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RAW VIDEO: Cop Beating Up Teen
About this Video
Submitted By: pvasquez on January 20, 2010
About the Video: By Kiera Hay
Journal Staff Writer

Santa Fe city government on Wednesday released a surveillance video showing a four-year veteran of the Santa Fe Police Department pummeling a handcuffed teenager at the Santa Fe Police Station as two other officers look on.

The tape shows officer David Smoker — who was fired after the incident — throwing 17-year-old Brendon Singer to the floor and delivering blows to the teenager's head, buttocks and spine.

Two other officers, Robert Hollingsworth and David Rael, appear to stand by and watch the attack unfold. Hollingsworth also was fired and Rael was disciplined.

“After Brendon spat at officer Hollingsworth, David Smoker unleashed a violent physical attack upon Brendon. The attack was captured by the surveillance camera. Brendon offered no resistance to the beating,” said a summary of the incident written by city attorneys.

The summary said Singer and his fellow arrestee, a 14-year-old male, were “heavily intoxicated” the night they were taken into custody on Nov. 16, 2007. The two boys were handcuffed and seated in chairs in the station's “patrol bay,” a room where officers bring detainees to complete paperwork.

“These juveniles were being extremely belligerent, loudmouthed, obnoxious, and were directing obscenities towards the officers ... his abuse of the officers continued for a considerable amount of time and created a stressful and tense situation,” the summary of evidence said.

At one point, Singer spits on Hollingsworth while the officer's back is turned. The tape then shows Smoker moving toward Singer and kicking a wastebasket between the teenager's feet.

In response, “Brendon is seen closing his knees in apparent attempt to protect his testicles from being struck by the kick. Brendon also lowers his head and raises his knees and tries to curl up in ball. Officers Hollingsworth and Rael are watching the kick,” city documents state.

The tape shows Smoker smacking Singer across the neck and shoulder, grabbing him and throwing him to the floor. Smoker then takes hold of the teenager's head and slams it against the tile floor. He next slams Singer's head against a steel door casing.

Singer is then raised to his feet, and Smoker jams his left knee into the 17-year-old's buttocks. He then uses his right knee to deliver a blow to Singer's spine. After the attack, Smoker kicks a wastebasket as he walks away.

Hollingsworth and Rael simply watch the scene unfold.

Smoker was fired after the incident, as was Hollingsworth, a 12-year veteran of the department, who was accused of intentionally providing false statements during a subsequent investigation. Rael, an 11-year employee, received a 40-hour suspension. A hearing officer upheld the city's disciplinary decisions in June 2009.

Singer, described in city documents as a 17-year-old “Native American foster child,” settled with the city for $15,000. Apparently, no lawsuit was ever filed in the case.

“The surveillance DVD demonstrates that Officer Smoker used excessive force, battered a handcuffed juvenile and engages in conduct unbecoming to an officer,” the incident summary states.

It adds, “Officers Hollingsworth and Rael obviously saw Officer Smoker's kick, slap and takedown, yet failed to respond in any way to stop the attack. They failed to render any assistance or protect the rights of this juvenile. Thus, their failure to act in this situation constitutes conduct unbecoming to an officer.”

The city's police union supported the appeals of Smoker, Hollingsworth and Rael. Union president Allan Lopez said Wednesday that the organization's main objection was the severity of the punishment meted out to Smoker and Hollingsworth. There's a difference between engaging in criminal activity and breaking with standard policy, he said.

“It's called progressive discipline. We're saying (the punishment) didn't need to be the last resort,” Lopez said.

Lopez also said the union has concerns that punishment at the police department isn't administered equally across the board.

Police Chief Aric Wheeler said “appropriate action was taken” by the city.

“This was something that took place under Chief (Eric) Johnson's administration. He dealt with it as he felt (he needed) to deal with it, and the officers had consequences for their actions,” he said.

The city fired another officer, Flavio Salazar, last year for allegedly lying to other members of the police department and to a grand jury about what happened in a case involving an elderly and disabled man who was arrested in 2007 and jailed for allegedly assaulting Salazar. The victim received a payout of $225,000.

Another Santa Fean, Yvette Ortega, was paid $60,000 last year after filing a lawsuit alleging she was assaulted and wrongfully charged by two city police officers after the police were called to a Cerrillos Road nightclub.
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Comments (16)
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HisTruth commented on February 02, 2010
It starts at home! If these kid's were brought up right at home, taught respect, taught the right way how to live life and be responsible law abiding citizens from their parents from day one there would not be these types of problems. But then again what type of people are their parents? Kid's learn from the parents. Put yourself in a police officers roll in today's world. Feel and know what their working days and inviornment are like having to deal with these types of lude people every day. Funny when people like these teens and or their family need help they can sure call the police for help and protection. Oh but that's different then right? I think these officers should get their jobs back. Then the word will get around that the cops will not put up with crap. You get what you deserve!
lonewolf commented on January 27, 2010
dont matter what took place in this video. it was wrong, where are the social srevecs know.know we all know better that one govering body punish the other. thats why the money was payed. you drop charges, we pay money???
Disgusted commented on January 25, 2010
Let's get the real facts! This video was altered by the Santa Fe Police Department. The IA investigation wasn't properly conducted and a lot of documentation wasn't entered. No one lied! No one was hiding or denied anything who was involved. When the officers demanded to be given a polygraph to prove it, they were Denied. Why? Simple, because this way the department could say the officers lied or was hiding something. Let's not forget the City protecting the IA Lieutenant who was charged and convicted of Aggravated DWI. Yet, he is currently on paid administrative leave. Why? I guess the politics that be by current Mayor. Yet, the video shows four officers, one who puts his hand to cover his eyes, and yes that was proven in the hearing..Yet he was exonerated! So before we start slandering and deformation of character sheriff, I be careful! I would worry about a certain administrative person you currently have on video making out with another administrative person from the Santa Fe police department. Yes, there is a full video of that, not altered.
f23a commented on January 23, 2010
this was a beating and it does not matter that he informed his chief. if any citizen hit a 14 year old and reported it they would go strait to jail its tiring seeing cops hiding behind their badge this cop is more of a criminal than the boy he is beating. mabe he should learn to be a grown man before he tries to be a cop. All those cops are in the wrong
Between the Lines commented on January 22, 2010
The police and the media wants us to believe what they put out there for us to watch and read. So...I ask why don't we as the public say we are not going to take it and boycott this story. Here are the following points I see right away that make reporting this video and story very irresponsible or "political­", how ever you want to describe it. Either way...IT STINKS OF AN UNDERGROUND AGENDA (by who we will never know). Maybe Larry Barker should investigate! - Missing just under 2 minutes of video. Police might claim that the video can't be altered, but that's a bunch of bull...ummm...h­ello the video has to be converted to a digital format (which is editable) to release to the press... - Can't hear any audio, which means we have no idea what is being said only visual... - Look closely to the officer standing with dark hair...when David Smoker (the blond) is on the ground...the dark hair officer looks back to his left to his lower back as if he is checking out where the teen had spit on him (in the missing footage)...hmmm­...I would do that too if I had just been spit on. - This is just being released now (2 years later)? Whoa...that means someone is pushing this as an agenda to fit with something else that is going on now... I agree with RedDog and Truth be guys are smart, there is more here than meets the eye and I believe it is being painted as something it's not, that's just wrong. I am not defending the officers reaction, but seriously guys, you want us to believe what we see, give us the missing 2 minutes and then we will truly be able to take this story seriously. I would suggest continuing to complain on this story anywhere it is being told until they give us the complete footage. My message to the police and the media is this...don'­t put out video or write a story when obviously, we the public know that it's not the complete "RAW" video or story. I am sick and tired of the media thinking we are all stupid.
Truth be Told commented on January 22, 2010
WOW..Red Dog...You hit right on the nose!!!!! If this incident was so critical, it should have been shown at that time. Not to mention...the kid did not press charges so why was he allegedly paid $15,000 by the city? What's even funnier is the title of the video is RAW can edited tape be RAW? Corruption never ends well...the truth will eventually prevail!
RedDog commented on January 21, 2010
One question nobody is asking about this video is the timing of its release. Why is this just coming out now? This incident is over two years old. If this is something worthy of releasing to the public, shouldn't we hear about this right away? Believe me, I'm not defending what happened here. I just think that there are probably political motives for the timing of the release. Just remember that there's a mayoral election soon in Santa Fe, and David Coss is running for re-election. He and others in his administration have come under a lot of fire lately for supposedly tolerating corruption in the police department. I bet you this was released now so he can claim he's "tough on bad cops." It all stinks, and both the cops and the dumb, drunk kids are being used to advance someone's sick political agenda.
Truth be Told commented on January 21, 2010
Has anyone noticed that 2 minutes of this video is missing? Section missing at 15:06:14 until 15:08:08. Obviously this is defamation of character against the officers. What you all didn't see was the teenagers taunting and spitting on the officers...that­'s the missing section you can't see. Curious why the reporters didn't investigate the missing 2 minutes and reported irresponsibly without the all the facts. Show us the missing 2 minutes then we will have the full story.
Ann commented on January 21, 2010
Why does the boy at the end have no jacket on, and POOF he has a jacket on? And the officer standing by the boy at the end wasnt there at the beginning of the tape, and the officer in the middle of the room just appear when the boys jacket was there? How many seconds, minutes are missing from this tape? Although, it looks like abuse we really dont know what happened and if this is just a procedure the officers use to gain the attention of a drunken adolecent. Yes, he took the child down but we will NEVER know what happened prior because this tape is altered. He did spit on the officer who knows what else those officers were subjected to..and for how long. All we see is a few seconds of tape, and which is altered....
mark commented on January 21, 2010
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