Video of cop kicking suspect arises amid APD probe
A parking garage surveillance video shows an Albuquerque police officer kicking a suspected car thief
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Albuquerque police department has released an unedited video of two officers apparently doing a celebratory belly bump just after one officer kicked a suspect in the head more than a dozen times.
The parking garage surveillance video obtained by an Albuquerque Journal reporter on Tuesday comes amid calls for a Justice Department probe of the department, which has faced criticism for 20 officer-involved shootings and other questionable behavior among officers.
A special prosecutor is reviewing the Feb. 13 beating. The video was released to the Journal following a public records request from the newspaper.
Deputy City Attorney Kathy Levy initially turned over a DVD with video footage of the beating and played it for the Journal reporter on a computer. That version cuts off shortly after the kicking ends and is cropped on the right side.
The footage shows one officer, Robert Woolever, holding the suspect down while the other officer, John Doyle, kicks him. But it doesn't show the officers' interaction after they subdued the suspected car thief, Nicholas Blume.
A longer, raw video from the parking garage at the Barcelona Hotel in Albuquerque — provided to the Journal reporter on a thumb drive — shows the belly bump.
Both versions show Woolever take the suspect to the ground and strike him in the head with his baton while he struggles to subdue Blume. Then Doyle runs up and kicks Blume in the head repeatedly while Woolever holds Blume's hands behind his back. Blume appears to go limp about midway through the kicking.
Doyle wrote in his police report that he was worried that Blume was armed. Blume wasn't, although a stolen handgun was later found in the truck he was driving.
A spokesman for the police department said Police Chief Ray Schultz has not made a decision on possible disciplinary action, which could include termination.
Doyle and Woolever faced disciplinary hearings Tuesday. The results of the hearing were unknown on Wednesday.
Blume was indicted in state District Court in March on charges of auto theft, receiving a stolen firearm, being a felon in possession of a firearm and resisting arrest. Those charges all stem from the February case, and Blume is facing additional charges in state and federal court that stem from other incidents.
Blume's attorney, Ray Twohig, has said his client could not speak with the detectives investigating the beating without a promise of immunity. Blume remained jailed without bond late Tuesday at the Metropolitan Detention Center.
Copyright 2011 Associated Press