Two police officers in Farmington, New Mexico, thought a Navajo Nation
man was lying to them about an incident in which he was branded with a swastika.
The 22-year-old victim repeatedly answered questions about the incident, according to in-camera footage on the scene. "I'm not a white man, I'm a Navajo," the man told the officers, The Farmington Daily Times reported. "I'm not lying."
Only after about 25 minutes did one officer realize the victim was mentally challenged. In a dispatch call, Virgil Todacheeney indicated he was upset by the situation.
"He's mentally incapable of taking care of himself," Todacheeney said, the paper reported. "They took advantage of this mentally incapacitated guy and that really ticks me off."
But Todacheeney and fellow officer Jeremy Hall appeared to joke about the state of the victim. In addition to being branded with a swastika, offensive remarks and objects had been drawn all over his body.
"It's kind of funny but it sucks someone did that," Todacheeney said.
Police Chief Jim Runnels did not say whether the two officers faced disciplinary action but neither have been fired. He said all officers are being required to undergo training on how to deal with mentally challenged people as a result of the incident.
Jesse Sanford, 24, William Hatch, 28, and Paul Beebe, 26, have been charged with first-degree felony kidnapping, second-degree felony conspiracy to commit kidnapping, third-degree felony aggravated battery causing great bodily harm and fourth-degree felony conspiracy to commit aggravated battery Beebe also faces fourth-degree felony tampering with evidence.
All three men are believed to be associated with white supremacist groups.
Get the Story:
Hate-crime branding case leads to more training plans
(The Farmington Daily Times 6/3)
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