son, Troy Pino,
30, died in University Hospital
in Albuquerque, New Mexico,
on June 11, 2002, following a brutal physical assault by a
The assault occurred on June 7, when Troy,
who resided in Las Vegas, NM,
was visiting a girlfriend, Hope Lucero, at her home in Santa
of Hope’s relatives and friends were also at the apartment complex, drinking
and partying. Reportedly, Troy
became intoxicated and was making a nuisance of himself,
badgering Hope’s 14-year-old son, Eddy Jr.
This was not typical of Troy,
who was usually wonderful with children, and whose own little girl, (born when
he was 20), was his pride and joy. When his common-law wife left him, taking
the child with her, Troy was
devastated. What had previously been a
problem of occasional binge drinking appears then to have escalated, especially
when he was in the company of party people.
Troy was not
threatening young Eddy or physically abusing him,
just mumbling incoherent comments, which made the boy uncomfortable. Eddy Jr. responded by phoning his sister and
asking her to pick him up and take him over to her house. The sister called Hope’s ex-husband, Edward
Lucero, (Eddy Jr.’s father), against whom Hope had
taken out a restraining order. That
restraining order had recently expired.
The sister also called Ed Lucero’s nephew, Justin Anaya, a
member of the Santa Rosa Police Department.
Eddy’s father, Edward Lucero, arrived first, accompanied by
a friend, Paul Gonzales, (a convicted felon who was dating Eddy Jr.’s sister). The
two men entered Hope’s apartment without permission and launched an attack upon
Troy, who, being intoxicated, could
offer little resistance, particularly since Edward Lucero weighed 260
pounds. Lucero knocked Troy
to the floor and kicked him repeatedly with
Three Santa Rosa Police officers then arrived at Hope’s
home. The two who filed reports state in
those reports that they were “dispatched,” but according to Police Chief Jesus Roybal, there are no dispatch records for that
evening. The first officer to arrive was
Ed Lucero’s nephew, Officer Justin Anaya, who at
that time was not a certified police officer. The second to arrive, Officer
Anthony Ortega, was not certified either.
The supervising officer, Officer Joe E. Martinez, arrived somewhat
later. He is Edward Lucero’s best
The arrival of his nephew seemed to make Edward Lucero even
more violent, and he switched from kicking Troy
to slugging him with his fists. Although
Troy was calling
out for help, Officers Anaya and Ortega made no attempt to stop the
assault. Instead, Officer Anaya sprayed Troy
in the face with mace.
Finally, Officer Joe Martinez arrived and terminated the
assault by physically restraining his friend, Ed Lucero. No arrests were made and no charges were
filed. The police did not take Troy
to the hospital, two miles away, for examination after the assault.
The following day, when Hope Lucero and Eddy Jr. were
leaving their apartment to drive Troy back to Las
Vegas, they were pulled over and detained
without cause by Officer Joe Martinez.
Officer Martinez made Troy
exit the vehicle and told him that he could not be in the presence of his
girlfriend’s son, despite the fact that Eddy Jr. was accompanying Troy
and Hope of his own free will. Martinez
made Hope and Eddy Jr. drive off, leaving Troy
stranded, which was a clear violation of the trio’s “right of
association.” He, then, placed Troy
under unauthorized surveillance. That, too, was totally illegal, as there were
no official complaints filed against Troy
by anyone. The fact that Officer
Martinez has admitted in a written report that he continued to follow Troy for
quite some time after Hope drove off causes us to wonder if the police may have
done something to Troy that evening to remind him that they were in
control. Otherwise, why would they watch
Troy spent the
night with a male friend who lived in the area. The following day, that friend noted a
failure in Troy’s health and called
the local EMTs.
Troy was admitted to Santa
spitting blood, and with an irregular ECG and severe "high panic"
potassium levels resulting from a muscle breakdown. In the emergency room, he described the
assault by Ed Lucero to the attending physician. (The Emergency Room report
was altered by blackening out the words "'beaten up' by some nameless
people" and replaced with
"'hit' by some nameless people”.)
On June 9, Troy was air
lifted to University Hospital. Life support was terminated less than 48
hours later due to multiple systems failure.
Determination of cause of death was complicated by the fact
that Troy had Cardio-vascular
Disease. Because of this prior
condition, his cause of death was listed by the OMI as from complications of
his aspiration pneumonia, which led to multi-organ system failure, most likely
secondary to impairment from substance abuse.
However, when my husband interviewed the physician who had attended Troy
in the emergency room, that doctor stated his belief that the beating Troy
suffered in the hands of Edward Lucero and his friend was a gross physical
insult that would have contributed significantly to the pre-existing condition
and very likely aggravated that condition to a critical limit.
In their undated reports, Officers Anaya and Martinez
refer to the events of June 7, 2002,
as “a disturbance.” Neither of their
reports contains the information that Ed Lucero and Paul Gonzales assaulted Troy
or that mace was used. To date, the
third officer, Anthony Ortega, still has not filed a report. It’s like he wants to pretend that he wasn’t
there, and since the dispatch records have mysteriously vanished, (if they ever
existed in the first place), there’s nothing on record to prove that he actually
Because the police reports were falsified, there would not
have been an investigation of Ed Lucero’s assault on our son if he hadn’t been
unfortunate enough to die. But, because Troy
did die, Patrolman Samuel Stephens of the NM State Police was assigned the task
of interviewing witnesses. When
questioned by Officer Stephens, both Officer Anaya and Officer Martinez lied, denying that any assault occurred, although
Officer Anaya did state that his mace “accidentally” went off.
There were seven other witnesses to Ed Lucero’s assault on Troy. Four of them gave statements to the State
Police attesting to the assault. Two
others refused to become involved by making statements, and a seventh witness -
a friend of our family who really would like to help us -- was intimidated by
threats of retribution by friends of Ed Lucero if she were to come forward with
It’s obvious that Officers Justin Anaya and Joe Martinez
filed false reports and lied to investigators in an attempt to protect their
uncle/best-friend, Ed Lucero. We want Ed
Lucero charged with battery, with an investigation into the possibility that
said battery strongly contributed to Troy’s
death. But the Santa Rosa Police have
conspired to make any legal action impossible for us. We can’t even file a civil suit, because
criminal and civil charges against individuals can be filed only if an arrest
has been made by the police. The police
not only refuse to arrest Ed Lucero, but Anaya’s and Martinez’s conspired "cookie-cutter" reports of the “disturbance” (which parrot
each other almost word for word) have been deliberately constructed to conceal
the fact that any assault took place.
The formula for this successful police cover-up seems to be
the following: No arrests + no victim taken to the E.R. + no police reports + no dispatch
records = THE CRIME NEVER HAPPENED (No
But the people who loved Troy
can’t let this go so easily. Troy’s
father was murdered when Troy was
six, and I raised my two sons as a single parent with the loving support of
grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
The loss of “their boy,” who “lit up the room when he entered,” has
broken the hearts of that extended family, as well as my own and those of Troy’s
brother and stepfather. Most tragic of
all, Troy’s daughter has lost a daddy who
thought the sun rose and set on her existence.
For the past nine months, our family has been waiting for
the District Attorney’s Office to act on this case. Our last communication with Assistant
District Attorney Joe Ulibarri (Las
Vegas) was on January
13, 2003. At that time D.A. Ulibarri told us that he needed to speak with his superior,
as his superior was considering closing the case without further action. We agreed to have a telephone conference
about this on January 27, 2003. That conversation never took place. Three times we have called the District
Attorney’s office to find out why our phone appointment fell through and to set
up another one, but D.A. Ulibarri will not return our
Is this what the American Justice System is all about? Even if Troy
had not died from the events of June 7, he was still battered, was the victim
of excessive use of force (mace), and was not given equal protection from an
unwarranted assault. Where is the
criminal complaint of "battery" and the possibility that it
contributed to the death of the victim?
Where is the chance for us to file a civil complaint for "denial of
equal protection against an unwarranted assault," for "conspiracy and
filing false police reports," for "unauthorized surveillance,"
for "failing to render medical assistance," for "detaining
without just cause", for "violating a right to freedom of
association" and for "improper police protocol"?
Why is there no Police Department's Internal Affairs Report?
I lost my first husband to an unsolved homicide in Albuquerque,
NM, many years ago. I was helpless to do anything to obtain
justice for that loved one. In the case
of my son, the possibility of justice does exist, but because Troy’s
assailant is the relative/best friend of two police officers, the chance of
achieving that justice is being denied us.
April 1, 2004:
Today we submitted 297 signatures to the count clerks office to petition the 4th NM Judicial District to
convene a Grand Jury. Only 200 were needed, and friends and family alike
secured them in a short amount of time. It seems that plenty of citizens have
been offended in years past by local law enforcement brutality and
The petition reads:
" .......to convene a Grand Jury to investigate the allegations of
battery, malfeasance, conspiracy, falsifying records, evidence tampering,
failing to prosecute, dereliction of duty, civil rights violations and any
other illegal acts committed by any individual of the Santa Rosa Police
Department or individuals associated with the battery and prosecution thereof,
in its relationship and/or contribution to the death of Troy Pino."
Bernadette S. Foster (Troy’s
Malcolm S. Foster (Troy’s