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New Mexico Officer Fired after Off-Duty Fight

Albuquerque Journal via YellowBrix

December 16, 2009

In a recording of 911 call, Detective Martinez can he heard telling officer Rodella, “You can’t be doing that (expletive), bro.” He also told a dispatcher, “They just came in here and broke a bunch of (expletive) and beat up a couple of guys.”

Chief Gonzales said he sent Eugene Rodella – who was placed on paid administrative leave after the incident – notice on Nov. 23 that he was contemplating termination after an internal affairs investigation was concluded. The chief then met with Rodella, who gave his side of the story. After consulting with the department’s deputy chiefs, Gonzales made a final decision to fire Rodella, the chief said.

Rodella can appeal the decision through a city grievance officer. Efforts to reach the Rodellas since the October fight have been unsuccessful.

According to the Rio Grande Sun, the hookah lounge and tattoo parlor closed down recently because of questions about whether the businesses were properly licensed.

Eugene Rodella is facing other possible action. He took part in an informal hearing Thursday with state Law Enforcement Academy Director Arthur Ortiz, where they discussed the tattoo parlor incident, Ortiz said Friday.

Rodella faces possible punishment from the board, which he had already been in hot water with stemming from a prior case involving domestic violence allegations, Ortiz said. In March, Rodella was placed on one year’s probation and other sanctions because of the previous case, which did not result in criminal charges.

With the latest alleged incident at the tattoo parlor, Rodella faces a potential five-year revocation of his law enforcement certification. If that sanction is imposed, he would have to go before the board after the revocation period to get recertified, Ortiz said. Rodella could also get lesser penalties, such as a lighter suspension period or more probation, or the matter could be dismissed by the law enforcement board altogether.

Ortiz said he will make a decision on what he intends to recommend to the board next week.

Whether Rodella face criminal charges from the October fight remains up in the air. District Attorney Angela “Spence” Pacheco has said her office continues to investigate.

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