A State Police patrolman is the subject of an internal investigation after images of a crime scene showing the body of a man killed in an officer-involved shooting were leaked to the public.
New Mexico State Police Chief Robert Schilling said the patrolman allegedly used his personal cell phone to take photos of Samuel Pauly, 34, who was shot at his Glorieta home last October, and then shared them with others.
The shooting occurred after Pauly’s brother was involved in what’s been described as a road rage incident on Interstate 25 late at night. State Police tracked the license number of the truck Daniel Pauly was driving to the brothers’ Glorieta residence.
An attorney for Daniel Pauly has said the brothers only saw flashlights outside and mistook police for intruders. Samuel Pauly was shot by officers after shots were fired from the Pauly home. Daniel Pauly’s lawyer says the shots fired by Daniel were warning shots from the back door and not at the officers.
Schilling said the officer who took the cell phone photo, who he declined to name, was being investigated for not following the department’s evidence policy and criminal investigation policy.
Schilling said the officer was a senior patrolman, meaning he had been on the force for at least five years.
The chief said State Police and the District Attorney’s office have been aware of the photos allegedly taken by the patrolman for several weeks and he was “deeply troubled” that they were circulated.
“We have a very stringent policy about how you handle evidence and how to document it and log it into evidence. This will be scrutinized very heavy,” he said.
District Attorney Angela “Spence” Pacheco said State Police officials “immediately” made her office aware of a photo taken with an officer’s cell phone as soon as they knew about it. She said that from her perspective, taking the photo was not a crime.
“It was totally inappropriate and lacking in judgement and taste on the officer’s part,” Pacheco said
Schilling confirmed that an image aired by Albuquerque television station KRQE and posted on its website appears to be that of the crime scene.