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Las Cruces settles suit claiming ‘rough ride’ after arrest

October 4, 2021 GMT

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — The Las Cruces Police Department has settled a lawsuit by a man who claimed he was seriously injured during an arrest by a former officer.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reported Monday that records show the City of Las Cruces quietly settled with Warren McCowan for $180,000 in March but admitted no wrong doing.

In turn, McCowan filed a motion to dismiss the suit with prejudice.

In the suit, McCowan said Officer Mark Morales arrested him in August 2015 for driving while intoxicated. En route to the jail, Morales allegedly placed McCowan in the back seat but did not secure him with a seatbelt. The officer then deliberately drove at a high speed and jerked his vehicle so that McCowan would bounce around.

According to McCowan, he was slammed around “like a ping pong ball.” He also said he suffered a torn shoulder when officers yanked him up from the floor. The shoulder injury later required surgery.

McCowan’s attorney says Morales had no body camera and cameras at the jail weren’t working that day.

Morales resigned from the police department in August 2019. He had been on administrative leave for an unrelated matter.