01/26/2010

NM officer caught on tape hitting teen blames stress

The department has instituted stress management programs

KRQUE.com

SANTA FE, N.M. — The Santa Fe City Attorney's Office recently released video of former police officer David Smoker attacking a then 17-year-old named Brendon Singer. The incident happened while Singer was being detained at the Santa Fe Police Station in November 2007.

Investigators said Singer was drunk, acting belligerent and spit on an officer. Video from the incident showed Smoker walk over to Singer, kick a trash can and swing at Singer's head. Smoker then threw the teen to the ground, knocked him around and kneed him in the back.

Santa Fe Police Chief Aric Wheeler said Smoker knew he messed up and admitted what happened to his supervisors. Wheeler said Smoker had some personal issues at the time of the incident. While he said that does not excuse Smoker's actions, the issue put stress management for his officers on the front burner. The department now has peer support groups and other stress management programs. Chief Wheeler also requires new officers to read a book called "Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement."

Read full story: Santa Fe officer hits teen, loses job

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