ABQ Citizens charged with assaulting peace officers

Posted at: 06/24/2014 5:42 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

We’ve heard a lot about Albuquerque police officers using excessive force against civilians. In fact the issue has dominated local news for months. But, plenty of civilians seem ready and able to use force against police officers too. This past weekend is a prime example.

Five people were arrested Saturday and Sunday and charged with assaulting peace officers in five unrelated incidents.  Timothy Chatterton is accused of throwing an axe at his wife, then flipping over a police officer and kicking him. Samantha Goen is charged with trying to run over two deputy sheriffs with her car.  Police say Edward Armijo Jr., a DWI suspect, bit and kicked two transport officers trying to haul him off to jail. Nam Vu is charged with fighting officers during a domestic violence bust. And deputies say Adam Gonzales fought them during a meth bust at a Taco Bell in the North Valley. They say Gonzales demanded a taco.

There is still no formal agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice on any APD reforms following the DOJ findings of a pattern of excessive force and a culture of guns and gun violence in the police department. But city cops are already trying hard to be kinder and gentler on the job.

“We’re emphasizing more de-escalation techniques,” said Deputy APD Chief William Roseman. “We’re getting more training out to our officers. We’re trying to ensure that we have the right resources at a scene where we’re slowing things down. We’re trying to calm individuals down to keep it as calm as we can.”

That’s a challenge. So far this year AP{D officers have documented 79 cases where they’ve used force against civilians. Last year at this time the number was much higher at 144 cases. During that same period of 2013 there were 18 cases of assaults on police officers. This year it’s 17.

“Unfortunately, there are those who sometimes you can’t calm down,” Roseman said. Sometimes their actions we can’t control. We can try to influence their behavior by slowing things down, using de-escalation techniques, but at the end of the day their actions are something we can’t fully control.”