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Man: Cop Allowed Us To Fight It Out

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Go ahead and fight it out.

That’s what one man says an Albuquerque police officer told him and his neighbor to do to settle their ongoing dispute.

Officer Gregory Donofrio is on paid administrative leave while the allegation is investigated, police spokeswoman Tasia Martinez said Monday.

She said officers were sent to the 4800 block of Marquette NE on Sunday to investigate a battery that occurred during a fight.

When police arrived, one man told investigators that he had an altercation with his neighbor the day before and an on-duty APD officer had said it was OK for them to fight it out.

Afterward, Martinez said, the injured man drove himself to a local hospital where he was treated for minor injuries and released.

No official police report or document offering details was available Monday.

However, one of the men, Andy Lucero, offered some details to KOAT-TV, saying he asked Donofrio whether the pair would be arrested if they fought. He said Donofrio said no.

Lucero, whom KOAT reported had a “red eyeball,” swollen cheek and black eyes, said he and his neighbor fought on the second floor of their apartment complex as Donofrio watched.

“I said, ‘I don’t know about you, but how ’bout you just let us fight it out?’ And the police officer said OK,” Lucero said. “I said if I fight it out, are we going to jail? He said no and so he let us fight it out.”

Lucero also told KOAT that the neighbor lived below him on the first floor and called police “21 times in six months” to make noise complaints.

“I told (the neighbor) I don’t have wings, I can’t float around or walk around on eggshells because you live downstairs,” Lucero said.

Lucero said he believed the many calls to police frustrated Donofrio as well as himself: “The cop told me, ‘How many times do I have to keep coming back out here?’ And I told him, ‘Well, (the neighbor’s) the one who’s been calling…’ ”

Donofrio left after the fight, according to Lucero, but the upstairs neighbor, who apparently was the man who drove himself to the hospital, called police the next day to report the officer allowing the fight.

Donofrio, who has been with APD since January 2006, was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation, Martinez said.
— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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