Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Roswell Official Arrested at Game
By Trip Jennings
Journal Capitol Bureau
SANTA FE House Minority Whip Dan Foley was arrested Sunday evening after an altercation with Roswell police during a youth basketball tournament.
Police charged him with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and obstructing an officer petty misdemeanors.
But Foley, known as an excitable and bombastic lawmaker, contends he was coming to the aid of his 14-year-old son, who he says was shoved to the ground by an opposing coach.
Foley said that he didn't do anything wrong and that he intends to fight the charges.
"I'm not going to apologize for defending my kid against a full-grown man," said Foley. "If it was my kid, or anybody's kid, I'd do it again."
He also disputed that he resisted arrest or argued with the Roswell police officers.
"I was calm," Foley said.
He said he'll plead not guilty at an arraignment that could come as early as today in Roswell municipal court.
The Roswell Daily Record quoted a mall security officer at the Gus Macker basketball tournament as saying that during one of the games played in the mall parking lot an incident flared up between Foley's son and another player.
According to Cpl. James Glenny, the mall security officer, a coach stepped in during the altercation between the players and allegedly pushed Foley's son. That's when Foley rushed the court.
"The coach was straddling players on the ground and pushed (Foley's) son. (Foley) started to get onto the court and between them. He got about three steps onto the court before police stepped in," Glenny said.
Glenny would not comment further, a mall spokesman said Monday.
Foley, a Republican legislator from Roswell, said Monday that other basketball players were fighting and his son ran onto the court to join in.
He said the coach then shoved his son to the ground and Foley ran onto the court, where he was tackled by what he later learned were Roswell police officers.
He was the only person arrested, even though other adults ran onto the court, Foley said.
"They didn't do anything to the guy who shoved my son," Foley said.
Roswell Deputy Police Chief Scott Douglass would not comment on Foley's arrest, the events leading up to it or whether Foley was the only person arrested.
He said police are investigating the incident and refused to release the police report until the case is disposed of.
Foley was taken to the Chaves County Detention Center on Sunday evening. He was released hours later after he paid a $900 cash bond, according to the detention center.
Foley, who has served in the House since 1999, is known for being outspoken and passionate at times.
In 2001, he wrote a terse note to fellow Republican lawmaker Ron Godbey after they feuded following an acrimonious battle over the chairmanship of the State Republican Party.
Foley had supported John Dendahl against Godbey.
"Godbey is a dead man!!!" said the note that Foley wrote. Godbey took the note seriously and he had a State Police escort accompany him at the Capitol.
Foley said later he was simply making a political observation about Godbey, not threatening his life.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.