Police accused of hassling elderly disabled woman

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – We all know there are certain places where you can’t pull over outside the airport, but an Albuquerque woman said police at the Sunport were way out of line with her 82-year-old disabled mother when she tried to get into a car at the wrong curb.

There is currently an investigation into what happened after the women said one officer in particular was harassing them.

Grace Schmitt returned to Albuquerque on Monday after visiting family in Florida for the first time in more than 20 years.

“My mom was like a teenager again all happy, and everything was great and we came back here and this happened,” Deborah Stone said.

Stone and her mother got to the Sunport around 5 p.m. Monday.

Stone got her luggage in her fiance’s car and then the couple tried to help Schmitt — luggage, wheelchair, oxygen tank and all — into her caregiver’s van. It was stopped in the road the shuttles use.

An aviation officer told them to move, but Stone says the way he did it was disrespectful and uncalled for.

“One of the officers had his hand on his hip by his gun and was yelling at my mother, telling her she needed to sit back down,” Stone said. “To me, it was abuse of an elderly disabled person. That’s the way I feel.”

Lapel video shows when a second officer gets to the scene, but there is no video of what happened when the first officer approached the van.

“The policy is that officers, when they have an interaction with the public, they do have the lapel video going. We will investigate as to why one of the officers did not,” said Dan Jiron, a Sunport spokesperson.

As for the officer’s behavior …

“The officer with the van basically was concerned for the safety of the individuals loading an individual in an active roadway,” Jiron said.

Stone’s response to that is, “Don’t get me wrong, I totally respect what they do in keeping that airport safe. I want to say that, but this is way out of line.

The driver of the van did obey officers and drove back around to pick up the elderly woman by the curb near baggage claim.

Still, Stone said she wants to make sure others aren’t mistreated like she says she and her mother were.

Jiron said APD is investigating how the aviation officers handled the situation.

Aviation Police are a separate city department from APD.

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