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Old Nov 19th, 2013, 09:24 AM   #1
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New Mexico cops open fire on minivan full of kids at traffic stop for speeding

New Mexico cops open fire on minivan full of kids at traffic stop for speeding

By David Edwards
Monday, November 18, 2013 10:29 EST




Several New Mexico State Police officers are under investigation after at least one of them fired shots at a minivan full of children last month.

According to KRQE, an officer pulled over Oriana Ferrell in Taos for going 71 mph in a 55 mph zone on Oct. 28. Ferrell had brought her five children from Tennessee on an educational trip.

Dashcam footage obtained by KRQE late last week shows Ferrell and the officer arguing over the ticket before she drives off. The officer chases the mother down and pulls her over again.

The second traffic stop eventually escalates into a struggle, with the officer trying to pull the African-American mother out of the vehicle and her 14-year-old son getting out to defend his mom. But the boy returns to the minivan after the officer aims a Taser at him.

“Sir, I pulled back over, I didn’t run away,” Ferrell pleads at one point. “You see my children. I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m just trying to take them to the Rio Grande.”

Eventually both the mother and the son struggle with the officer before getting back in the minivan. The officer then uses his baton to smash the passenger side window where the 14-year-old boy is sitting.

As the family attempts to flee, a second officer fires at least three shots at the vehicle.

Ferrell was later arrested and charged with child abuse, fleeing an officer and possession of drug paraphernalia. The 14-year-old boy was charged with battery. The other children were taken into the custody the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department. They were later placed in the care of a family known to Ferrell, according to court documents obtained by The Taos News.

At a hearing on Tuesday, Eighth Judicial District Judge Jeff McElroy reviewed the dashcam footage and said that the “court is concerned about the nature of these charges.”

Defense attorney Alan Maestas explained to the judge that Ferrell was fleeing from the officer because she feared for the safety of her children.

“She was flat-out scared that something was going to happen to her children,” he said. “We ought to talk about the stupidity and recklessness of shooting at a car that has five children in it.”

“If someone ought to be charged with child abuse, it ought to be the New Mexico State Police,” Maestas pointed out.

In charging documents, however, officers argued that the shots were fired “in an attempt to keep the vehicle from leaving.”

Watch this video [at the link below] from KRQE, broadcast Nov. 15, 2013.

[The Raw Story]
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Old Nov 19th, 2013, 07:33 PM   #2
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Re: New Mexico cops open fire on minivan full of kids at traffic stop for speeding

The woman is clearly wrong for driving away, but these thugs with badges should be reprimanded. WTF? One officer smashes the woman's left window while her 14 year old son is in the seat and another shoots at the vehicle with children? Unfuckingbelievable. I would defend my mom the same way the boy did. The officer had no right to treat her like a common criminal over a fucking ticket.
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Old Nov 19th, 2013, 10:57 PM   #3
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Re: New Mexico cops open fire on minivan full of kids at traffic stop for speeding

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Originally Posted by Infiniti2001 View Post
The woman is clearly wrong for driving away, but these thugs with badges should be reprimanded. WTF? One officer smashes the woman's left window while her 14 year old son is in the seat and another shoots at the vehicle with children? Unfuckingbelievable. I would defend my mom the same way the boy did. The officer had no right to treat her like a common criminal over a fucking ticket.
Crazy. Shooting at a vehicle with five children in it.
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 07:58 AM   #4
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Re: New Mexico cops open fire on minivan full of kids at traffic stop for speeding

Another story about these bullies in uniforms using a gun every time things don't go their way.

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Originally Posted by Infiniti2001 View Post
The woman is clearly wrong for driving away, but these thugs with badges should be reprimanded. WTF? One officer smashes the woman's left window while her 14 year old son is in the seat and another shoots at the vehicle with children? Unfuckingbelievable. I would defend my mom the same way the boy did. The officer had no right to treat her like a common criminal over a fucking ticket.
Driving away the first time was clearly wrong. But the second time it was justified. I would try to escape too if I felt that the lives of my children were in danger.
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Old Nov 20th, 2013, 09:31 AM   #5
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Re: New Mexico cops open fire on minivan full of kids at traffic stop for speeding

Really? Shooting at the car? Police are supposed to use their guns in danger situations only (however stupid that sounds these days given they even shoot little boys with toy guns these days) and there's not even the slightest justification that they used their guns for protection this time around .
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Old Dec 7th, 2013, 11:22 AM   #6
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Re: New Mexico cops open fire on minivan full of kids at traffic stop for speeding

State Police officer who shot at van fired

By T.S. Last / Journal Northern Bureau | 5 hours ago

Officer Elias Montoya has been fired from the State Police. This dash-cam video image shows him firing at a minivan full of children as their mother pulls away on Oct. 28. (From dash-cam video)

SANTA FE – The New Mexico State Police officer who fired shots at a van full of children while their mother was fleeing a traffic stop near Taos in late October has been fired.

State Police spokesman Lt. Emmanuel Gutierrez said that officer Elias Montoya, who was placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday, was terminated from his position as of Friday.

Gutierrez said he had confirmed the firing with State Police Chief Pete Kassetas. Gutierrez declined further comment “until all appeals have been exhausted,” though he did confirm that two other officers who were present for the chaotic traffic stop were still employed by the State Police.

Kassetas called for an internal investigation into the shooting after an officer’s dashboard camera captured video of the Oct. 28 encounter between State Police and Memphis, Tenn., resident Oriana Farrell, who was stopped for speeding with her five children, ranging in age from 6 to 16, in her van.

According to Montoya’s report of the incident, he fired at the van’s left rear tire in an effort to immobilize the vehicle “so as not to put any other human life in jeopardy.”

“My decision in shooting at the tire and not at the driver was because of all the people in the vehicle. … I may have exaggerated in keeping the muzzle of my weapon down so no innocent person would get hit with the shots I fired,” he wrote.

The video of the incident received national media attention, including on CNN and ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Media legal analysts weighed in, criticizing the actions of Montoya.

But in-state, he is receiving a lot of support. A Facebook page has been created on his behalf, and postings praising the officer and criticizing Farrell, 39, a writer, rapper and home-school advocate, for causing problems during the traffic stop were piling up Friday night. The page had almost 2,200 “likes.”

“This is not right,” one poster wrote. “Our State Police now (are) pandering to channel 7 and whatever Civil Liberties Organization backing this crazy woman and her crazy lifestyle choices.”

Friday night, Taos District Attorney Donald Gallegos said, “Whatever they (State Police) decide to do they’ll do. Their department will decide whether he was right or wrong.”

Gallegos previously said he was not considering bringing charges against Montoya or two other officers involved in the traffic stop. When asked if the news of Montoya’s firing changed his view, he responded, “Not at this point. I haven’t seen anything else.”

The video shows officer Tony DeTavis, who made the initial traffic stop, trying to bash in a window as the children inside scream and then Montoya firing when Farrell takes off a second time, leading to a high-speed chase into Taos.

DeTavis stopped Farrell’s Kia Sedona minivan for travelling 71 mph in a 55 mph zone on NM 518 south of Taos on the afternoon of Oct. 28. Five children ages six to 16 were in the van.

After an initial polite exchange with the officer, Farrell drove away without the officer’s permission or resolution of her speeding citation and was pulled over a second time a short distance down the highway.

This time, DeTavis couldn’t get Farrell out of the van and at one point tries to pull her out. Her 14-year-old son also leaves the van and briefly struggled with police, prompting DeTavis to pull out his Taser.

After both mother and son jumped back into the van and locked the doors, DeTavis swung his baton a few times to break out a window, the video shows. At this point, Farrell drove the van away again and Montoya fired three shots at the van.

Farrell sped away and was eventually traveling at speeds of 90 to 100 mph before she pulled over at a Taos hotel, a prosecutor said at Farrell’s Nov. 12 arraignment.

Farrell is charged with felony counts of aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer and intentional child abuse, and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, and is free on $10,000 bail. Her 14-year-old son is charged with battery against and assault on a police officer.

Montoya later bought the family dinner from McDonald’s and brought it to them while Farrell and her 14-year-old son were being booked.

After the video made national news, Chief Kassetas issued a statement saying that State Police’s top priority is to ensure officers respond appropriately so as to not complicate a situation and endanger others.

Facebook supporters


Efforts to reach Farrell, her attorney or anyone who could speak for Montoya were unsuccessful Friday.

But there was plenty of praise and sympathy for Montoya on the “I Support Officer Elias Montoya” Facebook page.
Dozens of posters praised Montoya and many criticized Farrell for causing the problems at the traffic stop.

Moriah Montoya, apparently the officer’s daughter, posted: “My father look sad n been thinkin lot but he had faith. Ofc, he had good heart as gold. Just keep pray my father.”

A Taos resident responded: “Moriah Montoya, please tell him he does have support and the citizens of Taos won’t sit back and take this. My thoughts are with your family. You’ve always been so good to the rest of us.”
Other posters said:
  • “An officer has seconds to decide what he needs to do. This officer was extremely patient with the lady. They also need to think of the safety of the community, that lady taking off and the high speed pursuit that ensued not only put her kids the officers lives in danger but also all the other motorists in danger. The officer acted correctly and should be commended for his patience.”
  • “And she not only put her kids in danger, but also the people of Taos by going 102 mph through our streets. It sickens me that the media shows you only what they want you to see. He gave her not only one, but 3 chances, when he could’ve given her none and taken her straight to jail after the first time she tried to run off. I’ve known Elias all my life, he’s a great family man and he would never put kids in danger (hence why he shot at the TIRES). There’s more to the story than just what the media wants you to hear. These leeches will do anything to destroy and degrade a person.”
  • “Elias Montoya Has A Heart Of Gold, And This Is How They Repay Him, This Is Not Fair!!!!!!Or Right!!!!!!!”
The page says a rally to support Montoya is being organized for next Thursday.

According to a profile from a 2010 Taos News article, Montoya is a father who once mentored boys in an organization called Taos Men Engaged in Non-violence. “My dad was a minister and things were expected of you. He taught me how to be responsible,” Montoya said of his late father.

Journal reporter Andy Stiny contributed to this report.


[Albuquerque Journal]
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Old Dec 7th, 2013, 01:52 PM   #7
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Re: New Mexico cops open fire on minivan full of kids at traffic stop for speeding

Good job. These idiotic, trigger-happy officers should be gotten rid of, for good.
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Old Dec 7th, 2013, 02:01 PM   #8
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Re: New Mexico cops open fire on minivan full of kids at traffic stop for speeding

I saw this last on MSNBC.
The police was clearly wrong in shooting at the vehicle with children in it.
THey were never in danger, they over-reacted, acted like hoodlums by smashing the windows


BUT, personally, I think this mother was acting in irresponsible manner.
Why did she drive away and endanger the lives of her own children?
She escalated the situation by her actions.
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Old Dec 7th, 2013, 02:03 PM   #9
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Re: New Mexico cops open fire on minivan full of kids at traffic stop for speeding

Quote:
Originally Posted by tennisbum79 View Post
I saw this last on MSNBC.
The police was clearly wrong in shooting at the vehicle with children in it.
THey were never in danger, they over-reacted, acted like hoodlums by smashing the windows


BUT, personally, I think this mother was acting in irresponsible manner.
Why did she drive away and endanger the lives of her own children?
She escalated the situation by her actions.
Yup. Both were at fault.
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Old Dec 7th, 2013, 02:09 PM   #10
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Re: New Mexico cops open fire on minivan full of kids at traffic stop for speeding

Interesting that the first story doesn't mention that he shot "at the tire" which is completely different to shooting at the van. And yeah I believe that was the case, since I was wondering how anyone could shoot at a van with 6 people in it from that range and not injure anyone.

But yeah the "shoot first" approach by cops is way out-of-hand. And most of the time they aren't aiming at tires.
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Old Dec 7th, 2013, 02:26 PM   #11
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Re: New Mexico cops open fire on minivan full of kids at traffic stop for speeding

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Originally Posted by Xepher View Post
Yup. Both were at fault.
Clarification.
Yes, mother and trigger-happy cops were at fault, but the lion share of the responsibility falls on the cops.
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Old Dec 7th, 2013, 04:02 PM   #12
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Re: New Mexico cops open fire on minivan full of kids at traffic stop for speeding

After the video made national news,
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Old Dec 7th, 2013, 10:50 PM   #13
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Re: New Mexico cops open fire on minivan full of kids at traffic stop for speeding

Quote:
Originally Posted by tennisbum79 View Post
I saw this last on MSNBC.
The police was clearly wrong in shooting at the vehicle with children in it.
THey were never in danger, they over-reacted, acted like hoodlums by smashing the windows


BUT, personally, I think this mother was acting in irresponsible manner.
Why did she drive away and endanger the lives of her own children?
She escalated the situation by her actions.
I think because that cop was chasing her son with mase and when he wouldn't get back out of the car they started banging on the windows with their clubs trying to break it. Most mothers would take off if she thinks her babies are in danger. To be truthful like a lot of minorities I'm afraid of cops even though I have family members that are police officers. To many of them are mean spirited hateful gun happy thugs.
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Old Dec 7th, 2013, 10:52 PM   #14
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Re: New Mexico cops open fire on minivan full of kids at traffic stop for speeding

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Originally Posted by dfhjhkjqing View Post
After the video made national news,
Yeah only after the video made national news.
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Old Dec 7th, 2013, 10:56 PM   #15
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Re: New Mexico cops open fire on minivan full of kids at traffic stop for speeding

Quote:
Originally Posted by pov View Post
Interesting that the first story doesn't mention that he shot "at the tire" which is completely different to shooting at the van. And yeah I believe that was the case, since I was wondering how anyone could shoot at a van with 6 people in it from that range and not injure anyone.

But yeah the "shoot first" approach by cops is way out-of-hand. And most of the time they aren't aiming at tires.


Yeah now he's aiming at tires after his ass is in trouble. The oldest kid in that van was 14 years old and these kids will most likely be traumatized for a long time if not forever.
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