Sunday, September 14, 2008
Cop in Taped Attack Fired
By Hailey Heinz
Journal Staff Writer
The Albuquerque police officer who was caught on camera attacking a KOB-TV cameraman has been fired from APD, Chief Ray Schultz said Saturday.
Daniel Guzman, who had been on paid administrative leave since July, was fired late Thursday, Schultz said. Per normal APD protocol, an independent review officer investigated the case and reported his findings to Schultz, who then made the decision to fire Guzman.
"I studied the case all last weekend," Schultz said.
Guzman's firing stemmed from a May 29 incident in which he was caught on camera attacking veteran cameraman Rick Foley. Foley was covering a police standoff near Copper and Charleston NE when Guzman told him to move to a different location, according to a criminal complaint. Foley was some distance from police cars blocking the street and asked for Guzman's name and badge number.
What happened next was captured on Foley's camera. The video shows Guzman pacing and sizing Foley up, then lunging at him. Foley was handcuffed and cited for refusing to obey an officer, according to the complaint. He was eventually released, and the charges against him were dropped.
The incident prompted APD to draft new guidelines for interactions between police and the media. Specifically, the new policy requires that officers contact a supervisor or public information officer — not initiate an arrest — if they believe a reporter or photographer is disobeying a lawful order. The policy, which was drafted with input from local media outlets, became official within the past two weeks, Schultz said.
Guzman's training has also been questioned in the wake of the incident. He was transferred to APD from the Albuquerque Public Schools Police Department in April 2007 and consequently spent less time in APD's academy than a normal cadet. Most incoming officers complete a 24-week class with the academy, while Guzman only went through a six-week class. Schultz said Saturday that Guzman's transfer had "nothing to do" with the issues at hand and that he had no plan to evaluate the lateral transfer policy.
"Our standards exceed the state standards," Schultz said. "The fact he was a lateral had nothing to do about it."
Guzman has the option to appeal his termination, either within the department or in District Court.