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Sheriff’s Office releases first body camera video of an arrest

Camera footage shows the arrest of Jose Mercado on Jan. 19 in Northeast Albuquerque. (BCSO)

Jose Mercado (BCSO)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office touted the college and high school track stats of one of its deputies — a former sprinter and hurdler — after he chased down a man last week during an arrest in Northeast Albuquerque.

It’s unclear if it was the deputy’s speed or his words — “I’ll shoot you” — in the released on-body camera video that made Jose Mercado surrender.

The 26-year-old was booked on charges of receiving or transferring a stolen motor vehicle, resisting, evading or obstructing an officer and possession of a controlled substance.

BCSO spokesman Joseph Montiel said the arresting officer, deputy Mustafa Mudada, was a state champion hurdler who ran 200 meters in 22 seconds during his time at the University of New Mexico.

The Jan. 19 arrest also marked the first ever release of on-body camera footage by BCSO after Sheriff Manuel Gonzalez resisted years of requests by local leaders to outfit his deputies with the equipment. A law requiring on-body cameras passed by the Legislature ended that stalemate and, last week, BCSO unveiled the new cameras now worn by all deputies.

Jennifer Barela, Albuquerque district defender at the Law Offices of the Public Defender, said they cannot yet comment on Mercado’s case but commended BCSO on the availability of lapel footage.

“We’ve strongly encouraged BCSO to get on board with this best practice, so we are glad the department is finally in compliance with the law,” she said in a statement. “Lapel camera footage gives this community the transparency and accountability we all have been demanding.”

In the video, you see Mustafa sprinting after Mercado, hurdling over at least two fences, through multiple properties and toward an open field as he repeatedly yells “stop running.” Eventually, Mustafa says “stop running right now. I’ll shoot you” and he draws his firearm as Mercado puts his hands up and gets on the ground.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court:

Mustafa responded around 2:45 p.m. to the 9300 block of Edith NE, near Alameda, after a woman reported finding her truck, which had been stolen earlier that day. When the deputy showed up, Mercado ran from the truck and Mustafa gave chase.

During the chase, Mercado began reaching into his pockets and Mustafa drew his gun before Mercado gave up and put his hands in the air.

Mustafa found two grams of methamphetamine in Mercado’s pocket. Mercado said he had borrowed the truck from a friend and ran because he had a warrant out for his arrest.

“(Mercado’s) story did not make much sense as he appeared to struggle with the names of his ‘friends,’ ” Mustafa wrote in the complaint.

Mustafa also found two guns in the truck but Mercado denied knowing anything about them. The woman told deputies she had gone home earlier that day to find her house broken into and her truck missing.

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