3 Gallup Police Under Investigation in 41-Year-Old’s Death

Published July 11, 2019

GALLUP, N.M. — New Mexico State Police are continuing their investigation into a “use of force” incident involving three members of the Gallup Police Department.

On June 28, according to state police, at approximately 8:30 p.m., Gallup police were dispatched to the JCPenney store, which is located on the north side of the Rio West Mall, about a man identified as Rodney Lynch, 41, who was reported to be intoxicated.

Lynch, from Gallup, became combative with the officers. He was taken into custody and transported to the Gallup Detox Center.

When they arrived to the detox center, Lynch again became combative with police, the state police said.

As officers were attempting to control Lynch, a police sergeant and a patrol officer, both with the Gallup Police Department, arrived on scene.

“The sergeant noticed that Lynch appeared unconscious. The officers started first aid on Lynch and called for EMS who transported Lynch to an area hospital,” the state police statement said.

Lynch was flown to an Albuquerque hospital where he was later pronounced dead by the Office of Medical Investigator.

An investigation into how Lynch died is still under investigation by the New Mexico State Police Investigations Bureau and the OMI.

The names of the officers involved were not released. Captain Erin Toadlena-Pablo, spokesperson for the Gallup police, said the department was not going to respond to the state police’s statement because it was still an active investigation.

Toadlena-Pablo said the department’s Internal Affairs was also investigating the incident. Results of the state police’s investigation will be sent to the appropriate district attorney for review.

The three officers, one Public Service Officer, formerly known as Community Service Aid, and two police officers are currently on paid administrative leave, Toadlena-Pablo added.

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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