McKinley County Sheriff suspends deputy accused in off-duty brawl

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GALLUP, N.M. (KRQE) – A deputy has been suspended, accused of beating up a young man at a party, sending him to the hospital.

New Mexico State Police are now investigating, and more deputies could be in trouble for their part in all this.

A deputy’s house party in Gallup turned ugly Friday night, and fast. But the McKinley County Sheriff didn’t know anything about it until two days later.

“I can tell you that the Sheriff’s Office found out through a citizen complaint on Monday,” McKinley County Attorney Douglas Decker said Wednesday.

Some of the people at that party were off-duty deputies.

“He found out, the Sheriff, that there was an altercation that occurred on Friday evening,” Decker said.

That man was taken to the hospital.

“But because of his injuries, he had to be flown out to UNM-H in Albuquerque,” Decker said.

County Attorney Douglas Decker said he doesn’t know if the off-duty deputies ever called police that night, or how the man got to the hospital. However, he said the allegations are serious.

“Because of this and our policies in the county, the Sheriff has chosen to place one individual on administrative leave with pay,” Decker said.

State Police are now investigating what really happened that night and what caused the brawl. The county says off-duty or not, deputies have rules to follow.

“They are still deputies and still have the ability to act and do things while they’re off duty, or the responsibility to call on the people who are on duty,” Decker said.

The McKinley County Sheriff’s Office has nearly three dozen deputies. Decker said this hit the Sheriff hard.

“These are the types of things that keep sheriff’s and elected officials and staff of the county up at night, so I know this is weighing heavily on him,” Decker said.

Two more deputies were placed on paid leave late Wednesday evening. McKinley County officials said the victim was released from the hospital and is back home.

State Police are looking to see if any of the deputies should be charged.

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