New Mexico Sheriff Under Investigation After Ordering Deputy to Release Alleged Drunk Driver To Show Deputy “Who Is Boss”

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:


Source: ABC

29 thoughts on “New Mexico Sheriff Under Investigation After Ordering Deputy to Release Alleged Drunk Driver To Show Deputy “Who Is Boss””

  1. D. U. I. –: Despotic Until Impeached. Standing indictment of the people against all imperial presidents of the Unlettered States: white, “colored,” male, or female.

  2. Imagine if the DWI arrestee was released and subsequently killed someone….

    The Deputy did the right thing. The Sheriff should be investigated by the State Attorney General.

  3. “I believe a subordinate officer has a legal obligation to disregard an order reasonably believed to be illegal.” — seamus

    I agree, but the vindictive persecution of Private Bradley Manning and several other high-visibility persons of conscience argues against the prospects of anyone assuming that their own interpretation of duty and freedom matters when authority claims that it doesn’t.

    I had something of a lesson in this vindictive authority thing brought home to me early in my tour of duty in South Vietnam when I served at VNNTC Cam Ranh Bah as a “trainer” of Vietnamese naval personnel who never showed up for any training. Bored beyond belief at the lack of anything meaningful to do with my life, I took advantage of Admiral Elmo Zumalt’s fleet-wide order stating that enlisted men could grow beards and mustaches in order to improve their morale. For a sailor, orders don’t come from anyone higher than the Chief of Naval Operations. So I grew a beard and mustache to improve my morale.

    As it turned out, my commanding officer didn’t like my morale and ordered me to shave off the offending facial hair. Having had about all I could stand after four-and-a-half years of meaningless, penurious indentured servitude in Uncle Sam’s Canoe Club, I respectfully declined to shave off my beard and mustache, noting that the CNO himself had authorized them. My commanding officer could not bust me for following the CNO’s directive. Neither could he send me to Vietnam for punishment — the Navy had already done that. So he found the most remote, isolated ATSB in the country — “Seafloat” or “Solid Anchor” — and transferred me there where I languished by the side of a dirty brown river, surrounded by poisoned jungle foliage, for over a year until finally allowed to return to America and get out of the Navy. In a note of supreme irony, it turns out that Admiral Zumwalt himself had ordered “Solid Anchor” constructed when he commanded all US navy personnel in Vietnam before his promotion to Chief of Naval Operations. Wheels within wheels …

    President Obama reminds me of the thin-skinned, small-minded, vindictive SOB that I had for a commanding officer at VNNTC Cam Ranh Bay. I consider my own miserable enlisted experience as only depressing and irritating compared to the dreadful and unforgivable treatment meted out to Private Bradley Manning by President Obama. I don’t have many heroes in life, but I count Private Bradley Manning as one of them. President Obama cannot hold a candle to him as a genuine patriot who has not aided any “enemy” but only the American people.

    The Supreme Court, naturally, sits idly by, absorbed in its own dogmatic slumbers, while this travesty against justice unfolds. What a supremely worthless institution.

  4. “This is post-Bush America, dammit! Unquestioning blind obedience is the order of the day!” — Gene H.

    True, but not just today, and not just post-Bush. Charles Sanders Peirce had a lot to say about this in his essay “The Fixation of Belief,” Popular Science Monthly (1877):

    “The method of authority will always govern the mass of mankind; and those who wield the various forms of organized force in the state will never be convinced that dangerous reasoning ought not to be suppressed in some way. If liberty of speech is to be untrammeled from the grosser forms of constraint, then uniformity of opinion will be secured by a moral terrorism to which the respectability of society will give its thorough approval. Following the method of authority is the path of peace. Certain non-conformities are permitted; certain others (considered unsafe) are forbidden. These are different in different countries and in different ages; but, wherever you are, let it be known that you seriously hold a tabooed belief, and you may be perfectly sure of being treated with a cruelty less brutal but more refined than hunting you like a wolf. Thus, the greatest intellectual benefactors of mankind have never dared, and dare not now, to utter the whole of their thought.”

    For my part, I’ve got a poem about the willing submission to authority published this month in Bewildering Stories entitled The Silence of the Lamb Chops.

    A timeless story, really, and one not likely to change its essential features so long as independent thought remains anathema to both the authorities and those whose fear of freedom demands the silencing of their erstwhile liberators.

  5. I believe a subordinate officer has a legal obligation to disregard an order reasonably believed to be illegal. Bettykath is spot on. The police would bare a great deal of liability in knowingly releasing a drunk driver back on the public way. Obeying his boss and contacking the State’s Attorney or Attorney General the next day is not going to put Humpty Dumpty back together again his Senior Trujillo squishes an old lady on the way home.

  6. Oro Lee, I agree. Wonder who would be responsible if the suspect killed or maimed someone on the way home or on his way to the next bar.

  7. Well, this is how it works in the real people….. Maybe not supposed to but shit does happen..

  8. So, the sheriff was “off-duty, but decided to stop by to see that his deputies were following procedure.” (Someone should check phone records to see who called whom, and when.)

    It was the guy’s second DWI.

    “Garza knew Trujillo who is the ex-husband of the dispatcher on duty on the day of the first arrest.”

    (And what Gene H. said about the “Sheriff Joe Arpaio school of civics.”)

  9. You don’t pull rank on your boss.Cut the guy loose, file your report, send a copy to the county commissioners and the state AG.That’s how the system works. Deputy should be fired. Sheriff should be investigated.

  10. Sheesh! Didn’t this deputy learn “it’s not what you know, but who you know” back in police-school? Everyone knows that the connected don’t get arrested.

  11. Yeah! How dare that Deputy use his own discretion when affecting an arrest let alone for a 2nd time DUI of the ex-husband of a current Sheriff’s office employee! To Hell with the fact that cutting the guy loose is the very appearance of impropriety or interference with the duties of an officer that could be construed as obstruction! This is post-Bush America, dammit! Unquestioning blind obedience is the order of the day!

  12. If it was my county and the deputy is that obnoxious to the sheriff then I would want the deputy fired.

  13. The Sheriff is the boss. The deputy is having a mental breakdown or a delusion of grandeur. sp

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