UPDATE: El Paso County Sheriff Upset with Socorro Councilman Over Alleged Assault
POSTED: Thursday, March 31, 2011 - 5:45pm
UPDATED: Sunday, May 8, 2011 - 11:11am
SOCORRO - There's plenty of fallout tonight after Sheriff Richard Wiles blasted Socorro city government. We spoke with Socorro residents today who say they're fed up with the drama.
"That is ridiculous, our money should be going toward important things," said Raquel Ponce, a resident in Socorro. She says she is embarrassed they are making headlines - again.
"Mr. Gandara knows the responsibility he has for our community," she said.
It all started when Sheriff's deputies began investigating some complaints that Socorro city government was using public funds to re-pave some people's driveways including councilman Jesse Gandara Jr.'s. When deputies showed up at Gandara's place to investigate, Gandara showed up with a camera.
"He's videotaping us? That's stupid and it doesn't make any sense, it's very unprofessional," Sheriff Wiles said.
But it's perfectly legal.
Still, the Sheriff says he was videotaping a witness who told him he didn't want to be on camera. So one of the detectives approached Gandara and forced his camera down. Now Gandara has filed a criminal complaint against the deputy for assault.
Pone thinks there's a bigger issue.
"You know someone's doing wrong and when they're going to get caught, they start pointing the fingers at somebody else," she said.
Sheriff Wiles says he's concerned that Socorro PD is running the investigation.
"That police department works clearly for that city and has interest in appeasing certain council members," he said.
We called Socorro police, but they said they couldn't comment because of the ongoing investigation.
Socorro spokesman Dave Garcia says Gandara is disappointed with the Sheriff's comments and that once all the facts comes out, Sheriff Wiles will owe the people of Socorro an apology.
"What about the children, what about the community, the people here? We all deserve to live better," Ponce said.