One of the officers admitted to having sex on the job, an infraction that in some states is grounds for revocation of an officer's law enforcement license
BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI AND CHARLES ARASIM
Three Albuquerque police offices who passed the recent sergeant’s test but have yet to be promoted have lengthy disciplinary histories, according to documents released by the Albuquerque Police Department. But an attorney for one of the officers said there is nothing in his client’s disciplinary background that prevents him from becoming a sergeant under APD’s rules.
The disciplinary histories of the three officers include minor and major car crashes, abusing take-home car privileges, missing court dates and improper use of force. But one officer, Det. Shawn Casaus, played a bizarre game of slapping his fellow officers’ testicles and penises, according to the documents. Casaus also admitted to having sex on the job, an infraction that in some states is grounds for revocation of an officer’s law enforcement license.
“Detective Casaus also admitted to participating in an on-going game where he and several officers would slap the genitalia of other officers,” said an Aug. 31, 2011 letter from then-police chief Ray Schultz to the director of the New Mexico Law Enforcement Training Academy. “Casaus also admitted to having sex while on duty several times. Detective Shawn Casaus was given an 80-hour suspension; 40 hours served and 40 hours held in abeyance or 6 months. In addition, Casaus was transferred out fo the Criminal Nuisance Abatement Unit.”
Another officer, Jude Lujan, racked up 18 written and verbal reprimands and other sustained charges since 2001, according to the records that were released to Albuquerque freelance journalist Charles Arasim. Lujan was disciplined for infractions that included missing court dates, crashing his squad car into a pole and conduct unbecoming of an officer.
A third officer, Andrew Jaramillo, also had written and verbal reprimands, including an unimposed eight-hour suspension, for various infractions of APD policy.
Lujan has sued APD over its failure to promote him and that the mayor unfairly meddled in his case. His attorney said Tuesday that APD’s release of the records was improper and an attempt to smear Lujan and the other officers. “This is a purely targeted, arbitrary action that is completely prejudicial to these sergeant candidates,” Lujan’s attorney, Tom Grover, told ABQ Free Press. “To release the disciplinary records is an absolute breach of the privacy rights that public employees have.”
Grover said that the New Mexico Supreme Court has long held that disciplinary records of public employees are not subject to release under the state’s Inspection of Public Records Act. By releasing them, APD has opened the door for similar type of requests for all public employees from members of the news media and public, Grover said.
“I encourage every single member of the media to get the full disciplinary records of every APD officer. So let’s get [APD Chief Gorden] Eden’s [and other members of the command staff] and we’ll really see what is going on,” Grover said.
Grover also said there was noting in Lujan’s disciplinary background that prevents him from being promoted to sergeant. If there had been, he would not have been allowed to take the sergeant’s test because APD officials screen candidates and weed out those who are disqualified per department rules.
Grover said in an earlier interview that he believed Lujan was not promoted because he supported Pete Dinelli in 2013 in his mayoral election battle with Mayor Richard Berry. Grover said the order to keep Lujan from becoming a sergeant came from Berry’s office.
On Dec. 14, Bernalillo County District Court Judge Denise Barela-Shepherd declined to issue a restraining order against APD in Lujan’s case. Grover sought to enjoin APD from taking any actions which prevented Lujan from being promoted to sergeant. Grover said Barela-Shepherd refused to issue the restraining order because APD said Lujan was still on the promotions list.
Charles Arasim is a freelance journalist. Dennis Domrzalski is an associate editor at ABQ Free Press.
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