Albuquerque police place cop accused of sleazy behavior on paid leave

Officer Frank Tillman
Officer Frank Tillman

UPDATE: The Albuquerque Police Department has placed Officer Frank Tillman on paid administrative leave. KRQE News 13’s Kim Holland has a full report coming up at 5:30.

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Adrienne Ontiveros was fighting with her boyfriend and called police. But hardly anyone could imagine how this call would end.

“Too bad I can’t give you a kiss and a hug.”

“It was really uncomfortable, I felt pressure,” Ontiveros said about her incident.

In December, Ontiveros said she called Albuquerque police after she and her boyfriend got into an argument.

Cell phone video from the boyfriend showed Ontiveros slap the phone out of his hand. She claims he grabbed her breast. Police officers interviewed the couple and decided to arrest Ontiveros.

But Ontiveros said the arresting officer, Frank Tillman, offered to help her.

“He was like I don’t have to tell you, you’re a smart, beautiful girl. If you want to come talk about this we can go have a drink,” she claimed the officer told her.

“What are you wearing?”

The 24-year-old Ontiveros was barely dressed, wearing only her boyfriend’s shirt and boxers. Ontiveros said she was treated differently because Officer Tillman knew she was an exotic dancer.

“He was flirting with me and I asked him if we were recording and he was like, no I turned it off. He turned off his lapel cam,” Ontiveros said.

When KRQE News 13 asked a records custodian why Tillman didn’t have video, the APD employee said Tillman said his battery died.

“That would be investigated thoroughly,” Albuquerque Police Spokeswoman Celina Espinoza said.

Ontiveros said Officer Tillman repeatedly offered to help her with her domestic violence charges she faced from the fight with her boyfriend.

“Right when I got in the car after he had handcuffed me and arrested me, he put his number in my phone by himself. He’s telling me he would pick me up from jail, just to call him,” she said.

Ontiveros said Tillman gave her preferential treatment and his personal cell phone number. He wrote it on the back of his APD business card. Ontiveros said in the back of officer Tillman’s squad car, she slipped out of her handcuffs and he didn’t object.

Hoping Officer Tillman would help her with her case, Ontiveros called him when she got out of jail.

“Do you want to dance for me?”

“He’s going to help me, he has my back,” she said.

But the texts didn’t stop there. In the next month, Ontiveros said Officer Tillman sent her 600 text messages.

“Almost every single day. He’ll text me good morning,” she said. “He calls me hon.”

He sent head shots of himself and provocative texts too.

“Did you take care of your need already. He’s talking about sex.”

Ontiveros read through hundreds of text messages with KRQE News 13.

“Did you take care of your need already. He’s talking about sex,” she said.

“Do you want to dance for me?” a text read.

“What are you wearing?” said another.

“Too bad I can’t give you a kiss and a hug.” Ontiveros said Tillman texted her.

This Albuquerque cop has been in trouble before. Police say in 2012 the married Tillman texted a pregnant 17-year-old girl he’d pulled over for a traffic stop. He told the girl “she’s beautiful,” “He wants to kiss her” and that being “prego is hot and a turn on.”

Internal Affairs and a Deputy Chief recommended he be fired, but instead then APD Police Chief Ray Schultz suspended him from the department for three weeks.

Now the 10-year veteran of the force is in trouble again. The city’s Civilian Police Oversight Agency, an independent group separate of APD, is currently conducting an investigation into the allegations. It just interviewed Antiveros. It plans to interview Tillman soon.

“We have 90 days to do the investigation,” said Edward Harness, the Executive Director of the Civilian Police Oversight Agency.

Once that investigation is done, Harness and and the Police Oversight Board will make a recommendation to APD about possible punishment. But in the end, Chief Gorden Eden will make the final decision about disciplinary action against Tillman.

“They concur with about 50% of our findings,” Harness said. “It is frustrating when the department doesn’t agree with our findings.”

In the meantime, APD put Tillman on paid administrative leave until the department wraps up its investigation.

“We won’t know what the evidence is in this case until that complete investigation is sent to us,” said Espinoza.

KRQE News 13 called and texted Tillman to ask him about his behavior. He never called back.

Ontiveros said she never set up a meeting with Tillman, although she said he showed up to her strip club looking for her but she wasn’t there.

But for two months, Ontiveros continued to text Tillman and even sent him head shots. KRQE News 13 asked why she would do this if she felt intimidated by Tillman.

“Because I thought he would help me with my case,” she said. “I was responding to him in a way that I would never let anybody else speak to me or manipulate me… he directly said, I even have a text message ‘I will help you out.'”

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