Saturday, May 29, 2010
Sheriff Arrests His Political Opponent
By Astrid Galvan
Journal Staff Writer
A Bernalillo County sheriff candidate spent more than an hour handcuffed in the back of a patrol car Friday, and the man who put him there is his opponent.
Joshua Timberman, 24, was arrested after meeting with Sheriff Manny Gonzales, a Democratic candidate in the election.
The incident started early this week, when Timberman, who is also running as a Democrat, received a letter from Santa Fe Magistrate Court saying a bench warrant had been issued for his arrest after he failed to appear at an arraignment for a speeding ticket there. Timberman said he was never notified of a court date and solicited Gonzales' help in clearing the matter.
Gonzales said Timberman called him and told him he wanted to resolve the warrant issue and wanted Gonzales to arrest him.
"Why would I want to be arrested?" Timberman asked. "I never called Manny and said, 'Please come arrest me.'"
But in an audio recording provided by the Sheriff's Department, he is heard saying he is turning himself in and should be arrested if the warrant is legal, which deputies found was the case.
Sheriff's Department spokesman Lawrence Koren said deputies had a verified warrant.
Timberman met with Gonzales at a coffee shop on Lomas and Broadway NE about 4 p.m. Friday. Also in tow were TV media crews and a handful of sheriff's deputies. Timberman said Gonzales notified the media.
Timberman and Gonzales talked for about 10 minutes before Gonzales ordered Timberman's arrest on the bench warrant. He was never booked into jail. Timberman's father bonded him out at Metropolitan Court.
Timberman criticized Gonzales' actions. "How could you handle that situation any worse?" he said. But Gonzales countered that Timberman asked to be arrested.
Sheriff candidate Pat Davis, another Democrat, called the arrest a political stunt.
"At the very least it's bad judgment, but I think a lot of people are going to see this as politically motivated and abuse of authority," Davis said.
Other candidates in the primary race are Democrats Geraldine M. Amato, Felix Nuñez, Marie Sisi Miranda and Joe R. Williams, and Republicans William Kurth and Dan Houston.