Media Contact

Katie Hoeppner -- 505-266-5915 x 1013 or

May 30, 2019

ESPAÑOLA, NM - Newly released lapel footage from May 10 shows Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeremy Barnes tasing a 15-year-old special education student at Española Valley High School for allegedly failing to comply with a search. Peter Simonson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, issued the following statement in response:


“No one, especially a child with a known disability, should be tased for talking back to an officer. Electronic Control Weapons are a potentially lethal force option and when misused, as apparently happened in this case, can cause serious injury or death. They should never be used when the subject’s back is to the officer and the officer’s safety isn’t imminently threatened. This incident highlights the dangers posed by police presence in our schools. Overly aggressive school policing may not only result in physical harm, as it did in this instance, but it also fuels the school-to-prison pipeline, funneling children out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems.”