A Colorado deputy was put on administrative leave without pay after video emerged of him getting into a fistfight with a teen over an alleged road-rage incident.
A law firm representing the teen released the video Tuesday showing Las Animas County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Henry Trujillo and a 16-year-old motorcyclist swinging wildly at each other on Santa Fe Trail Drive, KKTV reports.
The fight broke out on June 18, with the camera capturing the moment the boy stopped at the side of the road with Trujillo following suit and stepping out of his Buick, according to the police report.
Officers said Trujillo then went on to “aggressively” approach the teen and started “yelling expletives in an aggressive manner.” As Trujillo closed the distance, police said, the boy stepped forward and punched the cop, with the fight escalating from there.
Trujillo alleges that the 16-year-old shoved him when the teen passed by his car, but the boy accused the officer of throwing the first punch, according to the report.
The teen’s father said in a statement put out by the Mehr Law group: “There is no excuse for this kind of behavior from an adult who was also an officer of the law. As a father it’s very frustrating that my son had to go through this and was put in danger from someone who doesn’t uphold the law and thinks he can do what he pleases.”
The family’s lawyers said this was not the first time Trujillo had a run-in with the law, as the officer was already on leave from the sheriff’s office and facing misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct for allegedly tasing a man 35 times during a traffic stop last year.
The law firm is representing Kenneth Espinoza, 48, who has filed a suit against Trujillo following their November 29, 2022, encounter.
Espinoza was arguing with Trujillo after the officer pulled over his son for allegedly driving too close to a cop car, according to the police report.
Trujillo ordered the dad to leave, but Espinoza refused.
As things heated up, Espinoza tried to drive away, with Trujillo and his partner, Mikhail Noel, ordering him out of his car.
That’s when Trujillo allegedly tased Espinoza dozens of times to force him out of the vehicle, the lawsuit states.
The Las Animas County sheriff claims Espinoza was only tased once in the incident.
According to police records, Trujillo has an extensive criminal history, convicted in 1998, 2006 and 2009 for harassment, fighting in public, and disorderly conduct.
Las Animas County court records show Trujillo was forced to resign from the sheriff’s office in 2009, but was rehired and even promoted.
“This is a terrifying display of violence, in public, by the lieutenant of LACSO,” the Mehr Law group said about the latest charges. “This behavior is completely unacceptable and the longer the sheriff’s office and district attorney refuse to put a stop to it, the more they put the rest of us at risk.”
The Sheriff’s Office declined to comment on the case, noting that the neighboring Trinidad Police Department was conducting an independent investigation.
A representative for Trujillo could not be immediately reached for comment.
SOURCE: New york post