New Mexico’s Mora County Sheriff Thomas Garza sure show his deputy who is boss. Garza is captured on tape shoving a deputy and browbeating another over their plans to take in a DUI suspect, Patrick Trujillo. Garza argues with one deputy that he is boss around there and to prove it he would order the release of Trujillo, who has a DUI arrest record. Garza knew Trujillo who is the ex-husband of the dispatcher on duty on the day of the first arrest.
Garza is now under state investigation after the release of the tape.
The dispute began when Mora County Sheriff’s Deputy Lee Allingham tried to take Trujillo in for a blood test on April 7th. Garza blocked Allingham and told him to “chill out.” When Allingham objected that he was interfering with an arrest, Garza told him that he would do what I say and that’s it,” adding “I am the sheriff here, you’re not. I can do what I want. Nobody can tell me what to do . . . If I want to release him, I will release him.”
Garza is accused of twisting Allingham’s arm, grabbing the collar of the other deputy and pushing the second officer.
Garza insists that he took the action because he was in fear of his own life because the deputy was armed and having a “mental meltdown.”
Here is part of the exchange:
Allingham: “I don’t give a s— who the hell you are.”
Garza: “Take your s— off and get the (expletive) out of here.”
. . .
Allingham: “You don’t scare me… You don’t scare me.
Garza: “You do not talk to me like that.”
Allingham: “You don’t scare me. You’re an idiot.”
. . .
[Allingham insists that he is taking the man in]
Garza: “No, you’re not.”
Allingham: “Oh, yes I am . . . Do you want me to call the judge? I will.”
“I don’t give a s—,” Garza responds. “You know what, Lee, you do what I say. That’s it. You understand me?”
Allingham: “You have no authority interfering with my cases.”
Garza: “You know what, I am the sheriff here. You’re not . . . I am the one with the final decision here. I can do what I want.”
Allingham: “No you can’t.”
Garza: “If I want to release him, I’ll release him,” Garza says. “And that’s…
Allingham: “No, you can’t do that. This is his second DWI.”
Garza [to Deputy Sanchez]: “Release him,” Garza instructs another deputy.
Allingham: “No. Don’t release him, Justin (Sanchez).”
Garza: “I am the Sheriff here, you’re not… I have the final call.”
Allingham: “You know what, I don’t give an (expletive,)… No you can’t.”
Garza: “I make the final decision here. I can do what I want.”
Allingham: “No, I’m taking this guy for a DWI… Oh yes I am
Garza: “Oh no you’re not.”
Frankly both the Sheriff and Deputy Sheriff sound out of sorts, a point made by the third officer who is recorded stating “I’m trying to calm you guys down, this is (expletive) unprofessional.”
You can listen to the tape: