A New Mexico State Police officer has resigned after attacking a repo man attempting to repossess his car.
Former officer Charles Vernier was arrested and charged with aggravated battery and interference with a police officer after his fellow officers were called to a disturbance at his residence. When the arresting officers arrived on scene, Vernier had the repo man held in a choke hold. At the time of his arrest, Vernier was already on paid suspension while State Police conducted an investigation to see if he was ‘mentally competent’ to serves as an officer.
Vernier alleges that the repo man shoved him while he was attempting to retrieve his anxiety medication from his vehicle. . Vernier has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder since responding to an accident that resulted in the death of a child he knew.
Vernier held the man in a choke hold for more than 8 minutes claiming that he was ‘restraining him’ for assault. When police officers arrived, Vernier assumed they were coming to provide him back-up. Threatening him with tazers, the officers demanded Vernier release his hostage. Incredulous, Vernier demanded that they handcuff the repo man, but the officers wouldn’t budge. When they attempted to place Vernier under arrest he attempted to flee. Vernier tripped and fell where he was quickly handcuffed and arrested. Although the entire encounter was caught on video, Vernier insists that he was simply walking away and that the fellow officers used ‘excessive force’ causing him to fall on the ground.
There is no video evidence to support Vernier’s claim that the repo man assaulted him first, and no eyewitnesses have supported his claim. The repo man was not arrested.
In an interview with Action 7 News, Vernier said that he has resigned to take better care of his mental health. “It’s time to concentrate on my mental health and getting to a better state in life. It was a hard decision to make, but I have been going through some mental health counseling for the last several months and I really need to focus on that.”
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