Highlight the issues that exist here in our own communities, but it is occurring here at home,” Piazza said. 

The Bloomfield police chief says both officers are back on the job, but couldn’t comment on this pending litigation. 

The federal case is headed for mitigation later this month.

The attorney general’s office says they have asked New Mexico State Police to help look into this case, but no word on criminal charges for the officers.