ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden said Monday that he was disgusted by the allegations against an APD officer accused of beating and taunting an intoxicated man at a Central Avenue motel, promising a swift and thorough investigation.
Officer Cedric Greer, 24, was charged with battery by State Police on Friday in connection with the March 20 incident in which he allegedly punched the man in the head and ribs, caused his head to slam against the pavement and wrenched his arm while asking him several times, “Who’s the man?”
The beating took place before another officer at the scene said he was going to turn on his lapel camera, according to the criminal complaint.
“When people come into policing it’s because of their heart … It’s the kind of heart where we want to help people,” Eden said in an interview Monday. “As I read the reports and the interviews, the best way for me to describe my feelings was total disgust.”
The night of the incident, Greer, another officer and a police cadet were called to the Best Choice Motel on the 7600 block of Central Avenue on a report of a “down and out” subject, which commonly refers to a person who is too intoxicated to care for himself.
Upon their arrival, police found Adrian Marthell, who was intoxicated and in possession of marijuana cigarettes, according to a criminal complaint.
While Marthell was sitting on a curb outside the motel, Greer is accused of punching him in the head, causing his head to slam against the pavement. He also punched the man in the ribs, which caused bruising, the complaint says.
During the attack, Greer allegedly pulled Marthell’s arm toward his shoulder, causing pain. Greer asked Marthell, “Who’s the man?” several times, until Marthell responded, “You are the man,” in obvious pain, according to the complaint.
Andrew Henry, an Albuquerque police cadet, reported the incident to a supervisor. State Police, who investigated the case, said Henry, officer Jerry Rauch and an eyewitness all said Marthell was cooperating with police at the time he was attacked, the complaint says.
When police were arresting Marthell, Rauch said he was going “live,” and he and Greer turned on their on-body cameras. Greer was polite to Marthell once the camera was recording, according to he complaint.
Under APD’s policy, officers are required to record most interactions with the public.
Eden said in a statement issued Saturday that he found “items of grave concern” in Greer’s actions.
The chief said both officers have been on administrative leave since March 25, pending the internal affairs investigation. He said the investigation will examine both the excessive force allegations and possible lapel camera policy violations.
Police said it’s department policy not to discipline officers for misdemeanor arrests until after an internal affairs investigation. Felony arrests can be grounds for immediate dismissal, police said.
Greer began working for the department in November 2011 and was assigned to the Southeast Area Command.
On Saturday, police said Greer had one sustained policy violation in his personnel file, which stemmed from a citizen complaint filed in August 2013 by a woman who didn’t like the way he spoke to her 18-year-old daughter.
The woman said her daughter was grabbed inappropriately by a man at an Albuquerque business. When Greer responded, he told the 18-year-old that her skirt was too short and that she had a bad attitude, according to the complaint.
“I also have concerns that this officer responds to crimes committed against women,” the complainant wrote. “At least my daughter deserves an apology from officer Greer. I would also ask that officer Greer perhaps get sensitivity training on women’s issues.”
A criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court shows Greer facing a felony aggravated battery charge, but a spokeswoman for the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office said he is charged with a misdemeanor.
“The District Attorney’s Office has determined a clerical error resulted in officer Greer being arraigned on a felony charge, instead of a misdemeanor charge of aggravated battery,” Kayla Anderson said.
On Friday evening, Greer turned himself in to State Police headquarters and was booked into jail on $5,000 bail. He was released later that night.
Greer made his first appearance in Metropolitan Court on Sunday and remains free on bond.
Cedric Greer, 24