1. To behave or run around in a wild, unruly, out-of-control manner; to be crazy or chaotic.
It seems after a few months of deputies gone wild, Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan has run amok. His alleged behavior of stopping a citizen for flying the Mexican flag (incorrectly, according to Lujan) baffles the rational mind.
Once he makes the illegal traffic stop on Chama restaurant owner Joshua Talamante, for displaying the Mexican flag on his truck, Lujan cranks it up a notch by yelling profanities at Talamante and tells him he could get shot for displaying the Mexican flag. He then instructs Talamante in a befuddling and illogical exercise of moving the Mexican flag from one door to the other, thereby making it “legal.”
It was legal before Lujan pulled him over. That’s the stuff of basic first amendment.
However, that’s not the end of it. The next day “coincidentally,” one of Lujan’s sons is following Talamante when the Mexican flag falls off his door. Lujan’s son first drives over the flag, then pulls over and points to his veteran’s license plate. Apparently he is in the military, or was. He takes a turn cursing at Talamante.
Later that day while Talamante is at his home regular Lujan “fixer” Sheriff’s Deputy Jerry Albo arrives and tells Talamante that Lujan sent him to confiscate his Mexican flag. To his credit, Albo allegedly apologized for his boss’s abhorrent behavior.
But it continued. Apparently Lujan figured out how badly he erred and went to Talamante’s house to return his flag. A humble apology may have ended the bizarre situation but that’s not our sheriff. Lujan admonished Talamante for being rude to one of his "officers," his son. None of Lujan’s sons are law enforcement officers of any kind.
No one is investigating the incident. If State Police were to properly investigate the incident probably a charge of impersonating an officer could get stuck to the “veteran” in the story. The Law Enforcement Academy should receive a disciplinary LEA 90 on Lujan but who would file such a thing?
Talamante has rightfully filed a tort claim against Lujan and Rio Arriba County. You’ve got to feel bad for County Attorney Adan Trujillo and the managers in the County trying to juggle time and money to defend and eventually pay the many tort claims and/or lawsuits against Lujan. Lujan is not an employee the County can fire. We’re stuck with him to the end of his term, Dec. 31, 2020.
If you haven’t picked up on the insanely similar aspects of Lujan’s encounter, to the incident that put Tommy Rodella in federal prison for 10 years, allow us to help. The only difference was Rodella physically assaulted his victim, Lujan assaulted his victim with words and intimidation as well as that of a non-law enforcement official claiming to be one and a deputy.
Unfortunately, there is little the public can do regarding Lujan’s strange behavior. Because he’s elected, he’s protected. The only real answer is a recall. While the claims against him warrant a recall, one would be hard-pressed to collect the signatures and execute the proper documents through District Court. We’re going to have to ride this out. We quote our president’s favorite press conference phrase, “We’ll have to wait and see what happens.”