A New Mexico State Police officer was arrested last week after he assaulted a tow truck driver attempting to tow his vehicle. The officer, Charles Vernier, was caught on camera choking the tow truck driver for over eight minutes before local police intervened.
Vernier was off duty and in plain clothes on the day of the altercation, and police didn't realize he was a cop until after he was arrested.
On film, the driver’s wife is heard unsuccessfully begging Vernier to stop choking her husband.
Vernier continued choking the man when police arrived. It was only when a Los Luna police officer was about to tase Vernier that he let the man go. After he released the tow truck driver, Vernier and a Los Lunas police officer exchanged a few words before Vernier took off running. He promptly tripped over himself and was apprehended by police.
After he was handcuffed, Vernier tried to tell police the tow truck driver first assaulted him. This claim is not supported by witnesses or surveillance tapes. Vernier also claimed a Los Lunas officer assaulted him when he took off running.
“I was walking away from you and you used an excessive amount of force,” Vernier is heard on film saying. The tape proves this claim is completely bogus.
Vernier was already placed on administrative leave by the New Mexico State Police department while investigators evaluated him to see if he was mentally fit to be a police officer. It looks like the answer to that question is a resounding “no."
Here’s the footage: