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State Police Officer Appeals His Termination


January 21, 2014
For Immediate ReleaseContact: Antonia Roybal-Mack
Roybal-Mack & Cordova, P.C.
(505) 288-3500

Taos, New Mexico Former New Mexico State Police Officer, Elias Montoya, was featured on ABC’S Good Morning America and Nightline on Friday January 17, 2014. Former Officer Montoya was involved in an incident near Taos that resulted in his termination with the state police in December.

The programs gave Elias his first opportunity to present his side of the incident and to detail the many unreported elements of what happened that day in October last year. The Good Morning America reporter discussed the incident with Elias while reviewing the dash-cam video displayed the van leaving the scene and Elias shooting at the left rear tire. Elias points out that this was the second time the driver had left the scene of police traffic stop. Elias explained that as he arrived the driver was actively resisting the efforts of two other state police officers to control her and secure the van.

In assistance to the other two officers, Elias positioned himself on the driver’s side-rear of the car opposite the two officers on the passenger’s side of the van. The windows of the van were tinted and Elias was not able to see into the van or who was inside of it except that he could see there were several persons seated in it. While the officers were trying to breach the van’s door, Elias heard someone call out “gun” at which point the van started moving away from the scene. In an effort to disable the van, Elias withdrew his gun, positioned himself in a crouched posture and fired at the left rear tire. The rounds missed the tire and did not strike the van.

From the time Elias arrived at the scene and the time he shot at the tire, 10 seconds had elapsed. Elias’s objective was to keep the van at the scene to prevent a high speed chase through a congested municipality.

The other officers and Elias pursued the van four miles to Taos through populated areas at speed approaching 100mph. When the driver parked the van at a motel Elias and other officers arrested the mother, her son, and took her children to the Taos district police station.

The incident occurred on October 28 and Elias was terminated in December. The action was taken by the NMSP and announced by the Governor in response to the dash cam video being released and covered by the national media.

Elias appeals his termination and awaits a hearing on March 27, 2014.