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Widow of Slain NM State Police Officer Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit


— June 14, 2021

The New Mexico Department of Public Safety is in hot water after the widow of a slain officer filed a lawsuit alleging wrongful death.


Police brutality has been in the news a lot over the last year, but what about police officers losing their lives in the line of duty while simply doing their job? This is what happened to Officer Darian Jarrott, and now his wife is filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the New Mexico Department of Public Safety. According to Gabriella Jarrott, her husband’s death was the result of the department’s negligence. The suit was filed on behalf of herself and her children as representatives of Jarrot’s estate.

Greyscale image of person pointing a gun at viewer; image by Max Kleinen, via Unsplash.com.
Greyscale image of person pointing a gun at viewer; image by Max Kleinen, via Unsplash.com.

Officer Jarrott tragically passed away back in February after being killed during a traffic stop. What happened, though? What were the events that led to Jarrott’s death? Well, according to the suit, the incident happened on February 4 on Interstate 10 near Deming. At the time, Jarrott had pulled over Omar Felix Cueva. Cueva, the suit notes, “was an extremely dangerous drug trafficker, which was known by Jarrott’s supervisors.” The suit further claims that “Homeland Security had been in contact with Cueva through a confidential informant, but instead of making an undercover arrest, they asked state police to make the arrest during a traffic stop instead.”

However, Jarrott’s supervisors never warned him of Cueva’s criminal background or why the feds wanted him arrested. To make matters worse, Jarrott was directed to do the traffic stop “without any backup or protective gear.” So, when Jarrott stopped Cueva and “asked him to get out, Cueva stepped out of the truck with a rifle and shot him multiple times, killing him.”

Sam Bregman, the attorney representing Jarrott’s family, said the incident could have been avoided if Darian had been properly informed and allowed to have backup and protective gear. He said, “Where was the backup…This is a guy who they know had weapons on him, they know he’s a criminal violent person doing drug deals with drugs on him. Where’s his backup?”

On top of all that, the lawsuit alleges the department “favored the safety of a confidential informant over Jarrott’s life.” It’s also important to note that Jarrott “Jarrott didn’t have the full training state police officers usually get because he originally started his career in law enforcement as a Department of Public Safety employee.” Back in 2015, his department merged with state police, which effectively made him a state police officer. 

After the fatal shooting, Cueva led state officers on a 40-mile chase “from Deming to Las Cruces where he was eventually killed in a shootout.” 

Sources:

Widow of murdered State Police officer files wrongful death lawsuit

Widow of slain New Mexico police officer to file wrongful death lawsuit after DHS ‘botched’ operation

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