Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Barnes stopped and forced another driver to the ground in the median of U.S. Highway 285 in Hernandez July 8 after he said he saw the man drive dangerously. Barnes was off-duty at the time and in plain clothes.
Reports show that Barnes and another man on a motorcycle, Danny Archuleta, used a gun to force a driver, Roberto Morales, off the road into the median. Barnes then used a “double legged” take-down and held Morales on the ground until State Police arrived to arrest him.
“Barnes advised a male subject driving a silver car nearly ran him off the roadway,” State Police Patrolman Richard Candelaria wrote in his report. “Barnes advised due to the male subject’s reckless driving he and a second motorcyclist stopped him in the median.”
Candelaria wrote that after Morales allegedly almost ran Barnes off the road, Barnes and Archuleta stopped him in the median.
“Archuleta removed his firearm from the holster on his right hip and was going to attempt to shoot the tires of the silver vehicle if Mr. Morales did not stop,” Candelaria wrote.
Cadelaria wrote that once the car stopped, Barnes went up to Morales and used force, a “double legged” take down to keep him from running away.
Morales, a veteran and former Army military police officer, said he was scared during the incident and tried to tell Barnes that he was a veteran and had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Barnes allegedly told Morales that was not going to “work on him,” because he was also a veteran.
“Morales was clearly in a state of distress,” Candelaria wrote. “He was pacing, talking quickly, and said he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.”
Archuleta, the other motorcyclist, told Candelaria he had seen Morales involved in a hit-and-run accident near the Subway on North Paseo de Oñate in Española, and that he planned to shoot the tires from the car Morales was driving if he refused to stop.
He said he did not get involved in the incident until Morales allegedly almost hit Barnes on his motorcycle.
Morales was arrested at the scene for driving a vehicle without an ignition interlock device. The requirement was due to a previous DWI case and license restriction, but Candelaria found Morales was not intoxicated during the July 8 incident.
“At the conclusion of the (Standard Field Sobriety Test) Mr. Morales did not display signs of impairment,” Candelaria wrote.
State Police Public Information Officer Dusty Francisco said Aug. 8 the incident is still under investigation and the case will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s office.
“This incident is still under investigation and officers will be completing additional interview and are gathering more information,” Francisco said.
He said the incident had not been reported by State Police to the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office or to the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy.
A public records request concerning the incident sent to the Sheriff’s Office returned no results.
Sheriff’s Office Maj. Randy Sanches did not respond to multiple requests for comment concerning the incident or Barnes’ employment status.
Barnes has been the subject of an internal affairs investigation after a May incident at Española Valley High School where he used a taser on a 15-year-old special education student. The family of the student has filed a lawsuit against both the School and the Office alleging Barnes violated the student’s civil rights and used excessive force.
His application to the Academy for certification by waiver was denied May 30 after it was found he was dishonest on the application. He received a notice of investigation from the Academy June 16.
“The allegations involve committing acts which indicate a lack of good moral character, or which constitute dishonesty or fraud, and which adversely affects an officer’s ability to exercise the duties of a police officer,” the notice states.
Attorney General Hector Balderas announced an investigation into the incident in May after footage of the tasing was published.
“The Office of the Attorney General’s investigation of Jeremy Barnes is highly active, including review of his license to be a law enforcement officer,” Attorney General Spokesman Matt Baca said Monday. “We anticipate that this investigation will conclude soon.”