Charges were dropped against a drunken driving suspect who lost a testicle when an Albuquerque police officer kicked him in the groin, and the law student then filed a lawsuit against the cop.
Jeremy Martin, who studies law at the University of New Mexico, was stopped April 25, just days after the U.S. Department of Justice issued a harsh review of the police department’s use of excessive force.
Officer Pablo Padilla ordered the 25-year-old Martin out of his vehicle and told him to sit on the curb, but police said he refused.
One of Martin’s friends used a cell phone to record the encounter, and Padilla’s lapel camera also was recording video and audio.
“Sit down or I’m going to mace you,” the officer tells Martin, who dares him to do so.
“Mace me, please,” Martin says. “I would love for you to mace me, that would be fantastic.”
Martin initially sits down on the curb but then stands up and asks to "talk things out," but the officer tells him "this isn't a debate" and points a Taser at him.
The man’s attorney said Padilla lost his temper, and the lapel camera video shows the officer shove Martin into the side of the vehicle, kick him in the groin, and throw him to the ground.
“Stop using aggressive force,” Martin says. “Don’t kick me in the nuts.”
His attorney said the kick caused Martin’s testicle to shatter and break apart, and it had to be surgically removed the night of his arrest.
Martin appeared last month in court to face the charge of driving while intoxicated and possession of marijuana, but a judge dropped the charges after Padilla’s own lapel camera showed him destroying evidence.
The video shows him grab the friend’s cell phone and delete the video, and a judge granted a motion last week to suppress Padilla’s testimony because he “intentionally and in bad faith destroyed evidence.”
Without the officer’s testimony, prosecutors were unable to make a case against Martin and dropped the charges.
Martin’s attorney said Padilla was suspended six weeks for his use of excessive force but has not been disciplined for destroying evidence.
A spokesman for the police department declined to discuss the case, saying it was a personnel matter, but he agreed that citizens are legally permitted to record arrests and that officers typically need a search warrant to look through the contents of a cell phone.
Martin sued Albuquerque and its police department, alleging Padilla used excessive force, and his attorney wants the officer indicted for tampering with evidence.
Watch lapel camera video of the incident posted online by ProgressNowNM: