Frank Methola, 50 years old, a veteran law enforcement officer and Sheriff of the small town of Love, New Mexico, was charged with criminal charges this week for allegedly attempting to make an arrest outside of his jurisdiction and try someone in the process.
The allegations are not a shock to those who have had a past with Methola during his career. Not only because of what allegedly matched their description of an officer they said had a history of fraud and excessive use of force, but because they couldn’t understand that Methola was still working in the field. law enforcement agency.
The story is one of countless examples of a larger national trend of problematic cops happening around different agencies, even in the same state, and even get promoted in the process.
“Methola is the sheriff? You’re kidding me,” Steven Otero, who sued Methola for using force against him in 2006, told The Daily Beast. “I can’t imagine that he’s even still an officer. It’s ridiculous “.
Methola did not respond to a request for comment for this story.
According to a criminal complaint filed Monday, Methola is accused of impersonating a peace and air defense officer. Methola was driving in his Loving Police unit in August when he arrived in Carlsbad, New Mexico, a city about 12 miles away. According to the complaint, Methola attempted to intercept an unnamed driver in a Ford F-250 for unknown reasons.
The driver was “angry and screaming” at Methola because he knew Methola had no jurisdiction in Carlsbad, the lawsuit said. But Methola allegedly deceived the man and detained him, although no charges or citations have been made against the driver. After the incident, investigators tried to meet with Methola three times to testify but were unsuccessful, according to the lawsuit.
The Eddy County Sheriff’s Office, which has jurisdiction in Carlsbad and is tasked with giving neighborhood agencies the privilege of making arrests in the city, did not provide those rights to Methola , according to the complaint.
Mark Cage, Eddy County Sheriff, told The Daily Beast that no one in the Love Police Department, which has only four officers, has that authority.
Cage said Methola’s allegation came after his office referred the case to the Eddy County District Attorney’s Office. During the stop, Cage said his representatives responded to the scene and released the Methola man who had stopped and leaned over.
The District Attorney’s Office did not respond to a request for comment.
Cage said the stop was “significantly” away from where Methola was on patrol.
Before stopping, Cage said, he knew Methola was Loving’s sheriff, but said he didn’t have much interaction with him. “It was not a good thing,” he said of the incident, adding that since the August stoppage and the charges against Methola, he has learned more about the officer’s verifiable past. police.
“Yes,” he said, “he has had some problems in the past, I understand.”
Metola was first hired into the Love Police Department March and promoted to sheriff in August, days before the incident in question occurred, according to the department’s Facebook posts. The town has a population of less than 2,000.
The town’s mayor, Pete Estrada, did not respond to a request for comment.
Methola’s law enforcement career began in August 2001 with the New Mexico State Police, according to a lawsuit he filed against the agency after resigning in 2004.
In December 2003, Methola told an agency supervisor that he had attention deficit disorder. When asked for a psychological assessment, Methola argued that the exam was not “related” to his work and refused, according to the lawsuit. He also claims in the lawsuit that he was “harassed” during his time with the agency because of his Spanish and Italian heritage.
In 2004, Methola announced that he had been forced to resign by the State Police.
However, his wrongful termination lawsuit filed in 2005 was never grounded, because Methola repeatedly failed to serve the State Police in his case or respond to court requests court, according to legal records.
A State Police spokesman confirmed Methola worked for the agency from 2001 to 2004, but declined to release any information related to internal investigations or complaints against Methola .
In 2006, when Methola encountered Otero for the first time, the officer served as a deputy for the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office.
According to Otero’s lawsuit, Methola responded to a self-storage shipment in Los Lunas, New Mexico, owned by Otero to report a motorcycle stolen from one of these units. Things went south, however, when Methola allegedly put on his lawyer’s hat and began advising the man whose motorcycle was stolen that he could sue Otero.
After Otero told Methola he had stayed by the side, the deputy minister became “angry and hostile” and “ruggedly arrested him,” according to the lawsuit.
“Boom, he threw me in the car, handcuffed me and threw me in the car,” Otero told the Daily Beast.
According to the lawsuit, the charges of obstruction of Otero were dropped. Otero claims that after the incident, he went to Sheriff Richard Perea at the time to complain about Methola and was told he would do Perea a “favor” if he filed a lawsuit because he is said to be trying to escape from Methola.
However, when approached by The Daily Beast, Perea said he couldn’t remember if he said that.
Perea said he did not hire Methola but that police were part of the department when he became Sheriff in 2004. Perea said he left the department in 2007 and declined to comment on any disciplinary action. made against Methola during that time because it was a “HR Issue.”
But when informed of Methola’s new sheriff, Perea said, “Oh, oh,” and giggled.
Otero’s lawsuit was later dismissed after Otero said he was paid a sum of less than $3,000 and that Methola apologized to him in federal court. Court records show that the two sides agreed to a “mutual understanding”.
However, Otero said he has come across other cases in which Methola has been implicated, including another federal lawsuit filed in 2008 by a Los Lunas resident by a Los Lunas resident who alleges Methola has also used excessive force against them under good circumstances.
In the 2008 lawsuit, Dina Monarrez testified that Methola and another deputy entered her mobile home without warning and began rummaging through her living room without a warrant. When Monarrez confronted the officers and asked them to leave, Methola demanded her identification, threatened to deport her and then smashed her to the ground, according to the lawsuit.
Although Monarrez was not charged, the attorneys representing Methola who responded to Monarrez’s complaint argued that Methola’s actions were supported by probable cause — even though the filings do not state any crime. specifics that Methola is investigating.
Monarrez told The Daily Beast she still remembers that night and hears noises coming from her mobile home. “I think it was an intruder or someone going to rob the house,” she said.
Monarrez said that when she confronted officers about not having a warrant, only Methola became angry when she appeared to challenge his authority. “He got mad and immediately threw me on the floor.”
She described Methola allegedly grabbing her and banging her head on the floor, causing bruising on her face. She claims Methola told her, “You should go back to Mexico,” at one point.
Monarrez told The Daily Beast, still bewildered by the comment: “I was born in America here.
In March 2009, Monarrez’s suit was dismissed after the matter was independently resolved, according to court records. Monarrez told The Daily Beast she received a $20,000 payment.
In 2010, Methola was fired again when he was arrested by a local judge, who became disgruntled for not appearing in court over several charges he had received for allegedly driving. carelessly while chasing a robbery suspect, follow Albuquerque magazine. The citations came after the New Mexico State Police investigated the incident, according to the source.
Rene Rivera, sheriff of Valencia County from 2007 to 2010, said that after the incident with Monarrez — and two instances in which Methola allegedly “destroyed” a patrol unit — he moved to fired Methola from the Sheriff’s Office in 2010.
Orlando Montoya, human resources director for Valencia County, confirmed to The Daily Beast Methola had resigned in October 2010 “instead of being terminated.”
Rivera said that during her time at the Sheriff’s Office, Methola had some complaints about being “rude” with people of Mexican descent. However, he said he could not prove or disprove the allegations at the time.
He recalls talking to Monarrez after her meeting with Methola and advising her to explore her legal options. “It’s part of me,” he said, “but again, I don’t accept anything like that.”
Rivera said he also opened an investigation into the incident and he found that Methola did not conduct itself in a “proper law enforcement manner” throughout the incident. Following the investigation, Rivera said, he included documents to request that Methola cease operations.
Rivera said he heard about Methola traveling around other agencies after leaving the Sheriff’s Office. When he learned about Methola’s allegations in Loving, Rivera said he was surprised to learn that his former employee was the sheriff.
And when Monarrez learned of the charges in Loving, more than 300 miles south of Los Lunas, where she first encountered him, she couldn’t believe the officer was still practicing law.
“I think they’ll take his badge or license,” she said.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/loving-new-mexico-police-chief-frank-methola-charged-with-going-rogue-has-a-very-ugly-past?source=articles&via=rss New Mexico-loving Sheriff Frank Methola accused of going to Rogue has a very bad past