Lawsuit leads to city payout for UNM football player

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A UNM Lobo quarterback is getting a nice payout for his troubles with the Albuquerque Police Department. Football player David Vega sued APD in a false arrest case, saying the whole ordeal was humiliating, and cost him a lot of playing time.

The case involved two officers going into a home without a warrant. Not only did the case cost the city money, it may have also cost a cop his job.

A year-and-a-half after Vega was arrested for underage drinking and concealing his identity because he wouldn’t give his name, Vega’s lawsuit against APD and the city has led to a hefty payout. KRQE News 13 has learned it’s $45,000.

“He’s a young kid who just wants to play football,” said Diego Esquibel, Vega’s Attorney.

Vega’s attorney said the case against his client should have never even happened.

Lapel cam from former APD officer, Yoki Maurx, shows police going into Vega’s home without a warrant after police said a stolen iPhone’s GPS led them there.

“I think that guy may have alcohol poisoning, I’m serious,” Maurx is heard saying on a lapel recording. Vega’s attorney claims the officers laughed about that after seeing vomit outside the house, and used it as an emergency excuse to go inside.

“But if you watch the lapel camera, there’s no, there’s nothing that’s done to show that they actually care about the health,” said Esquibel.

The lawsuit claims after the officers’ illegal entry, officer Maurx pressured everyone in the house but Vega, who refused, to sign “after-the-fact” consent forms allowing them to search the home.

Maurx is heard on a lapel recording boasting about it.

“Permission to search, that’s the way we do it in the southeast,” the officer’s voice is heard saying on lapel recording.

Vega, who was a star quarterback at Goddard High and NMMI Junior College in Roswell, was kicked off the UNM football team for the 2012 season after his arrest.

Vega’s charges were thrown out, and the coach reinstated him last year. Vega’s attorneys said Maurx was fired from APD, although the city would only confirm he no longer works there, and wouldn’t say why.

Maurx was convicted of contempt of court a few years ago for lying under oath in a DWI case.

Vega’s arrest didn’t just affect him; it had a big impact on the Lobo team in 2012. Both quarterbacks ahead of him were hurt during that season and Vega was badly needed, but he had been kicked off the team.

He’ll be a senior this fall, competing with several quarterbacks for playing time.

Vega’s attorney said he recently learned there was more lapel video from the night of Vega’s false arrest that was destroyed before he was able to view it, or use it in his client’s criminal case.

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