Local woman claims police harass her son

By TV Hagenah

A Tucumcari woman on Thursday told city commissioners her son is a victim of police harassment.

Elizabeth N. Garcia said police have been following her son, Jose Roberto, since he was found not guilty in municipal court for an alleged seatbelt violation.

She read from a letter written by her 16-year-old son.
“These officers follow me on unnecessary reasons. There can be cars drag racing and they pay no attention to them,” the letter stated. “In my mind and heart I have done nothing wrong for these officers to keep following me and stopping me every time they see me. I’m a normal teenager who wants to go for a ride, go for a Coke, but that I can’t even do any more due to the fact as soon as an officer sees my vehicle, there they are, just following me.”

In the letter Jose Garcia named three officers he felt had isolated him for special treatment.

“They always follow him and stop him,” Elizabeth Garcia told commissioners. “Why is it they don’t like him? We only allow our son to go out a couple of nights a week. Why are these officers following him everywhere he goes?”

Tucumcari Police Chief Dennis Townsend attended the meeting but declined to comment in the open forum.
Mayor Pro tem Tony Apodaca suggested Elizabeth Garcia contact an attorney.

In other business, commissioners:
• Supported a New Mexico Department of Health resolution to establish a needle exchange program. Commissioner Mary Mayfield said the program was a viable and proven alternative to sky-rocketing HIV infections.
• Discussed the Design Service Contract involving water and sewer improvements.
• Heard a presentation by Mesalands Community College President Dr. Phillip Barry on the possibility of the community college being the home of an educational television channel for the Tucumcari area.
• Tabled a request to use economic development tax funds for payment of property taxes at the ethanol plant until legal issues could be clarified.