A prisoner tried to escape custody at the Española Detention Center, but got a knee to the groin and additional charges for his troubles, instead.
Seth Tafoya, 32, of Santa Clara, was in custody for resisting, evading or obstructing an officer, burglary, concealing identity and a warrant out of Bernalillo County, when he attempted to escape police custody.
According to a report by Española Police Officer Cody Lattin, at approximately 12:35 a.m., Feb. 19, he responded to a call from Detention Center Officer Edward Martinez, who was asking for police assistance at the jail at 1316 Calle Adelante.
Prior to the call for help, Martinez said he was in the control center when Tafoya asked for water.
“Detention Officer Martinez advised upon opening the holding cage door, Seth began to walk away from him, and then immediately turned around and lunged toward him in an aggressive manner, grabbing hold of his vest,” Lattin wrote in his incident report.
Tafoya began to violently shake Martinez, pulling and pushing him, as he did so. The detention officer grabbed Tafoya’s jacket and tried to put him against the holding cage door.
“Detention Officer Martinez advised after placing Seth against the holding cage door, Seth again began to shake him violently towards and away from him,” Lattin wrote. “Detention Officer Martinez said he attempted to get Seth’s hands off of him but was unsuccessful and applied a knee strike to Seth’s right upper thigh area. Detention Officer Martinez advised while attempting to apply a knee strike to Seth’s upper right thigh area, Seth turned, causing him to apply the knee strike to Seth’s groin area.”
According to the report, after he received the knee strike to the groin, Tafoya let go of Martinez’s vest and ran out the door, toward the sally port door of the holding facility. As Tafoya ran away, Martinez entered the control center and advised Española Central Dispatch to send officers.
While he was calling for help, Martinez saw Tafoya in the holding cage area, where another inmate, Nicholas Naranjo, was being held. Tafoya tried to open Naranjo’s cell door.
“Detention Officer Martinez said while Seth was attempting to open Nicholas’ holding cage door, Nicholas told him to get the keys,” Lattin wrote. “Detention Officer Martinez told me shortly after Nicholas told Seth this, Sergeant Ortega, Officer Moya, and I entered the facility.”
When Lattin arrived, he entered the mail control area and saw a man, later identified as Tafoya, running north, away from holding cage M2, toward the back area. Martinez was chasing after him and Sgt. Michelle Ortega was assisting, with her Taser drawn. She told Lattin and Officer Adrian Moya that Tafoya was attempting to escape.
Lattin and Moya gave chase, as Tafoya ran toward a locked door and tried to open it. The officers also drew their Tasers and commanded Tafoya to stop. He refused and ran into a restroom and closed the door behind him. Moya opened the door and he and Lattin gave Tafoya commands to show his hands or be tased. He complied and approached the officers, who each took an arm and used an arm bar take-down technique on him. The officers then handcuffed Tafoya and escorted him to a holding cage.
Martinez was not injured during the attempted escape. Tafoya was re-booked and in addition to the charges he was already facing, Lattin charged him with battery upon a peace officer and escape or attempt to escape from the custody of a peace officer, both fourth degree felonies.
Tafoya made his first court appearance on Feb. 22 and bond was set at $10,000. He was bailed out the same day. He has a status hearing set for 8:30 a.m., March 31, in front of Judge Joseph Madrid in Rio Arriba Magistrate Court.