Friday, October 27, 2006

Lawsuit Claims APD Officers Assaulted Man

Friday, October 27, 2006
Associated Press

A federal lawsuit filed against three police officers alleges they sexually assaulted a man while serving a search warrant that involved a former tenant at the man's apartment.
The lawsuit, filed Monday on behalf of 36-year-old Leo Michael Baca, claims officers locked Baca in a bedroom in August 2005, sexually assaulted him and threatened to cut off his testicles if he refused to give information about a previous tenant of the apartment.
The lawsuit names as defendants the city of Albuquerque, Officer Lucas Townsend and two officers Baca said he couldn't identify.
Police spokesman John Walsh declined to comment on the lawsuit.
City Attorney Bob White said his office is reviewing the lawsuit. He had no further comment.
An internal investigation into Baca's allegations cleared the officers, according to a police report.
The investigation included interviews with 13 police officers and an acquaintance of Baca's who were present during the search. All said they did not witness an assault against Baca and said Baca was in the apartment's living room throughout the search.
Investigators were unable to obtain information from audio recorders worn by six officers involved during the search because all six had turned them off after entering the apartment, according to the report.
Police had obtained a warrant to search the apartment in connection with a drug trafficking investigation.

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