Joe Carrasco

Sgt. Jose Carrasco, president of the union representing New Mexico State Police officers, said legislators are ‘creating laws that basically tie our hands so we can’t enforce the laws.’

The president of the New Mexico State Police Association is accusing Democratic lawmakers of pursuing legislation that would give criminals more rights than police and take away tools he says officers need to safely do their jobs.

“One of the things that needs to be said is the attack on law enforcement by our current legislators,” Sgt. Jose Carrasco, president of the union representing state police officers, said in a 15-minute video to lawmakers and New Mexico residents.

“When you have senators and representatives personally attacking law enforcement, creating laws that basically tie our hands so we can’t enforce the laws, we can’t protect ourselves, we can’t protect the citizens, something finally has to be said,” Carrasco said in the video, posted Monday on YouTube. It had received more than 3,800 views by Tuesday evening.

“I know it’s going to upset some people,” added Carrasco, who did not return a message seeking comment.

In the video, Carrasco pointed to three specific pieces of legislation, starting with Senate Bill 227, which is sponsored by Democratic Sen. Linda Lopez of Albuquerque. He noted the bill is called the “inspection of police misconduct investigation” but said the title is misleading.

SB 227, which has not yet faced a committee hearing, actually doesn’t have a title but calls for several law enforcement reforms, including a procedure for reviewing investigations of officer misconduct and restrictions on officer use of physical force.

“It’s taking the tools away from us, our less-lethal option tools, to be able to effect an arrest peacefully and without having to use any deadly force,” he said. “However, [Sen.] Lopez is taking that ability away from us.”

The measure would prohibit law enforcement officers from using force unless they had first tried all possible deescalation efforts. It also would ban the use of rubber bullets and chokeholds, and says officers “shall not direct a dog to bite a person.”

“We can’t even use a canine anymore, like at all,” Carrasco said. “They’ve taken all the tools that we use to go in there and hopefully take the people or person into custody without having to use lethal force. You’re taking that away from us. I hope, I hope and I pray, that I can at least have a fighting chance and have my ballistic vest on when I go into the residence. I hope that we can still do that.”

In a statement, Lopez wrote there is no reason for police to use deadly force “when it is not absolutely necessary and clear alternatives to deescalate a situation exist.”

“Bad practices by bad actors have resulted in heartbreak and tragedy for so many in our communities, especially people of color, who are disproportionately the victims of police violence,” she wrote.

Aaron Velarde, president of the Bernalillo County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, said law enforcement encounters are dynamic and it isn’t always feasible to attempt deescalation, especially during violent encounters where the life of an officer or the lives of others are at risk.

“This bill places egregious burdens on law enforcement and removes an officer’s ability to resolve situations utilizing less-than-lethal options,” he said. “By removing these tools from law enforcement, this bill actually increases the likelihood that deadly force will be utilized. This is not the situation that we want to place our officers or the public in.”

Lopez wrote that while police union leaders have to advocate solely on behalf of their members, she has to “weigh all the facts” as a senator, including that the Albuquerque Police Department has been under federal oversight because of a “pattern and practice” of unconstitutional “use of force” and “deadly force.”

“By requiring the establishment of use-of-force policies and de-escalation protocols state-wide as standard operating procedure, we can get to the root of this problem and properly train our law enforcement community to handle situations in a way that will keep everyone safer,” she wrote.

Carrasco warned lawmakers “it’s going to be the criminals using deadly force on the officers that are trying to enforce your laws that you wrote.”

Carrasco also took issue with House Bill 4, which would prohibit “qualified immunity” as a defense to legal claims filed against government agencies and would allow people to file lawsuits in state courts over violations of their constitutional rights.

“There are bad senators, bad representatives, bad doctors, bad priests, bad nurses. There’s bad in every single profession. But yet, we’re the ones that get picked on nonstop,” he said.

Carrasco also took a direct aim at the sponsor, House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, who noted the death of a state police officer last week as he wrapped up a news conference.

“One thing that I wanted to tell you, Mr. Egolf, and I wish I could tell you face to face, is that my brothers and sisters do not appreciate you making a comment about our brother at all,” Carrasco said, referring to Egolf’s comments shortly after the fatal shooting of Officer Darian Jarrott near Deming.

“It wasn’t even heartfelt,” Carrasco said. “We would just wish that you … just didn’t say anything about our fallen brother because he’s one of the ones that you’re trying to take rights away from, too.”

Egolf wrote in a statement he invited Carrasco for a meeting Wednesday afternoon at the Capitol to discuss his bill in its current form.

“After extensive revisions in the House Judiciary Committee [on Monday], the bill addresses all of the concerns he discussed in his video, and I am glad to walk him through each modification made,” Egolf wrote. “Sgt. Carrasco informed me he plans to read the bill before our meeting [Wednesday], and I look forward to a positive discussion.”

In the video, Carrasco also raised concerns about a controversial bill that would eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for a number of crimes — including criminal sexual penetration of a minor.

“So somebody that commits a rape on a child, they want to remove the minimum sentence, and there’s other heinous crimes in there,” he said, referring to House Bill 140, which has been tabled indefinitely.

“As the laws stand right now, some of these people that commit some horrendous crimes are … out in the street before we even leave the parking of the jail,” Carrasco added. “This only makes it worse when the minimum sentences are being removed and the criminals are allowed to go back in the street to continue their life of crime, continue victimizing our families, breaking into their homes, stealing their cars, stealing their identity, committing all kinds of crimes, killing, murdering people.”

Carrasco urged New Mexico residents to contact their lawmakers and tell them to “stand by law enforcement.”

Follow Daniel J. Chacón on Twitter @danieljchacon.

(42) comments

John Doe

All the bill will do is drive the crime rate higher. Police won't do anything but collect a pay check, retire or go to another state. You get what you asked for. Lol.

Jim Klukkert

All people have the fundamental right to life, limb and property. Part of insuring those rights, is the right to due process,

As the grandson of a CHP, I believe in the goodness of most LEO’s, and I know events can unfold very rapidly, way faster than ‘due process’ can accommodate.

However, like every profession or calling, ‘best practices’ and ‘professional standards’ evolve or grow, in short change.

I find, therefore, that this bill has much merit, and the the Union’s president has done nothing to move discussion of this legislation forward.

The position of the Union President is very unprofessional, and I hope the Union will soon find more thoughtful leadership.

John Doe

Liberal

Jim Klukkert

John Doe, or whatever your name really is- not a liberal, a Christian Democratic Socialist.

What do you have against professional law enforcement with high standards and transparent system of accountability?

Or John Doe, you are just out for an evening of trolling?

If the latter better describes you, such activity betrays a deep disrespect for the women & men of law enforcement, as well as their mission.

Alexis Martinez Johnson

New Mexicans support the job our law enforcement does. As with all professions there are good and there are bad people. Those that do bad should be held accountable; however, we need to acknowledge that some have given their life for our safety.

Lupe Molina

Unfortunately, they also end up laden with menial tasks when they should be doing more important things. For example: I would rather police spend time investigating crimes then have to argue with and issue a ticket to someone who thinks not wearing a mask is a political statement. That's a waste of taxpayer money.

As for the bad apples argument, other jobs that concern the safety of others don't seem to have as many bad apples as police. After all, in which job can you shoot an innocent person, get placed on leave to be investigated by your own colleagues, and then get your job back?

Roman Velarde

It’s very obvious that our “elected “ officials have a severe anti cop bias but how many of them have had to confront a drug crazed maniac on a cold dark street to keep the public safe? That’s right , I’m sure senator Lopez never has had that”privilege “ yet pontificates on how criminals are to be coddled and their rights paramount to the public’s or the police officers! Since all of the “ righteous “ cop haters have never done that job , it is easy to criticize people who put their own safety and lives on the line on a daily basis to protect all citizens rights and safety. Now our leftist “leaders” are asking them to do it without any tools . Since medical malpractice causes many more deaths than police encounters maybe Sen. Lopez and her fellow travelers can start advising brain surgeons on how to mitigate this problem.

Jim Klukkert

Roman Velarde- Just to be clear s to what you are saying:

- our “elected “ officials, by implication, are not really elected;

- those who support this legislation, as well as “ our leftist ‘leaders,‘“ are

Jim Klukkert

Roman Velarde- Just to be clear s to what you are saying: - our “elected “ officials, by implication, are not really elected; - those who support this legislation, as well as “ our leftist ‘leaders,‘“ are “Cop Haters.”

Just to be clear, Mr. Velarde, that is what you are saying in your comment.

Just to be sure, I find your comment insulting, offensive and without basis inour assumably shared reality . I will report it as abuse.

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Lupe Molina

Hey Dr. Mike. Glad to know traditional policing strategies are working for older, white dudes but that's about it. The rest of us want to get our money's worth.

Erich Kuerschner

The link to the FACTS on the 25 most dangerous jobs https://advisorsmith.com/data/most-dangerous-jobs/

bob chilton

Seriously...Lol! Almost all of the occupations listed in the most dangerous jobs use heavy machinery or if you’re not paying attention fatal accidents happen. No disrespect to Fisherman, loggers or oil rig workers but I’ve never met a person in the logging industry who has ever Had a tree try to stab them or a fisherman who’s Lobster assaulted them with a handgun. I love how people can minimize the dangers in law-enforcement just because they don’t die after every assault. Law enforcement officers thankful get to wear body armor. Thousands of these men and women Have had their lives saved because of the use of body armor. Thousands of hours of training that they receive has also assisted with the low mortality rate. Over 50,000 law enforcement professionals are violently assaulted every year with blunt objects, knives, firearms and 4000 pound weapons called automobiles. Don’t try to confuse readers with skewed numbers. There are almost 1,000,000 law enforcement professionals in the United States. With about 40,000 people working in the logging industry and around 30,000 people working in the fishing industry Any number of deaths is going to be very high When you’re using a basic metric per 100,000. Erich you sir are Clown Shoes!

John Doe

They die from accidents, not murdered or assaulted. Lol.

Erich Kuerschner

What are the FACTS about the danger of police work? They don't even rank in the top twenty of most dangerous jobs, far SAFER than most other blue collar outdoor jobs. It is HIGH time to stop KILLING at the slightest sign of danger and grow some cajones? The point of safety officers is to protect the PUBLIC, not the police themselves, que no. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics of dangerous jobs, Police work ranks #22, behind outdoor maintenance and twenty other jobs. As former DOD Sect. Chuck Hegal said, "If you can't stand the heat, go sell shoes."

Francisco Carbajal

It is interesting to note, out of the (13) responses for this news article, it is disheartening to observe the disrespectful attitude towards our law enforcement community in New Mexico. Definitely, I support the New Mexico State Police Union President and the "Black and Gray" and his interview & statements were "spot-on!" What is wrong with this picture that many of these people do not understand about the "Thin Blue Line" and "Black and Gray." The current "anti-police" mentality that exists throughout this nation against police officer's is the "real world" we live in and it is not a good outcome. The cold-hearted Chris Mechels' and many others like him, will co-exist within the inner depths of malice, distortions, and deceptions against police officer's to the end of time. Their is nothing that we can do to mitigate this type of evil thoughts, deeds, by words or action at this time. It really does not matter on what these people think or say negative about our police officer's and their families. If they want to paint a bad picture about our "Thin Blue Line" and "Black and Gray," so be it! We will take care of our own as always with honor, respect, trust, and dignity attributes all the days of our lives. The sacred badge we wear daily and nightly is earned with these sacred attributes. We owned it!

Daniel Mathews

Demanding police be held accountable to the same standards as other professions is not anti-cop. It’s about accountability. If the cops can’t or won’t police their own ranks, then someone will do it for them

Chris Mechels

Mr. Carbajal, you continue to spout nonsense. I included a link to a very thorough piece on a NMSP murder and cover up, in Santa Fe, but of course you won't read it.

Instead I am "cold hearted" because I seek reforms. Why don't you actually learn something about what you write about?? Too much trouble?? The "sacred badge we wear daily"... what rubbish. Tell Jeanette Anaya's family, and other families with members killed by our cops. Fool....

Lupe Molina

As public servants, they need to show respect to those they serve. Maybe your interactions with police are cordial and effective. For most of us, they don't show up when we call, don't investigate the crimes we report, and then shoot at the first sign of trouble. It's simple, New Mexicans are paying for a service and not getting their money's worth. This is about value, not generalizations about cops and criminals.

Bonnie Cox

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Lupe Molina

Mr. Carbajal, the "we will take care of ourselves" argument you just made is exactly the problem. Police are public servants. This is a democracy. If you're going to just retreat to your corner and act like tough guys, then voters will pull funding. That is the whole point here. Instead of reforming with the times, the police union wants to close ranks around its own instead of protecting and serving the public. You might think you can fight that, but you'll have no resources or leverage to do so.

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John Cook

Nonsense. Police have gotten used to killing citizens without consequence. Protests over the summer resulted in a few buildings burned and a few people killed by right-wing crazies. Compare that with 1004 people shot and killed by police in 2020. Spouting typical right-wing fear points is misdirection. 1004 citizens killed by police in 2020. It's time to get to the root of the problem. Out of control police aided and abetted by people like Dr. Johnson.

Richard Reinders

Be careful what you ask for you may get it, Abq is already turning into little Juarez with all the killings and crime because Keller tied the hands of law enforcement. It will become a state wide problem when no one wants to be in law enforcement. Be prepared to defend yourself from the criminal element.

Donato Velasco

alarmist is not going to get anything done, law enforcement still do their job just have to use more officer safety ..

Richard Reinders

So crime hasn’t got more violent and prevalent in Abq under Keller? I am not being an alarmist, the real good police will find other occupations and we will get more bad cops. I don’t think current police are perfect but I haven’t walked in there shoes.

Chris Mechels

As expected the police unions want nothing to do with reforms. If something scares them, they should be allowed to kill it, to shoot until they are no longer scared. You should check out their "Officer Survival Training", aka Paranoia 101. They survive, you don't. They get very poor training in "defensive tactics" so they rely on their trusty pistol far too soon and too often. Then they shoot "Center Mass", even when they could easily wound the suspect. As European police say; American cops kill people because they WANT TO... not because they have to.

For a real life murder, and cover up, by the NM State Police, assisted by our DA Spence Pacheco, see the following excellent piece by Jeff Proctor; http://nmindepth.com/2016/03/23/puff-of-smoke-justice-system-designed-to-clear-cop-who-killed-jeanette-anaya/ Its the murder of Jeanette Anaya during a traffic stop. Officer Wilson violate the Use of Force policy and the Pursuit Policy, and his training. He should have been fired and prosecuted. He now patrols in Las Cruces, waiting to kill again.

The NMSP union rep knows all about such cases, and condones them. Which, I suggest makes him complicit in those murders. Now you know something about him, he's a criminal who breaks the very laws he's sworn to uphold. Then he chides us for our efforts to reform. Surprised??? Read the Anaya story again, get mad, and demand reform of this corrupt, criminal, system. Or do nothing...

Daniel Mathews

Hey Sarge

Maybe if you and the rest of the cop unions actually got rid of the “bad” cops, the legislature wouldn’t be debating this bill. As for bad nurses, doctors and lawyers; they can and do lose their jobs, licenses and suffer REAL consequences for failure to do their jobs and uphold their responsibilities. The focus is on cops because there is no accountability whatsoever. You guys made your bed, now sleep in it

Stefanie Beninato

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Lupe Molina

The Sgt. doth protest too much. Most New Mexicans don't think they're getting anywhere near their money's worth with law enforcement. Here's a clue, Sherlock. Guarantee 0 lost pieces of evidence or missed court deadlines in the whole state for a whole year, then we'll consider taking you seriously.

Randy Jackson

I guess that if an officer/deputy has any doubts about a potential situation they can just keep on driving and swing into Starbucks instead.

Donato Velasco

officers should first learn to do their jobs with out weapons/ fire arms,,, and develop speaking skills rather then use the firearms as a tool of intimidation to gain compliance .. officers do not know what command presence is .. so training should be at the for front if the union president really want to take car of the officers..

Donato Velasco

officer are their own worst enemies by not policing the ranks and booting out bad cops.

Grace Trujillo

And there are bad state police officers also. HB 4 is not only about state police departments. it is for all state agency and I believe we should be able to sue if someone has proof of wrong doing. Like you say, there are bad people in every profession.

Also, grow up sir! The killing of the officer effected all of us. Not only your brothers. He protected us and we solute him. For you to bring that up is so unprofessional.

Stefanie Beninato

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John Doe

You have no idea what you're talking about or have a clue about qualified immunity. Police can be sued personally, have always been. It's about stopping frivolous lawsuits by people like you.

Patricia Colon

Faux outrage. The rhetoric is intended to drive wedges and people are sick of it after four years of never ending divisiveness. Sit down with legislators and negotiate.

Donato Velasco

the legislators are the ones creating division its how they control the masses for their own greedy gains,, we have laws on the books now to deal with any illegal act,, but by creating laws that muddy the waters of justice only leads to bad case law and unhappy citizens that leads to new voters.. its a revolving door of policies,,

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