- Associated Press - Friday, April 8, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A man who says he suffered a medical episode on his way to work has filed a lawsuit accusing an Albuquerque police officer of denying him treatment and unlawfully arresting him on suspicion of driving while intoxicated - a charge he says was later dismissed.

Gary Martinez filed the lawsuit Thursday in federal court, saying the ordeal forced him to spend two months behind bars.

The Albuquerque Police Department, the city and Officer Jason Brown are named as defendants. City attorney Jessica Hernandez did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Martinez was on parole at the time of his arrest and driving a vehicle with a court-ordered ignition interlock - a breath-testing device that prevents a car from starting if alcohol is detected in a driver’s system. Martinez has a seizure disorder, according to the lawsuit.

His attorney on Friday suggested the interlock device should have indicated to police that Martinez could not have been intoxicated.



“It’s another thing that makes you scratch your head,” said Edward Chavez, an Albuquerque attorney.

According to the lawsuit, officers ordered Martinez to undergo several field sobriety tests while dealing with his medical condition. Brown had Martinez arrested and booked at the Metropolitan Detention Center despite finding no open alcohol containers in the vehicle. He also refused to allow emergency medical workers to examine Martinez, the lawsuit said.

Martinez later agreed to a breath alcohol test, which he passed. A blood test also showed no signs of alcohol in his system, the lawsuit said.

Within weeks, the district attorney’s office dropped the case, but Martinez remained jailed for roughly two months awaiting a parole violation hearing.

The lawsuit seeks attorney’s fees and an undetermined amount of compensation for damages.

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