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Monday, August 25, 2014 - 5:28pm

City Employee: Police Officer Beat Me

News

POSTED: Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - 7:45am

UPDATED: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 - 7:25pm

A city employee says he was beaten up by a cop after he was stopped because his license plate wasn't visible. The officer claimed he was evading arrest.

Three years ago, three motorcyclists driving on the east side when a police cruiser pulls behind them. But they didn't think anything of it.

"The patrol officers behind us never turned on his overhead lights or ever attempted to make a stop," said the man arrested. We'll call him Miguel for our story. He says another police cruiser then sped past them with his lights on. Not knowing the cruiser behind them had called for backup, Miguel assumed the second officer was going to another call.

But the officer was weaving in the road, so Miguel tried to pull over to the closest place he saw - the parking lot of a bank. But the cruiser with its lights on cut in front of Miguel, causing a crash.

"Him and the other officer that were on the scene threw me off my bike and took me to the median and began beating me up."

The two officers are Steven Smith and Charles Romo. Miguel says Smith is the one making most of the comments in the video.

"I was yelling, 'Stop, I don't know what's going on, why are you guys doing this.'"

Miguel says he wasn't evading arrest, that he was just confused because he had never been pulled over from the front before. His attorney, Mark Davis, says the situation also struck him as unusual.

"The police officer pulled in front of him, and then started weaving back and forth in front of him," Davis said. "It was not like anything I've ever seen."

"I thought they had the wrong guy," Miguel said. "They kept mentioning they had been after guys like me for a long time."

Miguel says he suffered injuries to his chin and leg, and that he was in crutches for weeks and on unpaid leave from work for three months. Officer Smith received a 20-hour paid suspension, a punishment that Davis doesn't think was harsh enough.

"Grossly inadequate," he said. "It didn't deal with the problem, didn't stop it, didn't draw the attention of other offices who might use excessive force themselves."

"I would've taken a 20-hour paid suspension over the 3 months of work that I had," Miguel said.

But this wasn't the first complaint filed against Smith. At the time of the incident, he had 10 complaints filed against him. According to this summary, back in 2002, Smith left work early, saying he was sick. But hours later, he was involved in a bar fight. He was later suspended for unprofessional conduct and violating their sick leave policy. Then again in 2004, he was asked by a civilian to move a shopping cart in a Wal-Mart parking lot. The situation escalated into a fight and smith was once again suspended.

In a written testimony, Smith says he was upset because the impact with Miguel's motorcycle caused damaged to his brand-new police vehicle. He says he had no excuses for losing his composure but that he never punched or kicked Miguel. Instead, he says he used distraction techniques in order to make the arrest. The evading arrest charge against Miguel was immediately dropped, and he won a settlement from the city for $15,000. But he says because Smith is still on the force, he's worried this can happen again.

"He's definitely not someone who should be wearing a badge," Miguel said. "I mean these people are placed in a position of authority to protect everyone."

We tried to reach the police department all day for comment; we heard back late in the afternoon, confirming that discipline was given. In the policies for a vehicular pursuit, we found, offensive tactics in response to vehicular pursuits are prohibited. These tactics include ramming, forcing the pursued vehicle off the road, or roadblocks.

In Smith's reprimand, this was never mentioned, nor was the use of excessive force. Instead, Smith was suspended because of his use of profanity. A source in the police department tells us Smith is now up for promotion.

Comments News Comments

WOW!! Most people that bash police officers for doing their job and protecting the citizens are punks who break the law themselves therefore, they feel obligated to attack and ridicule people in uniform!! REMEMBER....the news doesn't report the whole story they just report what they are told!! How do you even know "Miguel" was kicked and beat up?? Do you have proof?? His injury could of happened when he hit the cruiser!! Get the FACTS straight people and stop hating on Officer Smith!!

THERE ARE GOOD COPS AND BAD COPS.
I THINK WE HAVE MORE BAD THAN GOOD.
THIS IS QUITE SAD.
WE HAVE MURDERERS, DRUG DEALERS, RAPISTS, MOLESTERS, AND SO MANY OTHER PEOPLE THEY SHOULD BE AFTER.
SHOULD HAVE JUST GIVEN THE KID A DAMNED TICKET.
FUNNY HOW THE EPPD GETS OFFICERS TO POSE AS PROSTITUTES TO CATCH A FEW MEN OFFERING 4O BUCKS AND EVEN TOOLS TO PAY FOR SEX.
THAT'S ENTRAPMENT . THEY WERE WILLING PAY TO SCREW SOMEONE. HOORAH!
WHAT A WASTE OF OUR CITY MONEY.
GO AFTER THE REAL CRIMINALS.

The entire report is one sided. Get both sides of the story. Did reporters bother to find out any history on the wal mart incicent, bar fight, and the "city employee"? NO! Do the right thing and tell both sides. El Paso is one of the safest cities and this is how you thank EPPD? Way to go reporters... Have some INTEGRITY. I know if I saw lights I would pull over immediately, every criminal starts at one point, maybe it was the first time he got caught.

i would rather play my video games then to talk about a story that happened in 2007!!!!! who cares!!! except dummies like you who obviously hate cops so get over it silly man. LMAO hey channel 9 news do a story that occurred in 2000 when i was out of the country please??? Get a real story in the present time thank you :) idiots

I have known Officer Smith for 25 years and trust him with my life. Officer Smith has served the citizens of El Paso for at least 20 of thoes years. If you look at the time on the video it is after 11 PM. When everyone else in El Paso is in bed, he is on the job protecting us. I trust him with my life! He has served El Paso on SWAT, on patrol, & as a motorcycle patrolman. When he is not on the job, he and his entire family volunteer their time serving the youth of El Paso in sports.

There's a price to pay for being "second safest city" in the U.S., you have to give up some of your civil liberties! If you want to live in a safe city, you must tolerate heavy-handed police tactics; perhaps even a little blatant abuse. We've been steadily relinquishing OUR rights to OUR governments (local, state, federal) for years in exchange for a little security and peace of mind. He who would trade freedom for security has neither!

I'm going to work for "El Paso's Finest", violate people's rights, go on PAID suspension and then get promoted too. What a job! I'm in the wrong field!

I could never be a cop..., after all the training, at the end of the day, your only human. Thanks to Officer Smith, bout time someone stands up to these irresponsible punks who break the Law, we all have seen and experienced these kids!

@Cena: You must be a cop with remarks about being able to shoot fleas off of people from 100 yards away!That's the problem with the cops in EP they're oversized ego's make them think they're above the law!! As long as we have naive, ignorant citizens supporting cops for their unethical actions this will continue to happen!! Officer Smith should get fired just like officer Madrid and Officer Romo suspended for letting his partner behave this way!

fired for saying bad words??? hmmm i wonder how many people would be employed at any job if this was the case?? lol grow up Mr. Ponce. plus military snipers have way more training you silly man!!! ;) but very nice guess ha ha ha

OBVIOUSLY you weren't paying attention!! Please stick to the subject at hand who is even talking about snipers?? Its apparent you weren't paying any attention to the video because you were probably playing Black Ops on your PS3!!! It looks like you have all the growing up to do Silly man!!! Now that's funny ha ha!!!

For all you ignorant people defending the cop I must ask?? What two sides of the story?? The viseo says it all!!! Not only does the video show the unprofessionalism of the cop but also his prior record shows this man has a history of misbehaving!!! There is no excuse for what this man did!! Never once in the video does it show this kid fleeing the scene so therfore that gives the officer no right to knock him off his bike with his vehicle!

I think the only ignorant person here is you, how many times do you see these kids on the streets in these motorcycles weaving in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed. I can tell you since my son drives one of these bikes, they think its funny not to get caught by the cops. Every day you see people losing their lives on these silly motorcycles or causing serious accidents. Until you are the victim of this then you can say the officer was ignorant!

This is pathetic. Unfortunately, it's happened before .... and it will happen again. We need a panel to monitor law enforcement officers made up of private citizens. Not other officers. There can be a few on the panel, but not all. We need private citizens and legal experts to watch over our "finest". Maybe even ride along with them. As the old saying goes, "never leave a fox to watch the henhouse". You also can't make him responsible for totally .. and fairly .. handling all the other foxes.

Bull, the kid had no plates for a reason. He knew that the only way for cops to know who might be driving is with a license plate or if they stop you. He also knew that cops don't chace motorcyclists at high speeds or don't crash into you to stop you. Ha, ha! The little punk didnt see that one coming.

Perhaps, but the punk on the bikes actions don't concern me; what does concern me is the punk with the badge. I'd rather have a dumb kid maim himself on his bike than have an abusive and heavy-handed cop high on his own testosterone patrolling OUR streets thinking they are HIS because he's been given limited (not limitless) public trust. There will always be punks, we don't want them in uniform and on the public payroll. Behave above the situation, not above the law!

I totally agree with you. El Paso's Finest, I'm happy to hear you all have had enough with these motorcyclist. Keep up the good work.

There are always 2 sides to a story; however reporters are going to take little bits and pieces and use them however needed to make their story more interesting, shocking, or to draw more attention. They are only interested in their ratings and could care less about what they are reporting or those involved. Before bashing police or anyone get all of the facts. If he had such a good case, why settle for 15,000...because if all the facts did come out in court he would have received nothing.

Hummm...three ninja styled motorcycles...known to run from the cops so an officer calls for backup. Two out of the three stop and pull over, but one doesn't, "Miguel." It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if a police car is behind me with his lights on and a police car is in front of me with his lights on...duh...hello...pull over!!! I just know that there are always two sides to a story. News channel 9 get all the facts first before you air something stupid like this!!!!!!!!!

Ktsm, get your facts straight. Why are you picking on El Paso's Finest,little Miguel was going to take off, he was not going to stop.

So he got paid for beating someone up and ruining their bike. Wow, I didn't know that is what the police force was for.

I'm a proud El Pasoan but c'mon EPPD! The officer needs to be working somewhere he can work out his issues but not working in law enf.
If it didn't take hurting this kid, what's it gonna take to figure this out?
I support the great job the EPPD has done but don't get this city into any more trouble. We all know the kid could have gotten way more money and damaged careers and it's all the officers fault.
I saw and heard and personally don't like the kid but the officer less.
Sorry kid.

Smith needs to be off the police force not promoted. What kind of administration do we have on our police force? They should be investigated also for stupidity! Orion

LET THE COPS GET IN THE CAGE OR THE RING AND TRY TO KICK SOMEONES ASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO CLASS!!!!!!!!!!!!

you have no class!!! dont make threats Mr. stupid wanna be world champion cage fighter lmao!!!! this cop and most cops wordwide probably have enough training to shoot a flea off your tiny best friend at 100 yards so grow up and stop making challeges idiot. this incident happened 3 years ago!!! OMG shame on channel 9 for even doing this old story. i mean what happened to CURRENT news for 2010 NOT 2007!!!!

Yeah, all that training and they still don't know 1) how to pull someone over effectively, 2) how to keep their composure, and 3) what dept policy is on ramming/striking a fleeing vehicle. The cop took it personally and was gonna win this contest of Who's The Biggest Jerk at any cost, despite what he is supposed to do. Public loves corruption and bad cop stories, Ch 9 has obligation to report on the stories people wanna hear about; cops should know public opinion dictates Chief Allens decisions.

I think El Paso is the only city that tolerates this kind of behavior from police officers. They abuse their power and violate people's rights. They are unprofessional, rude and arrogant. As a former resident of El Paso now living in San Antonio, seldomly do you hear of police officers behaving in this way. Smith and Romo should both be held accountable, Smith for the way he handled this situation and Romo for letting his partner behave that way! People need to stand up & report these jerks!!!

EPPD has been that way ever since I can remember. Their views have been so diluted to what their job description is that they react insted of respond, you know, like the cops in Juarez.

The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, authorizes the U.S. Attorney General to conduct investigations and, if warranted, file civil litigation to eliminate a "pattern or practice of conduct by law enforcement officers ... that deprives persons of rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.

Source:http://www.justice.gov/crt/split/faq.php#policeissue

ric, ric, ric, the fbi, the us attorney's office, the AG, etc. THEY DON'T CARE! They already know. They have known for years.

This is a matter to be settled by the citizens. City council is responsible and they don't care. And until YOU call your city rep and raise Holy Hell, this will continue to be the norm in El Paso!

Motorcyclist
1. Pulled over in a very out of the ordinary way (in front)
2. Cut off, hit, and knocked to the ground by the cruiser
3. injured his chin and leg
4. Beat by the officer (any fool that listens to the video can tell that the motorcyclist was getting a whipping)
5. Falsely arrested
6. On unpaid leave for 3 months due to his injuries
I think all this adds up to $150,000 instead of $15,000 and Officer Smith should be in the unemployment line along with Albert Madrid.

The policies and procedures of the EPPD are in violation of civil rights.

The FBI needs to get involved. Contact your local congress representative and voice your concern.

blah blah blah

20 hr paid suspension, a slap on the wrist to another Keystone Cop in Blue that should have been in anger management class long ago. Instead they promote this clown, when is El Paso's finest going to clean up their dirty closet and get rid of all these badge heavy thugs on the force. But ops I forgot, its El Paso, and the boys in blue are above the law and Internal Affairs. Where is the Chief on this??????

Internal Affairs? What a JOKE! I had something very similar happen to my son, got pulled over and beaten so severely that they broke his jaw and nose!They arrested him, trumped up the charges to resisting arrest and assault on a officer!Hid him in booking for over 24 hrs then denied that he was in custody for days! I went to Infernal Affairs and they ran me for warrants accused me of being on the run,And told I couldn't do anything because he was of legal age!To Protect and Serve! THEMSELVES!!!

This is the standard M.O. for the handling of EPPD abuse cases. I doubt this would have ever been settled if the motorcyclist was not also employed by the city. Take note of the disparity in punishment. The abuser gets 20 hours suspension and the abused gets 3 mos. unpaid leave. Then this thug of a cop gets promoted as well. EPPD clearly rewards bad behavior. Sadly, I'm not surprised.

Dude got $15000. for a reason. Promote this cop and see how much more it's going to cost you in the future. He's had several complaints against him and, getting ready to be promoted. Are you kidding me? This cop has serious issues. I lean towards the good ole' "do as I say" mentality. I could go on but, I'm already bored.

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