A New Mexico couple says a police officer harassed them and questioned their political views after they asked him to wear a mask during a traffic stop, KRQE News 13 reports.
Police footage obtained by KRQE shows the altercation, which begins when Bosque Farms Police Officer Ricky Dominguez pulls over Danny Martinez and his wife for failure to use a turn signal.
Once he approaches the vehicle, Dominguez talks to Martinez about his blinkers and explains why he pulled them over.
They disagree on whether a turn signal was used.
“Is this harassment?” Martinez’s wife asks.
“Harassment? I pulled you over for a legit reason, ma’am,” Dominguez says. “I’ve never seen you before. Why would it be harassment?”
Dominguez checks to make sure Martinez’s blinkers are functioning, then asks if there are firearms in the truck.
“Sir, these are questions I ask everybody,” Dominguez tells Martinez, who is clearly agitated. “You don’t have to give me attitude. I was just going to check to make sure you guys were OK and cut you a break, but you just talked yourself into a citation.”
When Dominguez comes back with the ticket, he finds Martinez and his wife on the phone with 911, saying, “He’s not wearing a mask.” This is where the altercation begins to devolve.
Dominguez gets his mask and attempts to serve the citation. Martinez then explains the pandemic’s severity to him.
“Come on, dude. It’s COVID around here, you know?” Martinez says.
Instead of serving the ticket and moving on, Dominguez chooses to escalate the issue.
He chuckles and replies, “Oh my gosh, you must be a Democrat.”
The Bosque Farms Police Department did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment. However, Bosque Farms Police Chief Andrew Owen told KRQE that Dominguez’s response was “not professional and not suitable for the department.”
Owen did not say whether Dominguez has faced consequences, but the officer is now reportedly “attending training for de-escalation techniques, along with other training for professional communication.”
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