New Mexico Police Chief Fired Likely Because He Attended Constitutional Rights Gathering

Here is an interesting story. Filled with he-said-he-said accusation. New Mexico police chief Shane Harger recently attended an event in Las Vegas held by a group that urges police officials to be mindful of the U.S. Constitution in the execution of their duties. But upon returning home from the convention, Harger was suddenly fired from his job as the chief of Jemez Springs, New Mexico because, he says, he has been called a “terrorist” for believing in the Constitution.

Chief Harger attended the Las Vegas gathering of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) to hear what the group had to say about its goals. Harger says he’d never attended such an event in the past and until the Vegas event was not a member of the group.

On the way to the CSPOA event, though, the chief suddenly found that his name had been placed on some sort of watchlist by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and he was harassed by TSA agents as he tried to board his plane.

Harger reported that when he got to the airport a man who briefly flashed a badge and claimed to be a “federal agent” (from what agency he would not say) informed the police chief that he was a “person of interest” and that he had to be detained.

The reason given by the TSA for his detention was that Harger was carrying a legally issued driver’s license under the name Braxton Haze, a name that Harger said he was using because he had been involved in a “high-profile” investigation that threatened his safety when he was a deputy in Valencia County. So he had his name legally changed during that time period. (He left law enforcement for a time after the 2013 case, but when he was hired by Jemez Springs he was hired under his real name.)

Harger was held for thirty-five minutes and his interrogation was video taped. He was not charged with anything and subsequent attempts to get a copy of the video have been ignored by the federal government.

While at the CSPOA event, Chief Harger signed the Resolution of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, a pledge that police officers will, “obey and observe limitations consisting of the enumerated powers as detailed within Article 1 Section 8 of the U S Constitution and the Bill Of Rights.”

When Chief Harger returned home, however, he discovered that Sandoval County, NM Sheriff Douglas C. Wood had intervened with his city, Jemez Springs, and demanded that the city fire the chief and disband the police department.

Sheriff Woods also demanded that Chief Harger surrender his county special deputy commission for “liability and public safety reasons.”

After this story was broken by Sam Bushman of the website Liberty Roundtable, the local newspaper made to “correct” some of the facts of the incident noting that Sheriff Woods did not disband the Jemez Springs department nor fire Chief Harger because, in fact, the Sheriff has no such power to do so.

The paper also stated that the Chief had not been fired. But Harger himself reported that he was brought before a meeting of the town council and told he was fired and that his firing was decided in a closed-door meeting to which he was not a party.

“I have been terminated I have been fired at council meeting tonight they let me go with no reason as to why,” Harger told Bushman on February 12.

Still, it appears that the city reversed itself and decided to put him on “desk duty” pending further actions. But even at that Harger told the media that the city demanded that he take away the badges and IDs from his officers.

Harger still insists that his treatment is tied to his association with the CSPOA, but city officials dispute that.

So, what do you all think of this morass of a story?

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  • Brucehenry

    This CSPOA outfit, looking briefly at its resolution, seems to be reserving for itself the power to decide which warrants and policies are “constitutionally compliant.” They sound like nutjobs. I don’t know if they’re DANGEROUS nutjobs, but I detect a distinct nutty aroma wafting from their direction.

    • warnertoddhuston

      Of course, YOU would think that any group that feels the Constitution has limits are “dangerous nutjobs.” That is a given.

      • Brucehenry

        LOL No I’m reserving judgement until I find out more. Just giving my initial impression. Sounds kooky to me but maybe I’m wrong.

    • Retired military

      “This CSPOA outfit, looking briefly at its resolution, seems to be reserving for itself the power to decide which warrants and policies are “constitutionally compliant.””

      Sounds like the Obama admin to me.

      • Brucehenry

        Well, this outfit may be as American and normal as apple freaking pie, but this “Liberty Round Table” website Warner has linked to is absolutely nutty.

        Articles about how Freemasons rule the world and how Hitler escaped and lived in Argentina with a wink and a nod from the Truman administration are the normal stuff. I’m going back now to immerse myself in almond-flavored goodness.

        • warnertoddhuston

          I agree that the website is not one I would support, but they had the story first so I had to credit them with it. I’ll note that they got some of the details wrong in the beginning and I did not report the false stuff.

          • Brucehenry

            Well I’m glad you cleared THAT up, because here’s a good ‘un from this cesspool:


            I would definitely distance myself from these kooks, but I would also look with skepticism on ANYTHING they reported, whether first, last, or in the middle.

          • warnertoddhuston

            If you’ll notice, many of the links above go to local media, not blogs. So, I didn’t just rely on the guys that reported it first.

          • Brucehenry

            Yeah you actually just kinda reported this one pretty straight, Warner. Kudos.

          • warnertoddhuston

            I am not at all sure what opinion to have on it, but found the story quite interesting.

    • Commander_Chico

      I don’t think the CSPOA is nutty, at least compared to fascist police methods that lead to military raids on houses for minor offenses.

      If any place needs it, it’s New Mexico – the Albuquerque Police just shot some guy for no good reason and have shot 23 people in the last 3 years. That’s a lot of people for a small city. There was another town which gave a guy an enema on some weak suspicion of drug trafficking.

      It’s more a question of whether this guy is a nut. Is he Harger or Haze? Is there a record of the investigation that led to him getting a driver’s license under another name? Is there video of this alleged TSA agent detaining and interrogating him?

      • Brucehenry

        Perhaps you’re right about CSPOA. I know you’re right about the out-of-hand police in NM, but I don’t get the idea that’s what this group is about. They sound like crazy Tenthers to me.

        • Commander_Chico

          Also Fourthers – they refuse to detain people without probable cause!

  • disqus_ho2ubAlnyr

    This is not the only law enforcement group that is showing a concern for the misuse, selective enforcement and interpretation of the U.S. Constitution by the Federal Government. The revelations of spying by our government on citizens and the entire Patriot Act should make every citizen uncomfortable. We are witnessing the virtual elimination of Reasonable Suspicion and Probable Cause. Add to that the physical Militarization of Civilian Police with surplus equipment from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, one can see a basis for concern. The person who smells the aroma of “Dangerous nutjobs”, was probably one of the dummies who voted for Hope and Change.