SANTA FE (KRQE) – A well known Santa Fe artist, cleaning up after his dog, ends up with police pulling a gun on him.
Police said it turned out to be a big misunderstanding over what Mateo Romero’s precious pooch left behind. Still, the artist said it was a terrifying ordeal.
“I was trying to explain myself. The officer pointed an assault rifle at my legs and gave me verbal instructions to get down on the ground. I was terrified,” Romero said.
Police said it all started when a woman frantically called 911 from a home on Old Santa Fe Trail Monday around noon.
The homeowner said she saw a man in her front yard. His car was parked in her driveway.
According to a police report, when the first officer arrived on scene he drew his rifle and pointed it towards the man who turned out to be Native American Artist Mateo Romero.
Romero claims his dog jumped out of the car near the woman’s home then ran into her yard to relieve itself.
He said he was just trying to clean up the dog poop.
That’s when the woman boxed him in with her car and called police.
The woman told police her home had been broken into before and she was just trying to be cautious.
However, Romero said she created a very dangerous situation and questions why the officer pulled a weapon so quickly. Romero said he was ordered into the back of a cop car. After police questioned Romero they let him go.
The gun the officer was holding was a rifle.
“That is his primary duty weapon, it would have been standard procedure to pull that out on a felony in progress type call,” Santa Fe Police Spokesperson Celina Espinoza said. “The officer has no idea what situation he’s walking into.”
Romero said while he respects SFPD he believes the protocol is wrong. He’s worried an innocent person is going to get hurt if that’s how officers are bring trained.
Romero’s paintings have been displayed throughout the U.S.