New Mexico Disabled Woman Getting $300K Settlement

September 24, 2020

New Mexico State Police have reached a $300,000 settlement with a disabled woman who accused an officer of grabbing and handcuffing her after she refused to provide ID in 2016.

Jessica Guttman claimed in her 2018 lawsuit that she and two friends were parked on the side of a highway looking at horses when Officer Kevin Smith pulled up with his cruiser’s lights flashing and asked what they were doing.

Smith wrote in his report that he had been sent to the site following a call from nearby prison officials who were suspicious of the women, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

Guttman, 45, gave her name to the officer and Smith asked to see her ID. Guttman refused and started walking away.

Smith grabbed Guttman’s arms and placed them behind her back while trying to handcuff her.

Guttman said in her lawsuit that the incident caused her so much anxiety she fell to the ground and had seizures. Guttman had suffered a traumatic brain injury earlier in her life and has difficulty communicating verbally, she said in her lawsuit.

“It would have been reasonably apparent to a well-trained officer that Ms. Guttman is or may be disabled,” the lawsuit said.

Smith wrote in his report at the time that Guttman “refused to calm down” and that she tried to bite an officer who was attempting to “support her as she thrashed.”

He added that he determined that Guttman and here friends were not parked “for malicious intent, rather they were there for the horses.”

Two state police spokesmen, Dusty Francisco and Ray Wilson, did not respond to questions from the Associated Press about the case or Smith’s current employment status.

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