Trooper opens fire on minivan full of kids; faces no charges


A Tennessee family on vacation in New Mexico ended up being shot at by by state troopers after a vehicular moving violation went awry.  What’s more, the trooper who opened fire on them is facing no charges, and has many supporters demanding he be put back on the streets with a badge and a gun.

Trooper opens fire on minivan full of kids; faces no charges

The Incident

Oriana Farrell, 39, of Memphis, is a single mother who was hauling her five children (ages 6-16) through the American southwest on a family road-trip.   The trip was intended to be an educational experience for her children whom were home-schooled.

Oriana Farrell with her five children in June 2013. (Source: Family photo)

Oriana Farrell with her five children in June 2013. (Source: Family photo)

On October 28, 2013, on a desert highway 1,200 miles from home, the family minivan drew the attention of the New Mexico State Police.  Troopers had determined that her minivan had been traveling too fast and pulled the vehicle over to give her a speeding ticket.

Officer Tony DeTavis gave Ms. Farrell a fine for her driving, and told her that she could either pay the ticket or return to Taos — suspending the road trip — to contest it before a judge. After he returned to his vehicle, Farrell abruptly drove away.

The State Police proceeded to speed after her, following a policy of initiating pursuit no matter how trivial the offense.  Farrell again stopped the minivan for police.  One of the officers started shouting at Ms. Farrell to get out of her vehicle.  She complied and exited the vehicle, but when an officer attempted to grab her, Farrell’s 14-year-old  son instinctively got out and attempted to defend his mother.

After a short altercation with the officer, the boy and Ms. Farrell got back into the van.

Another officer arrived on scene and began smashing a passenger side window with his baton, shattering glass all over the children.  The van then began to speed away and another officer — identified as Officer Elias Montoya — drew his pistol and started firing shots at the back of the van.

The Aftermath

Farrell and her juvenile son were arrested without incident when they arrived at the Hotel Don Fernando.  The boy was later released and his mother is facing several serious charges: intentional abuse of a child, aggravated fleeing of a law enforcement officer, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Family vacation: a NM state trooper breaks open the window.  (Source: New Mexico State Police)

Family vacation: a NM state trooper breaks open the window. (Source: New Mexico State Police)

The family is now broken apart and children have been placed in other homes.

It is presumed that she fled the traffic stop due to possessing two marijuana pipes.  This again illustrates how the prohibition of arbitrary contraband material incites more dangerous situations and puts more lives at risk than it purports to save.  Had there been no law against possession of plant paraphernalia, there would have been no reason to flee, and no shooting would have taken place.

Officer Elias Montoya claimed his reasoning for opening fire was to immobilize the van — saving the family.  But he knew the van was full of children and at no point was he in life-threatening danger, drawing criticism from experts on the legality of the use of force.

“Reckless driving is not a reason to start shooting. You could have let them go and found them anyway.”

Even if there were not any children in the van, the officers were never in any danger and had absolutely no justification to fire at the vehicle.  One of the 6 unarmed occupants in the van could have been seriously injured or killed.  Recall that the genesis of the traffic stop was only speeding, not murder.

“Reckless driving is not a reason to start shooting,” said John Eterno, a criminal justice professor and former cop. “You could have let them go and found them anyway.”

Ms. Farrell wrote a letter from jail stating that she was trying to get her children away from a “terrifying individual” and that she is a devoted parent who has spent 16 years focused on the well being of her kids.  She calls the situation “injustice at its best.” As pressure mounted, Montoya was eventually fired, but has yet to face any legal repercussions for his reckless and potentially criminal use of force.  The district attorney seemed to think that firing upon the van was not worthy of charges, most likely due to the uniform worn by the shooter.

And while some have demanded greater punishment for reckless and irresponsible individuals like Elias Montoya, thousands of law enforcement supporters have rallied to reinstate the disgraced officer.

(Source: Facebook)

(Source: Facebook)

What’s worse — it isn’t only Facebook fans who apparently condone shooting at minivans.  New Mexico’s new director of the Law Enforcement Academy has begun formally training officers to shoot at fleeing vehicles.  The controversial director has the sole authority to determine the curriculum followed by every police cadet in the state.

These types of overreactions plague law enforcement throughout the nation, leaving many casualties in the wake.  The questionable use of force, the drug laws, and the policy of pursuing vehicles over minor offenses should all be carefully looked at.  Recall that Orenthal James Simpson was allowed to drive around for hours without being shot at.

One Response

  1. levi says:

    Enter the Pol Pot gang and the killing fields of arbitrary violence and death parroting as “law”. A “drivers license” in most states is under 30 bucks and is good for 5 years. The 1866 “Licensing Tax Cases” states a license is merely another term for a tax receipt. If you engage in a taxable activity then the receipt showing you paid the tax is also called a “license”. Now there are 1825 days on a typical license and costs 30 bucks. Divide the 30 bucks by 1825 and it equals 1.05 CENTS PER DAY to “drive”, is the revenue to the state. Now the fucking pigs are more than willing to kill, torture, perjure, fabricate, and hate the average American and lie to themselves first of all and then to the rest of us they are the thin blue line keeping anarchy away. It is their evil existence that is producing and promoting the majority of crime as the Supreme Court said some years ago that over half of the serious civil rights violations are committed by government. They know the criminal character of this communist occupation we call government. These pigs are the thugs to enforce communism. LICENSING OF ALL FORMS OF TRANSPORTATION IS THE 4th PLANK OF COMMUNISM. Very soon, THE PIGS WILL BE GETTING A BOUNTY FOR KILLING INNOCENT PEOPLE. That is the nature of the destruction of the legitimate forms of government by those who have not moral aspect to what they do. That was a crime and highly immoral to shoot someone using the pretext of collecting a penny a day in revenue for the state. America you are gone, the day of national punishment is very, very close when every social or government institution is collapsed. The only “glue” holding this corrupt society together is the finances are still available. When the dollar collapses its total chaos and the ones with guns took a oath to see to it this kind of evil would not be allowed if they were able to hold office. Instead they are the problem and forcing these evil practices on the nation. THE KILLING FIELDS OF POL POT CAMBODIA ARE SOON TO BE UNLEASHED ON THIS COUNTRY BY THE “government”.

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