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Deputy Was Named in Civil Rights Lawsuit

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Barnes Grants PD

This 2013 photo published by the Cibola Record shows officers from the Grants Police Department including Jeremy Barnes, Moses Marquez, Jason Frank and Rashaun McKinney. All were named as defendants in a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Leroy Gallegos. Moses Marquez is the one who trained Barnes on Taser usage. Jason Frank wrote a letter of recommendation for Barnes which he submitted with his application to the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office.

Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jeremy Barnes did not disclose to the County that he had been the subject of an excessive force lawsuit during his time with the Grants Police Department, Sheriff’s Office Maj. Randy Sanches said in a June 10 interview.

Since a May 10 incident at Española Valley High School, Sanches said he has been trying to learn more about what took place in Grants and what Barnes’ role was in the lawsuit.

“Your phone call has prompted me to call Grants,” Sanches said. “I’ve called Grants (Police Department), I’ve called Grants City Hall, I’ve called Grants (Human Resources), to see what it is that you’re looking at and I haven’t gotten a response from anybody except for Grants (Police Department), who said that they don’t have anything.”

Barnes was named in a federal civil rights lawsuit in Grants following the July 6, 2013 arrest of Leroy Gallegos. A police report written by another officer named in the suit said Barnes was a part of the use of force incident, even though Sheriff James Lujan said Barnes told him otherwise.

“It just so happens, (Barnes) showed up after the fact, so they used him as a witness (in the lawsuit),” Lujan said in a May 30 interview.

The Grants Police Department report, authored by Cpl. Moses Marquez, said otherwise.

“Det. McKinney and Officer Barnes struggled with Mr. Gallegos on the ground for a prolonged period of time,” McKinney wrote. “Mr. Gallegos was actively resisting. I announced Taser to the officers and deployed the taser cartridge in his lower back.”

According to an amended complaint in the civil rights lawsuit filed by Gallegos in July 2017, Barnes and three other officers “used physical force in seizing and detaining Plaintiff on July 6, 2013, including but not limited to their application of Taser shocks to Plaintiff while he lay on the ground prone with his hands handcuffed behind his back.”

Lujan said his understanding from Barnes was that he was only a witness to the incident, and that was why his part in the suit was dismissed in March 2018.

Dwight E. Thompson, the attorney who represented Gallegos, stipulated to the dismissal, but declined to comment on the case or the alleged settlement.

Whether or not Barnes actually deployed his taser in the Grants incident is unclear, but depositions from the suit indicate Barnes was there from the start of the incident.

Lujan said Barnes showed up after the arrest and transported Gallegos to the hospital.

“Barnes ­— they had me in his vehicle,” Gallegos stated during a May 2018 deposition. “He talked so much trash on the way to the hospital.”

Gallegos testified that at the hospital the doctor looked at Barnes and asked if officers had actually tased him three or four times.

“And (Barnes) says, ‘Yeah, it will teach his ass to run from us,’” Gallegos said. “And (the doctor) said, ‘Officer what are you laughing at? This isn’t a laughing matter. This man should be dead.’”

Barnes tased the student at Española Valley High School three times, for a total of 15 seconds.

Lujan said he believed Barnes’ version of events, that he was only a witness to the force incident, but it is unclear if he has actually seen the depositions in the case, or the original Grants Police Department report.

“If we show (Barnes was dishonest) in black and white and it shows in there that he was a part of it, then we have a bigger problem then what we even started with,” Lujan said. “If it did, I will deal with that appropriately. Don’t lie to me, tell me the truth and I’ll have your back.”

Barnes did not list his time with the Grants Police Department in his application to the Sheriff’s Office. Instead, he listed the New Mexico National Guard where he was a recruiting and retention assistant; CCS Temp Services, where he was a heavy truck operator; and Mobile Mini, where he was a sales representative.

A letter of recommendation authored by Kevin Dobbs included in his application said Barnes was “let go” by the Grants Police Department while still on probationary status.

“I am not at liberty to discuss the details of this but it is my understanding that all issues have been remedied,” Dobbs wrote.

Another letter of recommendation came from a co-defendant in the lawsuit filed by Gallegos. Jason Frank, who supervised Barnes, wrote that he was “reliable,” and that it had been a pleasure working with him.

The other letters of recommendation included in Barnes’ application were from various individuals in the Grants area, but all were dated in 2014, before Gallegos filed his federal civil rights lawsuit.

Barnes remains on duty with the Sheriff’s Office, and Sanches said June 10 that a review of the Española Valley High School taser incident is not yet complete.

(4) comments


In fact, there are laws allowing for the removal of the Sheriff, and perhaps they need to be invoked, due to his many failures in this incident. at NMSA 10-4-1 covers removal of local officers. This might be useful.

Same Ol Same Ol

Could it be the sheriff doesn’t care because this is his 2nd term and he can’t run again, anyway? Certainly if Barnes was hired simply because he was certified and the dept was in such a bad need then yes, a negligent hiring accusation does seem to have some teeth. If the RASO keeps Barnes despite these recent events and shady job history revelations after all the bluster has died down then Barnes’ next victim (cuz you know there’ll be one) will have a basis to level an accusation against the County for negligent retention along with whatever else for whatever new and exciting way to violate the rights of a NM citizen Barnes can discover. If, as the newspapers have shown, Barnes doesn’t have any paper trail history of training specific to his job at the high school then the County could be liable for being in violation of a legal contract with the school district. One wonders what the school district will do about this flagrant flouting of a legally binding contract meant to protect all involved parties. Gotta somehow make up for the money loss they’re gonna incur when they settle out of court for this taser event, am I right? In a recent New Mexican article it’s mentioned that Barnes has been accused multiple times in multiple jurisdictions at multiple police jobs of harassment and stalking of those citizens he did not get along with or like while both on and off duty. Crikey! I hope he never finds out who I am and decides to camp outside my home in his police cruiser. But then again, he’d be a lot easier for responding NMSP officers to spot when they get called out.


the sad part is that the sheriff probably doesnt care as he routinely hires the bottom of the barrell. There such a thing in the New Mexico state statutes as negligent retention and negligent hiring

Same Ol Same Ol

Holy sheeps---, Batman! Wow! Well, now that the RG Sun (and the SF New Mexican) have brought to light situations and events related to Barnes’ LE time with other LE agencies that were otherwise apparently shoved under a rock, one might proffer that, until everything can be cleared up, Barnes’ time would be better spent on paid leave, or at the very least desk duty. Either is preferable/cheaper than if he should become embroiled in another incident while in the field awaiting the results of now much-needed, more thorough 2nd background investigation. I’m interpreting from all the presented information that Barnes was not entirely forthcoming in his original County application and interview (obfuscation at best, lying by omission at worst). If Barnes is found to have been untruthful, either by direct written or verbal statement, obfuscation or omission during his initial employment application process, he should be summarily terminated, with paperwork submitted to the NMLEA for an LEA 90-filing/review to investigate possible permanent LE license revocation: Read NMAC General Provision (…acts lacking good moral character…dishonesty or fraud). While the NMLEA is at it, they should review Barnes’ recent (mis)use of force at EVHS to discover if he is in violation of NMAC GP (commission of acts of violence or brutality which indicate abuse). Again, I don’t know, it’s just me and my humble opinion. Boy, I sure hope he’s saving his pennies for what’s surely to come.

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