Trial set in officer assault case

ALAMOSA — After watching a police car dash cam recording of the arrest, District Judge Michael Gonzales on Wednesday denied a motion to suppress the arrest of Jamie Trujillo, 34, Alamosa, accused of hitting a police officer in the mouth when she was detained after city police responded to a disturbance call in south Alamosa on April 11, 2015.

Judge Gonzales also scheduled back-to-back trials for Trujillo on May 8-9 and May 10-11 for the assault and other charges related to incidents on April 11 of 2015.

During the March 29th hearing Judge Gonzales heard testimony from police officers who were present at the time Trujillo was arrested, including Alamosa Police Officer William Squires who was struck by Trujillo.

Officer Ivan Garcia, serving with the Alamosa Police Department since February 2015 and in law enforcement 16 years, said he was called to a disturbance about 5:30 p.m. at 1004 Ninth Street on April 11, 2015. Sergeant Brian Cooper accompanied him as his field training officer. The resident at that address told the police officers that Trujillo had come to her property trying to provoke a fight and she had chased her off.

The officers subsequently stopped a vehicle where Trujillo was the passenger. Officer Garcia testified that he smelled a strong odor of alcohol in the car and observed Trujillo with two open beer containers. Concerned that the driver might have been drinking, Garcia began taking information from the driver, and Officer Squires drove up as a cover officer.

Officer Squires, who has served with the Alamosa Police Department since 2014, said he responded to the scene after Garcia arrived, and he went to the passenger side of the vehicle where Trujillo was. He said he saw Trujillo with two open Bud Light beer bottles. He said he asked her to give him the beer bottle so he could pour them out, but she began to pour them out of the window and almost splashed the beer on his uniform.

Squires said he knew Trujillo from earlier incidents. He added she was aggressive and belligerent with him at the scene and appeared intoxicated. Squires acquired the beer bottles, poured out the remainder of the beer and asked Trujillo to get out of the car and face the car, as he intended to take her into custody and transport her to detox, he said.

Sergeant Cooper added that Trujillo had become so noisy it was difficult for Officer Garcia to continue gathering information from the driver.

Squires said when Trujillo got out of the car she faced him instead of the car and “punched me in the face.”

Squires then got hold of Trujillo by the arm, took her to the ground and with Officer Garcia’s assistance put her in custody, he and the other officers testified. He said Trujillo resisted the arrest and was uncooperative through the entire arrest.

Officer Garcia and Sergeant Cooper said they also believed Trujillo was highly intoxicated and belligerent.

Sergeant Cooper, who has served with the Alamosa Police Department since 2008 and been in law enforcement for 15 years, said he observed Trujillo punch Squires in the face.

“I was standing right next to him,” he said.

Trujillo’s attorney Public Defender Amanda Hopkins asked Squires if he was aware that Trujillo was also injured when the officers took her down and arrested her. He said he was not aware she had been injured. Hopkins pointed out that Trujillo suffered scrapes, bruises and a broken ankle.

Hopkins argued that the police did not take Trujillo out of the car because of anything to do with the initial disturbance call but because they didn’t like how she was acting and the way she was talking to them.

“The fact is they were mad at her,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins said there is nothing illegal about being unhappy for being stopped by the police.

Assistant District Attorney Ashley McCuaig said the officers had probable cause to arrest Trujillo because of the initial disturbance.

“The officers were justified in their actions,” he said.

Judge Gonzales added that the officers probably also had probable cause based on disturbing the peace. Trujillo not only caused problems for the resident who initially called the police but was also loud and aggressive with the police, the judge pointed out.

He said while he found the officers had a reasonable basis to take Trujillo into custody, he would wait a week to submit a written order on the motion to suppress the arrest.