In traffic stop chaos, NM officer fires at van - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

In traffic stop chaos, NM officer fires at van

By RUSSELL CONTRERAS, Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Two New Mexico state police officers are under investigation and a mother and her 14-year-old son are facing charges after a routine traffic stop turned to chaos with the teen physically confronting one officer and another officer firing shots at a minivan carrying children. Details of the recent stop emerged when KRQE-TV obtained video from the dashboard camera of the police cruiser that pulled the family of six over for speeding near the northern New Mexico tourist town of Taos.

The footage taken Oct. 28 showed driver Oriana Farrell, 39, disobey the officer's orders, including driving off after being told to take her keys out of the vehicle.

The Memphis, Tenn., woman was pulled over again and the situation escalates as she pleads for lenience while refusing the officer's orders.

She eventually exits the vehicle, but tries to get back in the van as the officer tries to restrain her.

The TV station's edited video shows at least two of her five children get out of the vehicle to confront the officer in her defense.

Farrell ushered the smaller child back into the van as the 14-year-old struggled with the officer. The teen got back in the vehicle and shut the door after the officer appears to pull out his stun gun.

At that point, backup arrived as the initial officer bashed out the minivan's front passenger window with his nightstick and another officer shot at the vehicle as it drove off.

The mother and teenage son were arrested at a hotel after a brief chase. She has since been released and faces charges of child abuse, fleeing and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia for a pair of marijuana pipes found in the van. Ferrell was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond.

It's unclear whether the 14-year-old is in custody. He faces charges of battery of an officer. His name has not been released.

Farrell's attorney Alan Maestas did not immediately return a phone call to The Associated Press. Maestas, however, suggested to a judge last week that Ferrell was acting out of fear for the safety of her children when she drove away from officers.

In a statement, New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said his department will conduct a "full and thorough review" of the shooting and traffic stop. "I have, of course, reviewed the video and do have concerns relating to the conduct of the officer who discharged his firearm," Kassetas said. "If the investigation determines that the officer improperly discharged his firearm in this case, we will take swift action because improperly using a firearm isn't tolerated by the state police."

The officers have not been identified.

On the video the initial officer could be heard telling Farrell she had been driving 71 mph in a 55 mph zone.

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Follow Russell Contreras at http://twitter.com/russcontreras .

 

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