Cop in van shooting case will not get job back

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) –  New Mexico State Police officer fired after shooting at a minivan full of children near Taos has reached a deal with the state.

KRQE News 13 has learned that Elias Montoya will not be getting his job back.

“Elias Montoya has not come back to the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, and there are no plans for him to do so,” Tim Korte, a spokesman for the General Services Department said. “By law, we are prohibited from discussing details of the settlement.”

His Albuquerque-based lawyer, Antonia Roybal-Mack, confirmed that her client and the Department of Public Safety, which oversees the New Mexico State Police, had come to an agreement. However, as part of the settlement, she said, she couldn’t comment any further.

State Police issued a statement, saying only “the case was resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties.”

The 12-year veteran was fired in December after an internal investigation into his use of force during the October 28, 2013 shooting that attracted national attention. Video footage showed Montoya firing into a van with five children inside during a chaotic traffic stop.

The incident sparked calls by some for more accountability by law enforcement; many others in Taos rallied behind Montoya.

Some of Montoya’s original supporters told News 13 over the phone on Friday they still stand behind Montoya, and believe he should never have been fired.

Patrick Trujillo of Taos was one of the protestors who called for change within DPS and for more accountability. Trujillo said Friday he’s still deeply concerned.

“It’s the belief of a lot of people and even Officer Montoya himself, that shooting at the tires of a fleeing felony suspect is protocol or procedure,” Trujillo said. “We wanted to raise awareness about that and see changes.”

The driver of the minivan, Oriana Farrell, of Memphis, Tenn., is facing charges of aggravated fleeing, child abuse and possession of narcotic paraphernalia stemming from the traffic stop and high-speed chase. She is free on a $50,000 cash bond.

Greg Williams, president-elect for the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, criticized the department for withholding the settlement conditions from the public.

“If the officer is receiving money from the state, the public has a right to know how much,” Williams said.


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