Lawsuit filed in conflict prompted by bumper sticker - Albuquerque Journal

Lawsuit filed in conflict prompted by bumper sticker

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

A Rio Rancho woman accused of pulling a gun on another driver for sporting a “vaccinated” bumper sticker on his car alleges in a lawsuit that police used false information to charge her with a crime later dismissed by prosecutors.

Christina Blair also alleges that heavily armed Albuquerque Police Department officers entered her home and arrested her in February without first obtaining a warrant, according to the lawsuit filed in 2nd Judicial District Court.

Blair, 33, was arrested in front of her husband and young stepdaughter, who was traumatized by the incident, the lawsuit said.

Blair “was forced to go through a criminal process until the prosecutor dismissed all charges against her,” according to the suit filed Aug. 31 against the city of Albuquerque and two APD officers.

Blair was indicted March 7 in 2nd Judicial District Court for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Four days later, prosecutors dismissed the charge, noting that “New Mexico law does not make it a crime for an individual to be visibly armed during a verbal argument without an accompanying threat of force,” court records show.

Christopher Dodd, Blair’s attorney, said prosecutors dropped the charges soon after they viewed a video recording of the incident.

“Christina (Blair) was put through really a pretty horrific few weeks, and it was all because APD did not follow the constitution and did not follow the laws of New Mexico,” Dodd said Friday in a phone interview.

An APD spokesperson did not immediately respond Friday to requests for comment.

The Feb. 27 confrontation between Blair and another driver began with a dispute over a bumper sticker.

Police responded about 5 p.m. to a Walgreens at Montgomery and Wyoming NE after a man reported being threatened by a woman with a gun. The man told police he was driving in the area when a woman began to honk and “yell obscenities regarding a bumper sticker” on his car that said “vaccinated,” according to a criminal complaint.

The woman – later identified as Blair – followed him and threw a water bottle at his vehicle when they stopped at a red light, the complaint said. He said he became frightened and accidentally reversed into Blair’s vehicle.

The man told police he pulled into the Walgreens parking lot to exchange insurance information when Blair produced a handgun and “racked the slide” to chamber a round, police wrote in the complaint.

The lawsuit disputes the male driver’s narrative, alleging he “put his vehicle into reverse and proceeded to slam his Honda into the front of Ms. Blair’s vehicle.”

The suit acknowledges that Blair retrieved a pistol from her vehicle but disputes that she used it to threaten the male driver.

“Fearing for her safety from a much larger male, Ms. Blair went to her vehicle and briefly retrieved a small pistol,” the suit said. “The gun stayed at or below her waistline the entire time.”

A cellphone video recorded by the male driver shows that Blair never pointed the pistol at the man, “nor did she actuate the slide or make any threatening motions with the gun,” the suit contends.

That evening, officers “armed with at least three assault-style rifles and two pistols” entered Blair’s home and arrested her without first obtaining a search warrant, the suit said.

The incident was widely reported in the media and resulted in Blair losing her job, the suit alleges. It seeks unspecified damages.

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