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Friskiness led to Discipline

Friskiness led to Discipline

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

Albuquerque police shoulder patchThree 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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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.
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4 Comments

  • GovEthics
    December 23, 2015, 6:09 am

    As is the case with any dysfunction, it’s important to be open and transparent. Once the truth is out, then the obvious next step is to correct it. In order to address the depth of the dysfunction in Albuquerque and New Mexico, releasing the records is the first step in exposing the truth about what goes on here. Then it will be up to citizens and ethical government leaders to correct it.

    It also sends a message to public servants. The next time they consider "slapping" games or other immature behavior they will think twice, because it may be exposed. They will have to live with the fact that everywhere they go people will remember their actions when they see them.

    When a governor displays such deplorable behavior and deceives for something as insignificant as bottle throwing, how much they drank or bullying police, it damages the reputation of the entire state and sets an unacceptable tone from the top. It strikes at the core value of trust. How can she be trusted to tell the truth on matters that affect the citizens?

    And now the emperors are aware that they have no clothes. No more secrets!

    I only hope that the children who have been exposed to this will realize that this is inappropriate behavior and not interpret it as normal or acceptable.

    REPLY
  • GovEthics
    December 23, 2015, 6:09 am

    As is the case with any dysfunction, it’s important to be open and transparent. Once the truth is out, then the obvious next step is to correct it. In order to address the depth of the dysfunction in Albuquerque and New Mexico, releasing the records is the first step in exposing the truth about what goes on here. Then it will be up to citizens and ethical government leaders to correct it.

    It also sends a message to public servants. The next time they consider "slapping" games or other immature behavior they will think twice, because it may be exposed. They will have to live with the fact that everywhere they go people will remember their actions when they see them.

    When a governor displays such deplorable behavior and deceives for something as insignificant as bottle throwing, how much they drank or bullying police, it damages the reputation of the entire state and sets an unacceptable tone from the top. It strikes at the core value of trust. How can she be trusted to tell the truth on matters that affect the citizens?

    And now the emperors are aware that they have no clothes. No more secrets!

    I only hope that the children who have been exposed to this will realize that this is inappropriate behavior and not interpret it as normal or acceptable.

    REPLY
  • NMCopWatcher
    December 24, 2015, 8:37 am

    This is another fine example of the double standard that exists at APD and bolsters the need for the top brass to resign.

    Lets take a ‘snapshot ‘ look at the promotion record…

    Officer Tim Gonterman – burned a homeless man’s ear off with a Taser costing the taxpayers $300,000.00 – promoted to the rank of Major.

    Officer William Roseman – photographed a female employees breasts and shared the photo with other city employees – promoted to the rank of Deputy Chief.

    Officer Eric Garcia – caught committing lewd acts while on duty in a stairwell of a city building with another city employee – promoted to the rank of Deputy Chief.

    Retired officer Robert Huntsman – in charge of APD SWAT operations during the entire time the DOJ found unconstitutional use of force – rehired and promoted to the rank of Deputy Chief of Operations.

    Officer Jessica Tyler – facing revocation of her law enforcement certification for serous violations during her time as a BernCo Sheriff Deputy Chief (she resigned) – hired and promoted to the rank of Major in charge of the APD training academy.

    REPLY
    • EyeKnow@NMCopWatcher
      September 24, 2016, 2:15 pm

      Sgt Shawn Casaus having a 12 Sexual Affair with another married APD Police Detective, Carla Perez. Is it a coincidence both retired at the same time. And the husband of Carla Perez know this is still going on? hmmmmmm

      REPLY
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Johnny Vizcaino is an editorial intern at ABQ Free Press Weekly.

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