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Video: N.M. Police Under Fire for Diabetic Arrest

July 23, 2013  | 

VIDEO: N.M. Police Under Fire for Diabetic Arrest

Santa Fe County (N.M.) Sheriff Robert Garcia has launched an internal investigation into the arrest of a woman at a traffic stop who was having a diabetic attack.

Deputies pulled Revina Garcia, 57, out of her vehicle, after she struck a white pickup truck. Deputies had broken out the windows of her orange Hyundai after she failed to respond to their commands.

Patrol car video from the incident shows deputies pulling Garcia from the car, arresting her, and leaving her face down on the asphalt for about a minute. Sheriff Garcia told the Albuquerque Journal it was "unacceptable" for them to leave her on hot asphalt.

Deputies apparently believed Garcia was intoxicated.

Tags: Santa Fe County (N.M.) Sheriff, Vehicle Stops, Medical Calls


Comments (9)

Displaying 1 - 9 of 9

EyeofaTiger @ 7/23/2013 3:34 PM

If you can't tell the difference between a drunk and a person with a medical situation, then get a new job. COMMON SENSE. Wearing a badge and carrying a gun, don't make you smart or better then anyone.

krisnlc @ 7/23/2013 3:58 PM

Hmm looking at the video i do not believe the police did anything malicious. One minute in the New Mexico Hot sun could feel like an eternity, but it really is not that long to figure out what is going on. As far as picking her up by the arms...well i dont think that was done overly rough by the officers...nor do I think the press did any justice by saying "ripping her out of the car", the officers did not act malicious there either. Is it a training issue, probably, but not a serious one. I am also a little put off that the sheriff would so quickly admonish his officer publicly like that. By the way eyeofthetiger, people having diabetic attacks sometimes and often cannot speak coherently, let alone talk and speak or act. the officers do not know...they are trying to figure it out. but look at the video closely...the officer broke out the glass on the passenger side, not the driver...that is also indication that the officer did not want to hurt the driver. They did not 'rip' her out as the press said, they pulled her out in control realizing they did not know exactly everything happening....After all they thought she may be intoxicated...read about diabetes, they share the same incoherent behaviors... Sheriff, your officers did a good job, can it be better yes...but they were not malicious or out-of-control...YOu should be more supportive of them.
I dont think it is what the press said it was and now the officers will have to deal with it by every overly liberal person that exists.
Santa Fe, home of the 22 million dollar settlement to an inmate in Dona Ana County..what do you think this will bring?

DaveSam5525G @ 7/23/2013 6:25 PM

Yes there were some errors here...How was this TA dispatched also as that's where you start preparing for arrival scene? There is a really good Force Science research Note this year - Titled "Do your policies cover using force against injured persons? Note the Take-Away and Basic thought on Policy addition excellent item by Michael Brave LAAW International.
With that in mind: DWI –Diabetic-Hypoglycemia (Potential to become aggressive or uncooperative without knowing it or sometimes mistaken for drunkenness). Head injuries as a result of vehicle accident (Compliance with commands and confusion in actions may be medical or injury related do not rule these out continually access.) Police officers have the responsibility and authority to secure accident scenes make safe.” Should be trained and keep this in mind in any force application or movement of person. Where the subject appears “Incapacitated or injured as a result Influence of Alcohol or Drugs, Medical conditions or head injuries as a result of the accident.” Law enforcement personnel should closely and continuously monitor the physical condition and actions of an apparently “Under the influence” person you have detained or taken into custody. Based on the above realize that some injuries and illnesses can mimic intoxication and any hint of such condition requires that the subject receive immediate medical attention. Sounds to me like refresher is needed review SOP's recommended...Otherwise today may find yourself on the liability side of another suit. Above all stay safe!

StPolMa @ 7/23/2013 8:13 PM

Hey EyeofaTiger,

Are you a cop? How long? Because if you were, you would know that many people having diabetic reactions appear to be intoxicated; belligerent, nasty, resistive and very strong. They are almost impossible to tell from a violent drunk at times and the scenario may call for quick action. Keep your armchair views to yourself.

Dan @ 7/24/2013 12:35 AM

If you want a legal opinion, look no further than the defining case when it comes to use of force, Graham v. Connor. The US Supreme Court, in a case very similar to this one (yes, Graham was a diabetic) stated that there should be "an allowance for the fact that officers are often forced to make split second decisions about the amount of force necessary in a particular situation". I have dealt with diabetics in situations like this and sometimes it is not so easy to tell the difference between diabetic shock and drunken beligerence. I too would like to know how long "eyeofatiger" has been a police officer and how many situations like this he has dealt with. If he had any experience he would know that it isn't that simple. This is a situation to be learned from but I don't think there was any malicious act here.

r blazer @ 7/24/2013 4:19 AM

It s so refreshing to hear from the voice of experience ! Im going to have to get a new job. I can t tell the difference between EyeofaTiger and a dumbass!

Bob @ VA @ 7/24/2013 5:25 AM

Dan - Graham v. Connor did not decide the use of force issue per se in Graham's petition as I believe that you are implying. The SCOTUS there only vacated and remanded the specific decision because the lower courts applied the wrong constitutional standard. The lower courts used the 8th Amendment and Johnson v. Glick's 4-part standard rather than the 4th Amendment's unreasonable-search-and-seizure basis for their decision. The SCOTUS remanded the case for reconsideration under the 4th Amendment basis. SCOTUS made no determination on the actual merits of the underlying petition, but rather critiqued the reasoning of the lower courts. The quote that you used was not in the context of arguing the merits of Graham's petition, but in fact arguing against lower courts applying the Johnson v. Glick's 4-part standard in a blanket manner to all excessive force cases:

"Held: All claims that law enforcement officials have used excessive force—deadly or not—in the course of an arrest, investigatory stop, or other "seizure" of a free citizen are properly analyzed under the Fourth Amendment's "objective reasonableness" standard, rather than under a substantive due process standard. Pp. 490 U. S. 392-399."

The majority opinion cited a host of other cases to discuss the "objective reasonableness" standard, making the opinion a handy reference for use of force decisions by the court, but the opinion did not make a determination on the merits of Graham's petition.

The woman in this case could file a Section 1983 petition based on the 4th Amendment and perhaps prevail if she can make a good argument. To be clear, I am making no comment on the possible merits of her case. Graham v. Connor would in fact support her petition on a 4th Amendment basis rather than oppose it. If she, however, chooses to argue based on the Johnson v. Glick's 4-part standard, then her petition would likely be doomed to fail.

HowBoutYa @ 7/24/2013 1:23 PM

Bob, thanks for the case law.
EyeofaTiger, If you are a LEO please take this advice, although it doesn't sound like it from your comments on this and other articles. It is always a good idea to use "common sense" and keep your OPINION to yourself if you do not know what you are talking about. It is better to remain quiet and look stupid than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. It is in FACT, in severe cases, very difficult to distinguish the difference between the actions of someone that is drunk and someone who is having a diabetic episode. In FACT, someone who is having a diabetic episode not only acts as if they are drunk, their breath may also smell somewhat fruity / sweet. Please trust me when I say that 99% of us that do actually carry a badge and a gun want and try to do a good job. We do not believe that we are "smarter or better then anyone". We are just committed to protecting and serving those of you that do.
Also know this, that 99% of us LEO's that you like to sit back and second guess would give our life to protect yours. Nuf said!
I also agree with krisnis about the Sheriff's knee-jerk nonsupportive reaction, most likely brought on by covering his own @ss and surrendering to the age of political correctness bullcrap. What ever happened to standing behind your troops Sheriff? With all that said I also do not know these deputies history but by watching the video it does not seem that this was extreme. Oh yeh, r blazer rocks!

sgtken @ 7/28/2013 3:50 PM

Happened to me twenty years ago. Thought it was an DUI until saw a diabetes card in her purse. The sign are all there including the smell. The acetone breath is very much like alcohol. Even my Sergeant thought it was a DUI. Ever since I have made sergeant I am very aware of this and tell my men to always look for the possibility that it could be a diabetic reaction.

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