Law enforcement board votes to revoke former detective's certification

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The New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Board voted last month to revoke a former Belen police officer's certification, following an incident where he allegedly beat up a burglary suspect.

Director of the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Board Louis Medina said they are awaiting a formal response from John Lytle, a former BPD detective, regarding a notice of the revocation.

The notice, Medina says, was sent to Lytle's residence at the end of last month. If he doesn't respond, his certification could be revoked by default. The case is pending.

The board went against the recommendation of Medina for a suspension of nine months, a probationary period of one year and eight hours of community service stemming from a March incident where Lytle is accused of assaulting a male burglary suspect.

Lytle is accused of assaulting a man who burglarized the former officer's home on March 15.

According to a New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Board report, Lytle's parents notified him that his home was being burglarized.

While traveling toward his house, Lytle and his supervisor pulled over a vehicle that matched the description of the suspect involved in the incident.

The report said during the traffic stop, Lytle confronted the suspects, a man and a woman. After questioning the woman, the detective "turned toward the male subject, who was sitting on the curb and kneed him in the face and punched him several times in the stomach and facial area.

"(Lytle) was enraged and continued the assault on the subject by pushing the subject's face on the dirt and at the same time yelling and screaming and making verbal death threats to the subject and to his family."

The document said the assault was witnessed by other people, including an officer who arrived at the scene. The other officer said he saw Lytle hit the man in the back of the head as he put him in the back of a patrol car. Shortly after, Lytle took the man out of the car and kicked him on the lower part of his body.

A woman who was walking by also reported the incident to police, which led to an internal investigation.

The report said that during the internal investigation, Lytle admitted "acting inappropriately." As a result, the detective was terminated from the department.

Belen Police Chief Dan Robb said he was notified the same night about the incident and that the matter was addressed "immediately." He said Lytle was placed on administrative leave the following week.

"I addressed this immediately," Robb said. "I don't tolerate that kind of behavior."

In 2001, Lytle was involved in a federal lawsuit in which he was accused of severely beating a deaf and mute man while he was a deputy with the Dona Ana County Sheriff's Office. The lawsuit alleges Lytle and another deputy severely beat the man and wrongfully charged the man with criminal offenses.

That lawsuit was dismissed in August 2001 by U.S. Magistrate Karen Molzen.


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