A former Rio Arriba County sheriff’s deputy charged with child abuse and other crimes in connection with the tasing of a 15-year-old developmentally disabled Española Valley High School student will be allowed to remain out of custody while he awaits trial.
Prosecutor Mark Probasco asked state District Judge Jason Lidyard to add two special conditions to the court’s standard conditions of release, which would have barred former deputy Jeremy Barnes from interacting with any minors or possessing any weapons — including Tasers — while the case is pending.
Probasco said that given the charges, the state didn’t trust Barnes’ judgment when it comes to the use of weapons.
But Barnes’ lawyer, Tom Clark, asked for a conference at the bench on the weapons issue. After a brief exchange with both sides, the judge denied the state’s request for special conditions.
Lidyard ordered Barnes, 34, released on standard conditions, which prohibit him from possessing weapons or interacting with victims or witnesses in the case, but not from having contact with all juveniles.
The Attorney General’s Office charged Barnes with child abuse, false imprisonment, aggravated battery and violation of ethical principals of public service in November after he was seen on video in May tasing the boy multiple times during an altercation at the school.
Video showed the deputy enter a room where school security staff were questioning the boy, who had been detained on suspicion of drug activity. The boy had refused to be searched.
The deputy threatened to handcuff the boy, saying, “I’ll put his little ass in handcuffs and take him to Santa Fe.” He then ordered the student to stand up, asking, “Are you going to be cooperative or uncooperative?”
“What do you think I’m doing?” the boy answered, before calling the deputy a derogatory name.
That prompted Barnes and a security guard to grab the boy and a brief struggle ensued.
“I’m going to [expletive] tase you,” Barnes said, and then immediately fired the device into the boy’s chest at close range, sending him to the floor, face down. The security guard placed his knee on the back of the boy’s neck. Barnes administered two additional shocks as the boy lay screaming on the floor.
Barnes wrote in his report the boy had been verbally uncooperative and would not allow security staff to search him.
While he was trying to restrain the boy after commanding him to stand up, the report said, the boy “pulled away with force” then pushed Barnes away with a clenched fist and hit a security guard with a closed fist.
Barnes had been hired by Rio Arriba County in October 2018 after a three-year absence from law enforcement. His history with police departments in Grants and Clayton included accusations of aggressive behavior.
If convicted on all counts Barnes faces a maximum penalty of 6½ years in prison.