Officer who kneed UNM student in groin gets plea deal

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Former Albuquerque Police officer Pablo Padilla will get unsupervised probation and community service for kneeing a University of New Mexico law student in the groin two years ago after striking a plea deal Tuesday.

Padilla had been facing felony aggravated battery and tampering with evidence charges stemming from a traffic stop that turned violent in April 2014. The former officer was facing up to four and a half years in prison. Under the plea deal, Padilla pleaded no contest to misdemeanor aggravated battery instead, avoiding any time behind bars.

It’s a decision special prosecutor Henry Valdez says the victim agreed with.

“The victim also really wishes to get on with his life,” Valdez said. “And he certainly understands how his conduct contributed to the whole situation.”

“This is in the best interest of justice, in the best interest of everyone involved in this case,” said Padilla’s attorney Erlinda Johnson. “This was an unfortunate tragedy your honor.”

Padilla pulled over Jeremy Martin on suspicion of DWI. A combative Martin refused to sit when told and during a confrontation, Padilla kneed him in the groin. Padilla maintains he was aiming for a knee strike to the inner thigh and missed his target. Padilla was seen on lapel video deleting cell phone footage from Martin’s passenger after the incident.

Martin lost a testicle but won a $245,000 settlement from the city.

Padilla resigned from APD about eight months after charges were filed in the case.

“That night I never intended to hurt Mr. Martin,” Padilla said. “I’m just sorry for what happened.”

Padilla was sentenced to 25 hours community service and a year of unsupervised probation. He was given a conditional discharge, meaning he will be able to apply to get his law enforcement certification back in a couple of years.

 

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