“I was in fear for my life.”
Those are the words of our client Dametrio Maldonado, a 57-year-old Native American man from Acoma Pueblo, who, after stopping to help a crashed motorist last May, was brutalized by a New Mexico State Police officer.
When Dametrio and his daughter drove past the car wreck, he didn’t think twice about pulling over to help. It was an act of kindness that police are usually quick to praise and express gratitude for. But when officer Loberg arrived at the scene, instead of thanking Dametrio, he shouted at him to move his car from the shoulder. Dametrio smiled in polite acknowledgement and drove his car further down the road. Taking the smile as an insult, Loberg followed Dametrio, removed him from his vehicle, and wrenched his arms behind his back so forcefully that Dametrio had to undergo physical therapy for months. Loberg then cited Dametrio for illegal parking.
On Tuesday, Dametrio and the ACLU of New Mexico sued because dangerous and discriminatory policing have no place in our state.