TAOS, NM — A Tennessee family on vacation in New Mexico ended up being shot at by by state troopers after a vehicular moving violation went awry. What’s more, the trooper who opened fire on them is facing no charges, and has many supporters demanding he be put back on the streets with a badge and a gun.
Oriana Farrell, 39, of Memphis, is a single mother who was hauling her five children (ages 6-16) through the American southwest on a family road-trip. The trip was intended to be an educational experience for her children whom were home-schooled.
On October 28, 2013, on a desert highway 1,200 miles from home, the family minivan drew the attention of the New Mexico State Police. Troopers had determined that her minivan had been traveling too fast and pulled the vehicle over to give her a speeding ticket.
Officer Tony DeTavis gave Ms. Farrell a fine for her driving, and told her that she could either pay the ticket or return to Taos — suspending the road trip — to contest it before a judge. After he returned to his vehicle, Farrell abruptly drove away.
The State Police proceeded to speed after her, following a policy of initiating pursuit no matter how trivial the offense. Farrell again stopped the minivan for police. One of the officers started shouting at Ms. Farrell to get out of her vehicle. She complied and exited the vehicle, but when an officer attempted to grab her, Farrell’s 14-year-old son instinctively got out and attempted to defend his mother.
After a short altercation with the officer, the boy and Ms. Farrell got back into the van.
Another officer arrived on scene and began smashing a passenger side window with his baton, shattering glass all over the children. The van then began to speed away and another officer — identified as Officer Elias Montoya — drew his pistol and started firing shots at the back of the van.
Farrell and her juvenile son were arrested without incident when they arrived at the Hotel Don Fernando. The boy was later released and his mother is facing several serious charges: intentional abuse of a child, aggravated fleeing of a law enforcement officer, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The family is now broken apart and children have been placed in other homes.
It is presumed that she fled the traffic stop due to possessing two marijuana pipes. This again illustrates how the prohibition of arbitrary contraband material incites more dangerous situations and puts more lives at risk than it purports to save. Had there been no law against possession of plant paraphernalia, there would have been no reason to flee, and no shooting would have taken place.
Officer Elias Montoya claimed his reasoning for opening fire was to immobilize the van — saving the family. But he knew the van was full of children and at no point was he in life-threatening danger, drawing criticism from experts on the legality of the use of force.
Even if there were not any children in the van, the officers were never in any danger and had absolutely no justification to fire at the vehicle. One of the 6 unarmed occupants in the van could have been seriously injured or killed. Recall that the genesis of the traffic stop was only speeding, not murder.
“Reckless driving is not a reason to start shooting,” said John Eterno, a criminal justice professor and former cop. “You could have let them go and found them anyway.”
Ms. Farrell wrote a letter from jail stating that she was trying to get her children away from a “terrifying individual” and that she is a devoted parent who has spent 16 years focused on the well being of her kids. She calls the situation “injustice at its best.” As pressure mounted, Montoya was eventually fired, but has yet to face any legal repercussions for his reckless and potentially criminal use of force. The district attorney seemed to think that firing upon the van was not worthy of charges, most likely due to the uniform worn by the shooter.
And while some have demanded greater punishment for reckless and irresponsible individuals like Elias Montoya, thousands of law enforcement supporters have rallied to reinstate the disgraced officer.
What’s worse — it isn’t only Facebook fans who apparently condone shooting at minivans. New Mexico’s new director of the Law Enforcement Academy has begun formally training officers to shoot at fleeing vehicles. The controversial director has the sole authority to determine the curriculum followed by every police cadet in the state.
These types of overreactions plague law enforcement throughout the nation, leaving many casualties in the wake. The questionable use of force, the drug laws, and the policy of pursuing vehicles over minor offenses should all be carefully looked at. Recall that Orenthal James Simpson was allowed to drive around for hours without being shot at.
3 thoughts on “Trooper opens fire on minivan full of kids; faces no charges”
The fact that “thousands” of people signed up to show support for this lunatic is proof positive that a large segment of our population is thoroughly brainwashed to be good Nazis.
It sounds like some one has been brainwashed by the Jewish media or Jewish Hollywood. It was the Jews who lead the communist revolt in Russia in 1917 where they starved and murdered over 50 million Christian Russians, Ukrainians and other people of eastern Europe before and after world war two but only after they were disarmed. It’s communism and the Jews who are trying to ban the guns in America and IF they have their way millions will be murdered in AmeriKa and maybe they will try it anyway…..they’re doing a pretty good job so far. They did the same thing to NAZI Germany, the polish Jews under the protection of the Polish army murdered 58,000 ethnic Germans in the Danzig corridor before the German invasion of Poland. Even our ancestors (or mine anyway) kicked the Jews out of almost every European country (and for good reason) for the past one thousand years, the last time being NAZI Germany and since then they have run amok in Europe with their multiculturalism.
If anything these “cops” are NKVD/Cheka cops.