ACLU lists concern over treatment of New Mexico journalist

Oct 10, 2019

ESPANOLA, N.M. (AP) — Attorneys have taken an initial step toward filing a lawsuit against a New Mexico sheriff's office accused of retaliating against a journalist.

Leon Howard, of the American Civil Liberties Union, says a tort claims notice has been sent to the Rio Arriba County Sheriff's Office.

The notice outlines concern that Sheriff James Lujan and his department infringed on the free press rights of Tabitha Clay, a reporter for the Rio Grande Sun, as she reported on a deputy who deployed a stun gun on a special needs student in May.

Former Deputy Jeremy Barnes is charged with child abuse and false imprisonment in that case.

Howard says the ACLU continues to investigate several accusations, including one that Barnes and another deputy parked outside of Clay's home in September.

The county attorney did not respond to a message seeking comment.