APD puts litterbug behind bars

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – MDC houses some of the worst of the worst criminals in New Mexico.

Friday night, it was also home to a litterbug.

It started late Friday morning when APD was called out to the McDonald’s at the intersection of Lomas and Broadway in downtown Albuquerque to look into an alleged trespassing.

According to a criminal complaint, the responding officer found Brandon Amburgey, 31, sitting on a stone wall near the sidewalk. The officer asked Amburgey to put out the lit cigarette he was holding so he could pat him down.

Amburgey flicked it into the middle of Broadway.

Based on that criminal complaint, that and that alone was enough to get Amburgey arrested on just one charge, a petty misdemeanor for littering. It’s unclear if the officer asked Amburgey to pick up the cigarette before he was hauled off to MDC.

As of late Friday, Amburgey was being held on a $250 cash or surety bond. That means he needs just $25 to bond out, but as of late Friday night he was still behind bars. He’s just one more person crammed into the already overcrowded county jail.

“When you hear something like this… the first thing you respond with is, really?!” said Bernalillo County Commissioner Wayne Johnson in a phone interview.

“When taxpayers are paying to house someone at MDC they should be individuals who are a threat to the community,” said Bernalillo County commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins.

But neither Hart Stebbins nor Johnson are questioning the officer’s choice.

“This case may have more to it than at first it [looks to],” Johnson said.

“There must have been some other factor that made police officers feel that that was the right thing to do,” Hart Stebbins said.

It could involve mental health issues with Amburgey.

According to Johnson, he’s been booked into MDC 16 times. A search of his online criminal record under both “Brandon Amburgey” and “Brandon Ambureey” found most cases against him have been dismissed after he was deemed incompetent to stand trial.

In a criminal complaint for a 2012 incident, Amburgey reportedly told police he was seeing demons and had “threatened to cut up people with chainsaws”.

Johnson and Hart Stebbins said both APD and MDC are on the front lines of a behavioral health crisis due to holes in available services.

News 13 called an APD spokesperson late Friday afternoon to try and get comment or clarification on what other factors may have been behind Amburgey’s arrest, but did not hear back.

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