The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled for former New Mexico State Police Officer Elias Montoya on Dec. 27 who fired his gun three times at a minivan filled with five kids and a mother in 2013.
Montoya was accused of violating the rights of the African-American kids and mom, who fled a traffic stop near Taos, notes The New Mexican.
The New Mexico State Police fired Montoya who eventually accepted a settlement and was hired at the Taos County Sheriff’s Office.
The incident began when State Police Officer Tony DeTavis stopped Oriana Farrell for driving 71 miles per in a 55 mph zone.
DeTavis told Farrell that she could pay $126 within 30 days or seeing a judge in Taos within 30 days. But Farrell, who lived in Tennessee, was uncertain what to do.
DeTavis reportedly told Farrell to turn off the engine of her minivan. But when DeTavis walked back to his cruiser, Farrell drove away.
DeTavis stopped Farrell a second time, and tried to drag her from the minivan. One of Farrell’s children tried to stop DeTavis who ended up smashing the rear window as Farrell pulled away.
Montoya arrived and fired three shots at the minivan, missing it. Montoya claimed he was trying to hit the tires.
During the high speed pursuit, one of Farrell’s daughters called 911.
The incident ended when Farrell pulled into the parking lot of a hotel where she and her kids surrendered at gunpoint.
Farrell later said that she feared for the safety of her children.
Farrell eventually took a plea deal to charges of fleeing an officer and child abuse.
Farrell’s lawyer, Kathryn Hardy, said they plan to appeal the court’s ruling.
(Source: The New Mexican)