It’s been more than five years since any complaint has been filed about a Corrales police officer using excessive force. Police Chief Vic Mangiacapra told Corrales Comment September 10 that his officers have worn lapel cameras since July 2015; “all patrol personnel are required to wear and operate them in accordance with department policy.” That policy received scrutiny from the mayor and Village Council at the September 8 meeting when revisions were enacted, primarily regarding the length of time such video recording should be retained.
“The body-worn camera recordings are used for prosecutions, field and internal investigations, officer evaluation and training and providing accurate documentation of police-public contacts in general,” Mangiacapra explained. “The main revision from the former policy is the addition of the requirement to retain all body-worn camera recordings for a minimum 120-day period in order to comply with the mandates set forth in Senate Bill 8. Previously, we only retained recordings which were deemed to possess evidentiary value.”
He said the last excessive force complaint received by the Corrales Police Department concerned an incident which took place on June 23, 2015. The chief said the incident “involved no injury to any involved parties and the investigation resulted in a finding of ‘not sustained.’
“I don’t recall any instances during which a CPD member has been disciplined for the use of excessive force, nor was I able to locate any such records in our internal affairs files.” But the Police Department has been embroiled in a lawsuit filed by a former Corrales officer regarding a disciplinary action. (See Corrales Comment Vol.XXXIX No.10 August 8, 2020 “Ex-Corrales Cop Sues When He’s Investigated.”)
The mayor and council held a closed session at the end of the September 8 meeting to discuss the lawsuit. Former Corrales Officer Daniel Parsons sued the Village and former Village Clerk Fresquez over an alleged violation of a request for inspection of public records. His attorney, Tom Grover, contacted Corrales Comment by email July 22 implying that the newspaper was remiss in not reporting on the police officer’s complaint. “Silent from the June 6, 2020 article is any reference to the fact that Ms. Fresquez and the Village are being sued by a former Corrales police officer concerning a public records request violation. That’s odd given the circumstances.”
The attorney cited the lawsuit D-1329-CV-2019-01756, Parsons v Village of Corrales and Shannon Fresquez. Corrales Comment was not aware of that court action and explained that to attorney Grover, asking for a copy of his filing and an opportunity to interview his client. Grover replied August 3, forwarding a copy of his suit filed in the Thirteenth Judicial District Court.
In that email, the attorney added he would soon file a “whistleblower’s” suit on behalf of the former officer. “Daniel Parsons has a whistleblower suit that is probably about a month out from filing,” Grover wrote. That second lawsuit had not been received at Corrales Comment by press time for this issue. The attorney’s first lawsuit clarifies that Fresquez is named as defendant because she was the statutory custodian of the Village’s official documents and responsible for responding to requests for inspection of public records.
The court filing partially explains that Parsons wants to know what is in an investigator’s report ordered by the Village. A key clause in the suit reads: “A copy of the Robert Caswell Investigations (“RCI”) report concerning Village of Corrales employee Daniel Parsons, including, but not limited to: exhibits, summaries, synopsis, exhibits, audio and video recordings, table of contents and conclusions.”
Later in the suit, Grover noted that Parsons was apparently under investigation while he was “facing disciplinary action upon him by Village of Corrales Chief Mangiacapra.” Contacted by Corrales Comment, Mayor Roake said she could not comment on the matter. “It’s ongoing, so the Village can’t comment. The Village always strives to comply with Inspection of Public Records Act requests.”
In a Corrales police activity report September 1, officers here made 231 traffic stops during the previous month and responded to two incidents of shots fired. The report said police had responded to one attempted suicide and 37 welfare checks, as well as 28 reports of suspicious activity and one stolen vehicle. Among other responses were four neighbor disputes, three noise complaints, two vehicle accidents with injury, ten speeding or reckless driving, eight threats or harassment, 18 calls for public assistance and 13 public nuisance calls.