When a New Mexico state police officer fired shots at a minivan that was fleeing the scene of an arrest, TTAC’s readers were sharply divided on the merits of his actions. Now, officer Elias Montoya has been terminated from his job as a highway patrolman — and many New Mexico residents are rising to his defense.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that Officer Montoya was terminated on Friday.
According to Montoya’s report of the incident, he fired at the van’s left rear tire in an effort to immobilize the vehicle “so as not to put any other human life in jeopardy.”
“My decision in shooting at the tire and not at the driver was because of all the people in the vehicle. … I may have exaggerated in keeping the muzzle of my weapon down so no innocent person would get hit with the shots I fired,” he wrote.
The video of the incident received national media attention, including on CNN and ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Media legal analysts weighed in, criticizing the actions of Montoya.
But in-state, he is receiving a lot of support. A Facebook page has been created on his behalf, and postings praising the officer and criticizing Farrell, 39, a writer, rapper and home-school advocate, for causing problems during the traffic stop were piling up Friday night. The page had almost 2,200 “likes.”
…According to a profile from a 2010 Taos News article, Montoya is a father who once mentored boys in an organization called Taos Men Engaged in Non-violence. “My dad was a minister and things were expected of you. He taught me how to be responsible,” Montoya said of his late father.
The Facebook page dedicated to supporting Officer Montoya notes that hundreds of people turned out to march in support of his reinstatement this past weekend. Given the weather in the ABQ, which was surprisingly Midwest-winter-ish, that’s not a trivial thing.
This case is proving to be a bit of a nightmare for the large segment of Americans who have been trained by the major media and universities to think exclusively in terms of identity politics. Ms. Farrell is African-American, Officer Montoya is Hispanic, and he so far has been spared the “white Hispanic” sobriquet. However, a local Hispanic solidarity group demonstrated against his actions last week. Meanwhile, the Internet has dug up the fact that Ms. Farrell had an arrest for DUI and reckless driving in 2008.
Officer Montoya has yet to be charged with any crime, but surely this is a situation where the district attorney has his or her finger in the air to see which way the political wind is blowing. We’ll keep you posted as updates occur.