- Associated Press - Friday, March 14, 2014

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A New Mexico State Police officer who was fired after shooting at a minivan full of children near Taos will not get his old job back despite a new agreement, a state official said Friday.

Elias Montoya, who wanted to return to his former position, won’t be returning to the job, General Services Department spokesman Tim Korte said.

“There are no plans for him to do so,” Korte said.

The news came a day after state officials said Montoya and the New Mexico Department of Public Safety recently came to an undisclosed agreement.

It was unclear whether the agreement had financial terms, and the department said it couldn’t say if Montoya got his job back.

Montoya’s Albuquerque-based lawyer, Antonia Roybal-Mack, confirmed that her client and the Department of Public Safety, which oversees the New Mexico State Police, had come to an agreement. However, as part of the settlement, she said, she couldn’t comment further.

The 12-year veteran was fired in December after an internal investigation into his use of force during the Oct. 28 shooting. Video footage showed Montoya firing into a van with five children inside during a chaotic traffic stop.

The driver of the minivan, Oriana Farrell, of Memphis, Tenn., is facing charges of aggravated fleeing, child abuse and possession of narcotic paraphernalia stemming from the traffic stop and high-speed chase. She is free on a $50,000 cash bond.

Greg Williams, president-elect for the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, criticized the Department of Public Safety for withholding the settlement conditions from the public.

“If the officer is receiving money from the state, the public has a right to know how much,” Williams told the Santa Fe New Mexican. “And the public certainly has a right to know whether he is going to remain a state employee.”

Korte said state law prohibits the Risk Management Division from disclosing any information related to claims for damages or other relief against the State of New Mexico for 180 days once certain conditions are met.


Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, https://www.sfnewmexican.com

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