A Rio Arriba County Detention Officer who decided to ask an inmate what the problem was, after the man mumbled something, got his answer when the inmate punched him in the face.

Upon Rio Arriba County Deputy Dominic Montoya’s arrival at the jail, Detention Officer Guy Jordan told him that he had surveillance footage of the incident and it was ready to be viewed.

Montoya and Jordan went to the supervisor’s office where they viewed the footage. 

It showed Detention Officer Jonah Samora, 19, of Chama and another officer, Ashley Valdez, walking around the inside of B Pod. It also showed a table at which five inmates sat.

“I then observed Officer Samora walk around the table, and when he was walking away I observed Officer Samora stop and focus his attention on one of the inmates,” Montoya wrote in his incident report. 

Samora was doing his hourly rounds and walked around the table, according to the report. An inmate, later identified as Albert Vigil, 39, of Chimayó, began to mumble something, then began to yell. Samora asked him what the problem was and that’s when Vigil got up.

On the video, Montoya saw Vigil stand up very quickly and walk toward Samora, then punch him in the face with his right fist.

Samora did not attempt to engage Vigil after being punched, as other inmates began to stand up and gather near Vigil. Samora and Valdez left B Pod afterward.

“Officer Samora stated because he and Officer Valdez were outnumbered they decided to just leave the area to wait for backup,” Montoya wrote.

He charged Vigil with battery on a peace officer. According to an online court records search, he had a preliminary examination on Oct. 27 in Judge Alexandra Naranjo’s courtroom at Chama Magistrate Court.

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