Albuquerque, NM- The Albuquerque Police Department is under scrutiny once again due to another one of its officers being accused of not using a body camera while on duty.
Earlier this month, APD Chief Gorden Eden revealed in a YouTube video that an internal affairs investigation had been launched regarding “possible misconduct” and “excessive use of force” involving two APD officers. Additional information has identified the suspect and the APD employees involved in the incident.
Albuquerque Officer Cedric Greer, 24, has been charged with aggravated battery for allegedly punching a suspect repeatedly during an arrest. The incident was reported to APD’s training staff by a cadet, identified by the Albuquerque Journal as Andrew Henry, who was present at the scene.
Henry, Greer and another officer, Jerry Rauch, were called to a motel on March 20th to assist a “down and out” male. The “down and out” male, Adrian Marthell, was found on the second floor of the motel highly intoxicated.
Marthell was escorted downstairs. A patdown was conducted, and Marthell was found with a small amount of marijuana. While Rauch went to his vehicle, Greer and Henry stayed with Marthell. The arrest warrant affidavit claims that Greer caught Marthell looking at Henry and ordered him to “stop looking at” the cadet and to “look at the f**king ground.”
The affidavit goes on to claim that Greer grabbed Marthell and shoved him down to the ground and into a prone position with Marthell’s left shoulder and left side of his head on the pavement. Greer then allegedly grabbed Marthell by his jacket and struck him twice in on the right side of his head “causing the left side of his head to bounce off of the pavement.”
According to the affidavit, Greer continued to assault Marthell. The officer allegedly held the Marthell by his left arm and struck him twice in his rib cage before wrenching his arm upward and repeatedly asking Marthell “who’s the man?” until Marthell “responded in obvious pain, ‘you are the man’.”
Rauch returned to the scene and helped Greer place Marthell in restraints; the affidavit claims that Greer and Rauch proceeded to turn their lapel cameras on and were “courteous” to Marthell once the cameras were activated. APD’s policy requires the use of body cameras for most public interactions.
The lapel camera allegedly showed “large red blotches which appeared to be abrasions” on the left side of Marthell’s face. The affidavit reported that the officers did not report to supervisors that force had been used.
An eyewitness was reportedly interviewed who said he was 20 feet away from the officers and Marthell and had clearly seen Greer striking a man laying on the ground. According to the affidavit, interviews with officers and the witness indicated that Marthell was cooperative and not threatening to any of the officers during the encounter.
KOB News4 reports that the APD is investigating the glaring differences between the arrest warrant affidavit and the criminal complaint against Marthell. The complaint, written by Rauch, provides very few details and does not mention use of force, Rauch walking to his vehicle, or lapel cameras being turned on in the middle of the encounter.
Rauch has not yet faced any charges; Greer is charged with misdemeanor aggravated battery. According to the Albuquerque Journal, there was a clerical error that cause Greer to first be charged with a felony; a Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office clarified that Greer is charged with a misdemeanor. A felony charge would allow the APD to immediately fire Greer.
Both Greer and Rauch are on administrative leave.
The allegations against Greer are similar to those made against another APD officer, Jeremy Dear. Dear had been allegedly involved in three use-of-force incidents in which Dear did not have his body camera turned on. One of those incidents involved a fatality: Dear shot and killed Mary Hawkes during a foot chase in April 2014 and admitted in an interview that he knew his camera was not on during the chase. Dear, who was fired by Eden last December, has appealed his termination and wants his job back.