Surveillance video is sending a New Mexico jail guard to criminal court for knocking out a handcuffed prisoner, body slamming him on a concrete floor in a detention area when he wasn’t posing any threat to the safety of officers.
Now Dona Ana County detention officer Luis Ruiz is being charged with aggravated battery resulting great bodily harm for “guiding the Black to the floor”. Ruiz has been with the correctional department since April 2010, now possibly faces being on the other side of the bars.
After throwing Black to the ground and knocking him out, the officers are seen continuing to strip the man of his clothing as six other officers standby and watch. None of the officers watching seem to reach as the man is laying there not moving. Even after he is pulled up to his knees against medical protocol for possible head or neck injuries, no officer is seen reacting to intervene or administer medical assistance.
Black was unable to soften the blow or protect himself from the fall with his hands already cuffed behind him. Medical personnel were called to assist and evaluate Black, where they treated him. A nurse from Las Cruces Hospital later confirmed Black had lost consciousness.
Black was searched a second time while standing against the wall after being evaluated for his injuries.
Ruiz claimed Black had attempted to kick him while he was searching his legs. The other officer who was assisting him could not collaborate Ruiz’s claim. After reviewing the video New Mexico State Police investigator, Erika Contreras, determined Black did not attempt to kick him.
Black who was arrested for “resisting or obstructing officers”, also known as contempt of cop charges, after reporting of him welding a knife.
On January 19, Contreras initally wrote in her report prosecutors initially declined to bring charges against Ruiz, however the District Attorney’s Office disputed that claim and stated they were still reviewing the video.
The county jail administrator, Christopher Barela, stated internal investigation immediately ordered and is an ongoing investigation into policy and procedures.
“We have an obligation to the community and to the detainee population to ensure this facility operates in a humane and professional manner at all times,” Barela said in a statement. “A full investigation will allow the management team to fully evaluate what happened and why, so that appropriate disciplinary action — if any — can be taken.”