Sheriff Tommy Rodella of Rio Arriba County, New Mexico has been convicted by a federal jury on charges of threatening with a firearm, assault and violation of civil rights for a roadside attack on a motorist while off duty, an attack his son joined in on.
Rio Arriba Sheriff Tommy Rodella, 52, was immediately handcuffed and taken into custody over his attorney’s objections and the cries of his wife, State Rep. Debbie Rodella, following his conviction in Federal court, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
According to court documents, the incident began when an off-duty Rodella tailgated motorist Michael Tafoya, making a “come on” gesture to him.
Rodella, who was in his personal car accompanied by his son, Thomas Rodella Jr., gave chase after Tafoya sped away. After trapping Tafoya, the two men pulled him from his car and onto the ground where Tafoya begged the men not to kill him as the older Rodella brandished a handgun.According to Tafoya, Rodella Jr. told him the older man with a gun was the sheriff. When Tafoya asked to see his badge, Rodella reportedly grabbed Tafoya by the hair and said, “Here’s my badge, motherf*cker,” and punched him in the face with it multiple times…
Following the conviction of Rodella, U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez issued a statement saying, “Today a federal jury found that in attacking an innocent civilian, Sheriff Rodella chose to abuse his power rather than uphold his oath to protect the public. I commend the victim who testified in this case for having the courage to step forward and assert his civil rights, and for trusting the Department of Justice to protect him. I am hopeful that today’s verdict brings a measure of justice to the victim and the people of Rio Arriba County.”
Rodella apparently has a long history of appalling actions, some of which got him removed as a magistrate by the New Mexico Supreme Court.