A complaint filed April 1 by Priscilla Serrano against Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office Major Billy Merrifield was never investigated, according to documents obtained in response to an Aug. 23 Inspection of Public Records Act request with the Office.

Serrano’s complaint was prompted by Merrifield’s alleged continuous harassment of her. She said in an April 2 interview that Merrifield had conducted a traffic stop on her more than once for no reason.

She states in her complaint, “I noticed an unmarked unit turned on his lights and points at me. This is not the first time he has done this to me before. I just finally decided to ask why he doing that to me (sic).”

She said she called 911 in a panic.

“I was scared (unreadable) he pulled me over for no reason. Many units approached me and I was crying and scared,” she wrote in her complaint.

Sgt. Robert Vigil’s lapel footage of Merrifield’s April 1 stop is difficult to hear with radio traffic and vehicle background noise. Serrano is upset and crying and told Vigil it is the third time Merrifield had flashed his lights at her for no reason.

Vigil goes back and speaks with Merrifield, telling him Serrano is complaining Merrifield is harassing her. 

“Apparently you’ve pointed at her before,” Vigil said.

Merrifield explains he does that often and if he had in the past it was because she was speeding. He makes the same statement in his response to the complaint.

In the recording, Vigil walks back to Serrano’s vehicle and explains that to her. He tells her she has the option to go to the Sheriff’s Office and file a complaint. He also advises that if it happens again, don’t stop for the officer, but go straight to the Sheriff’s Office.

Documents associated to the alleged investigation were requested several times over the summer from the Office’s records custodian Capt. Lorenzo Aguilar. He referred the requests on Aug. 20 to Undersheriff Martin Trujillo. Trujillo waited the two weeks allowed by law before responding, allowing inspection Sept. 3.

Serrano said Sunday the Sheriff’s Office never contacted her. 

Serrano’s initial complaint, dated April 1 and Merrifield’s response, dated April 2 were all the documentation produced by the Office. Merrifield’s and Sgt. Robert Vigil’s lapel footage was also produced. Both showed almost the same footage from different angles.

Merrifield ends his account of the interaction stating he never had any interaction with the woman, nor ever conducted a traffic stop on her.

“I respectfully ask the written-filed complaint to be thoroughly investigated, so I can take the necessary actions(s) I need to for the alleged malicious accusations,” he wrote.

No investigative documents were produced and no findings were provided. Trujillo would not take a call Nov. 3 asking for the investigation itself, instead asking a deputy who answered the phone what the call was in regard to. When informed of the request for more information, the deputy took a message.

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