A police sergeant in Grants, New Mexico was arrested for distribution of marijuana, conspiracy, and two counts of embezzlement. According to KRQE.com (in Albuquerque), Sergeant Rosier McKinney, 33, didn’t realize he left his lapel camera on as he entered his private office at the police station, grabbed the marijuana and drove to his girlfriend’s house. The footage reportedly then shows McKinney giving the cannabis to his girlfriend, Tanicka Gallegos-Gonzales, and telling her that it was for her father. Gallegos-Gonzales, 23, was also arrested on conspiracy and distribution charges. The two were booked at the Sandoval County Detention Center, although McKinney has reportedly already been released. It is unclear whether McKinney bailed out or what his bail was set at, if there existed any.
The body cam footage that sparked an investigation of McKinney led to other allegations. McKinney was accused of stealing eight ounces of marijuana and $785 in cash that were supposed to go into an evidence locker. McKinney was busted after Grants Police Chief Craig Vandiver discovered the footage and got in touch with the New Mexico State Police to further investigate. The town of Grants, NM is about 80 miles west of Albuquerque.
This story highlights yet another reason why police body cams should be mandatory and become just as typical of protocol as carrying their firearm and putting on a badge. Body cam footage should be released immediately after charges have been filed, not after a case has been closed. A neutral third party should then handle said footage to ensure it hasn’t been altered or tampered with. As the old saying goes, there are three sides to every story: yours, theirs and the truth. As many officers have no doubt said to average citizens: “if you’re doing nothing wrong, then you’ve got nothing to hide”. Cameras ensure objectivity, provide much-needed evidence for some cases, and are incapable of lying.
After committing a crime like this, it’s hard to imagine anyone keeping his or her job in just about any other profession. McKinney has not been fired, though. Instead, he has been put on administrative leave, also known as being given a paid vacation, as authorities continue to investigate his case. Which raises the question – what is there to investigate exactly? Of course, everyone deserves due process. If a private citizen though, were caught red-handed on camera, somehow stealing from the evidence room in a police station, how long would it take to convict them? Would they be released from jail, or even be permitted to post bail, mere days after being booked on multiple felonies? The age-old absurdity and hypocrisy of the war on drugs truly knows no bounds.