Bernalillo County pays out after deputies force family from car


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Bernalillo County will pay a pretty penny for a sheriff’s department blunder–a blunder that had deputies pointing their guns at an elementary school principal and his family.

The county will pay $300,000 to the family of Stephen Maresca. He was the principal of Arroyo Del Oso Elementary back in 2013.

He was coming back from a hiking trip in the Sandias with his wife and three kids when a deputy ran the plate but mixed up the numbers, causing the car to be identified as stolen. The family claims deputies, with their guns drawn, then forced the family, including a 9-year-old girl, out of their truck and to the ground. The deputies refused to double-check their work. More than an hour later a sergeant realized the error and apologized for what happened.

Both deputies behind this huge mistake are still on the force. The sheriff’s department won’t say if they were disciplined.

Maresca died of a heart attack last year. 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.

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