Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Officer on Leave After Attack

By T.J. Wilham, Journal Staff Writer

An Albuquerque police officer who was captured on video attacking a KOB-TV news photographer has been placed on leave.
Officer Daniel Guzman, who had been working with another officer since the May 29 incident, is to appear at a disciplinary hearing next week. Afterward, Police Chief Ray Schultz will decide what disciplinary action, if any, should be taken against the officer.
Veteran KOB photographer Rick Foley was covering a police standoff near Copper and Charleston NE when Guzman, a rookie, told Foley to move to a different location, according to a police report. Foley was some distance from the police cars blocking the street and outside an area that had been blocked by officers.
Shortly after Guzman told Foley to move, the two argued, and Foley asked Guzman for his name and badge number.
A video captured by Foley's camera shows the officer lunging at him. Foley was handcuffed, placed in the back of a police car and cited for refusing to obey an officer.
Foley has a court appearance today in Metropolitan Court. In a statement released through his attorney, Foley on Monday called for Guzman to seek dismissal of the charges.
“In my 27 years covering the news, I have never interfered in officers performing their difficult jobs, nor would I,” the statement said. “My father was a career police officer, and I have been brought up with the greatest respect for the job they do. Yet one officer found time to grab me on a public street, handcuff me, place me in a police car and prevent me from doing mine.
“I hope the officer will do the correct thing and dismiss this criminal case.”
Shortly after the incident, Schultz asked the city's independent review officer to conduct the investigation.
Schultz said he made the decision to place Guzman on leave after reading the independent review officer's report, which he received Friday.
He declined to comment further.
“There is very little I can say until the disciplinary hearing is conducted,” Schultz said. “I can say the reason he is on leave is related to the incident.”
Schultz has acknowledged that “mistakes” were made during the incident, and he has drafted a new policy on how to deal with onlookers.
He has met with members of the local news media to discuss the new policy.

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