Residents claim APD officer encouraged them to fight

Posted at: 11/26/2012 9:45 PM
Updated at: 11/26/2012 10:14 PM
By: Joe Vigil, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Photo: Gregory Donofrio
Photo: Gregory Donofrio

Andres Lucero doesn't get along with his neighbor.

He said the man has called Albuquerque police over and over again to complain about him being too noisy. Lucero denied that claim and said his neighbor has been the troublemaker around the Zia Tres Apartment Complex on Marquette near San Mateo and Copper.

The ongoing dispute took a bizarre turn Saturday. Lucero said an Albuquerque police officer, who showed up to respond to yet another complaint from his neighbor, encouraged the men to fight to resolve the matter.

"I told the cop I'm tired of it. I said maybe you should let us fight it out. Because I don't know what else to do because you guys have been here more than eighteen times in the last six months. And he said yeah, I know. I'm tired of it myself," Lucero told KOB Eyewitness News 4.

Lucero said officer Gregory Donofrio then responded to his request to fight his neighbor. "He said if you want to fight, and it's between both of you and you agree both of you, then go ahead and duke it out and get it over with," said Lucero.

Lucero said both of them agreed to fight and then punches were thrown. "I punched him in the gut and in the chest. And I kicked him once in the rib cage. He hit me in the face. I slipped and he got in a couple good shots on me," said Lucero.

Lucero said after a couple minutes the officer stepped in and asked the men if they wanted an ambulance. Both said no. Lucero said the officer then left. "To be honest with you, I'm kind of happy he let us fight. That way I'm not walking around feeling pissed off all the time," said Lucero, who claims he's bi-polar.

Lucero suffered cuts on his face. Police said his neighbor drove himself to the hospital for minor injuries. Lucero said his neighbor moved out of the complex on Sunday. He said that's when his neighbor called police on him again. When officers showed up, both men apparently told officers what had happened the previous day. Lucero said the officers were upset that Donofrio allegedly encouraged them to fight.

Donofrio has been placed on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of an Internal Affairs investigation.