NMSP officer arrested after assaulting repo man

LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE) -A New Mexico State Police officer was arrested Thursday after allegedly assaulting a repo tow-truck driver. Los Lunas Police say around 3 p.m. they responded to a call that the driver and a man where in some sort of conflict after an attempted repossession.

Inside the Story

The repo man tells News 13 he had no idea Vernier was a police officer but, says he was surprised and scared at Vernier’s behavior.

When police arrived on scene, they say State Police Officer Charles Vernier was choking the driver and they ordered him to stop. According to the news release, after Vernier released the man he attempted to run from officers.

Charles Vernier Mugshot
Charles Vernier Mugshot

In body cam video from LLPD, you see a large crowd gathered around watching the 6’5″ Vernier holding the tow truck driver. Vernier won’t let the driver go until an officer pulls out his Taser. Vernier repeatedly tells police they need to handcuff the driver for assaulting him.

Police say Vernier refused to turn around and comply.

“I’m not being handcuffed today,” Vernier says in the video.

Vernier runs a short distance before falling in the video.

It was only after his arrest that police found out Vernier is a cop.

“No one is above or below the law,” LLPD Lt. Carl Padilla told reporters Friday.

During an interview, Vernier told officers he was restraining the tow truck driver until police arrived. Vernier also said that he wasn’t 30 days late on his car payment, so he told the driver he couldn’t take his SUV.

Vernier is now charged with aggravated battery and interference with a police officer. He bonded out of jail Friday afternoon.

NMSP says Vernier has been with the department for about two years, and was on administrative leave at the time of the incident.

Sources tell News 13 Vernier was already being investigated by New Mexico State Police to determine if he was mentally competent to be an officer.

NMSP Chief Pete Kassetas issued a brief statement on Vernier.

“An internal inquiry will be launched into this new incident immediately. As Chief I take my officer’s conduct on and off duty seriously and I will not tolerate this type of behavior,” Kassetas wrote.

KRQE.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s