Video shows Grants mayor in street brawl
GRANTS, N.M. — A fight in Grants is raising concerns with the city council. Video of the fight, shared on Mayor Erik Garcia’s Facebook page, shows the mayor on a bike following a man.
In the video, the other man turns and appears to threaten to throw something at the mayor.
“He wanted to throw the rock, I – you know, I’m not going to lose my teeth over this tweaker, you know,” said Erik Garcia, the mayor of Grants.
The two square up, and the mayor uses his bike as a shield and approaches the other man. They get tangled up and eventually go to the ground.
“I just took him down, there was no striking whatsoever,” Garcia said. “I’m not here to beat this guy up.”
Garcia said he was chasing the man for harassing other people and stealing things out of the cemetery, and he had asked a bystander to call police before the altercation.
The man, Curtis Salazar, has a different version of events.
“All he did was just harass me,” he 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.”
“In the process, you know, all of his drugs fell out,” Garcia said.
Police did find a needle, a lighter, and a clear plastic bag with some white stuff in it. One of the officers said it looked like meth, but a police report said the stuff in the bag was plant food. An officer also reportedly overheard Garcia say he should have just let the man keep walking.
Ryan Laughlin: “In the city council meeting, there was one councilor that kind of challenged you and said you’re going to get us sued, doing this is a liability. What’s your response to that criticism?”
Erik Garcia: “I get that, you know, I get that. 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.”
Both Salazar and Garcia have been issued a criminal summons for disturbing the peace.