Dinelli: Sen. Candelaria wanted preferential treatment
--Being a State Senator does not give the New Mexico State Police primary authority and does not give him the right to demand a full escort out of town.
--Threatening to call the Governor on the cops clearly showed he was demanding preferential treatment because he is a State Senator.
-- Expecting to be escorted to another city was in fact out of line as well as his implied threat to call the Governor.
Given the amount of publicity generated by the story that Senator Candelaria was threatened, it is not at all surprising that the New Mexico political establishment reacted to the news. The problem is the reaction to the contents of the lapel camera video revealed a side of Senator Jacob Candelaria the public has never seen. His apology was appropriate and should be accepted by his constituents and law enforcement, but damage has been done to his reputation and it will take time to repair.
State Senator Jacob Candelaria has represented his constituents well and is up for election to another term on November 4. It is more likely than not he will be reelected because many believe he has done a good job, and besides, most of his constituents have probably voted. No doubt Candelaria’s concern for the safety of himself and his husband was justified, but his expectations to be escorted to another city was not at all appropriate. Law enforcement is supposed to investigate crimes. (Editors Note: During my lengthy career as a prosecutor and public official I was threatened 4 times both in person and on the phone.)
The 13-hour delay for the State Police to respond after he called for help needs explaining, but the delay is probably easily explained. What also needs explaining is why did Senator Candelaria call the New Mexico State Police and not the Bernalillo County Sherriff’s Office (BCSO) nor the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) which would have primary jurisdiction to investigate the threat. Candelaria should know this in that he is a licensed New Mexico Attorney.
Being a State Senator does not give the New Mexico State Police primary authority and does not give him the right to demand a full escort out of town. The State Police Officers acted appropriately telling the Senator that all they could do in investigate. Threatening to call the Governor clearly showed he was demanding preferential treatment because he is a State Senator.
Candelária did himself no favors and he should have shown far more restraint when talking to the New Mexico State Police. Expecting to be escorted to another city was in fact out of line as well as his implied threat to call the Governor. As a licensed New Mexico Attorney, Candelaria also knows full well that the State Police officers were on his property at his invitation and that they did not need any kind of a warrant as he said.
It is common knowledge that Senator Jacob Candelaria is running for Attorney General in 2022. It would be wise for Candelaria to realize that harassment calls and threats go with the territory of being an elected official, especially when your vocal about controversial issues. The lesson learned is not to ignore any threat, report it to law enforcement, let them do their jobs, but do not turn around and tell the media resulting in publicity proclaiming you have been victimized.
Senator Jacob Candelaria is politically smart enough to know that the content of the state police lapel camera video will wind up one day on a pollical opponent’s hit ads, especially if in fact he runs for New Mexico Attorney General who is the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the State. Law enforcement no doubt will take notice as to how he treated the State Police Officers.
Let’s hope a lesson has been learned, even though it was learned the hard way.