APD investigates if cops failed young boy

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Six months before a 9-year-old boy was allegedly kicked to death by his mother, two officers responded to his home after a disturbing 911 call but did not file a police report. Now, video from the officers’ lapel cameras is being used in an internal affairs investigation to see if the officers dropped the ball.

This is a portion of the 911 call made in June 2012: “I’ve never hated nobody like you in my life ever.  You know that Omaree? I hate you like I’ve never hated anybody in my whole life and I’ve been on this earth for 41 Years.”

Police said the call came from the home of Omaree Varela. The boy would die 6 months later allegedly by his mother, Synthia Varela-Casaus.

The 911 call went on for 20-minutes before officers arrived at the home. On Wednesday, KRQE News 13 got the lapel camera video from the officers who responded.

“The 911 lady sent me a call – said if I want to hear the call how bad it was,” one officer said.

The dispatcher told the officers that the adults in the 911 recording were “severely verbally abusive” to a child who was possibly named Omaree.

When officers got to the door, there were three kids inside the home, including Omaree. The lapel cam video shows him standing behind his parents for the majority of the visit.

Officers asked the kids once if they were OK. But that question was asked in front of the parents. The children nodded their heads yes. Then the officer asked what all the yelling was about on the 911 call.

Varela-Casaus didn’t mention Omaree. Instead, she said she was upset with her daughter.

“Nothing, we went to um, uh, Wendy’s and the only thing that I yelled was when she stood up out of her booster seat to get a Coke. She dropped a Coke all over me,” Varela-Casaus said.

Omaree’s step-dad, Steve Casaus, then told officers he was just upset with his wife for letting them eat food and drink beverages in the vehicles.

“They said that the call sounded pretty violent?,” one officer said. “Were you yelling pretty good?”

“I was yelling at her, yeah,” Steve Casaus said.

Even though the officers were told about the verbal abuse, they never asked Omaree what happened. Neither one even asked who Omaree was.

According to the video, the officers were there for about 15 minutes.

“I don’t know what they heard from over there, but it’s all recorded. I haven’t heard the recording yet; I can actually hear the recording of it and they’re saying it sounded pretty violent,” one officer said. “Obviously it seems like the kids are fine.”

“Yeah, they’re fine,” Varela-Casaus said.

Both officers are on paid leave until an investigation into how they handled the situation is complete.

APD Chief Allen Banks said he wants to know why they left without filing a police report. Another question he wants an answer for is why they did not question Omaree. Banks says the officers should have taken him aside and asked what was going on.

Before the officers left, one of them told the parents they sounded like good people but needed to be careful with what they say. He then told them he was going to overlook the incident.

Varela-Casaus is facing charges for her son’s death.

Banks said they’re investigating Omaree’s step-dad’s involvement, too.

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