By Joseph Kolb
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (Reuters) - A former New Mexico sheriff was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a federal court on Wednesday after he was found guilty of violating a motorist's civil rights last year when he dragged the man from his car and threatened him with a gun.Tommy Rodella, 53, was sheriff of Rio Arriba County but was in plainclothes and brandishing a pistol when he and his son confronted the motorist in March 2014. When the victim asked to see some identification, prosecutors said, Rodella slammed his sheriff's badge into the man's face.
Then we have this hilarious little comment from the US Attorney;Rodella's controversial career spanned almost three decades. The Albuquerque Journal said that as a state police officer in the 1980s he was disciplined for marijuana use, physical abuse and improper use of a weapon. In 1993 he allegedly shot at a deer decoy set up by state game wardens to catch poachers.In 2008 the New Mexico Supreme Court fired him from his post as a magistrate court judge in Rio Arriba County for "willful misconduct" after he involved himself in a friend's drunken driving case, and also promised to rule in favor of campaign supporters if they faced any litigation in his court.
"When he attacked a defenseless innocent civilian, Sheriff Rodella chose to abuse his power rather than uphold his oath to protect the public," Damon Martinez, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico, said in a statement.
He said the Justice Department will "vigorously" prosecute any officer who crosses the line, because they discredit their colleagues and weaken public trust in law enforcement.
I'm thinking maybe this guy has never heard of a place called Albuquerque?