Former Belen police detective indicted

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If convicted, a former Belen police detective could spend 10 years in federal prison for allegedly beating a suspect while in his custody.

John Lytle, 40, of Rio Communities, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on one count of violating the suspect’s right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, which includes freedom from excessive force.

Belen Police Chief Dan Robb said Lytle was placed immediately on administrative leave and was terminated on April 12, 2012.

He worked for the department for four years.

According to the indictment, Lytle allegedly assaulted a victim, only identified by the initials, R.A., during an investigative stop on March 15, 2012.

The U.S. Attorney’s office said in a press release that Lytle violated the alleged victim’s rights “to be free from unreasonable search and seizure by a law enforcement officer, which includes the right to be free from the use of excessive force.”

A misconduct report given to the state Law Enforcement Academy Board said Lytle got a call from his parents that his home was being burglarized.

Lytle and his supervisor went to the home and spotted a vehicle that matched the description his parents gave. The officer stopped the vehicle, inside of which were a male and female.

Witnesses said Lytle turned toward the male who was sitting on the curb, kneed him in the face and punched him several times in the face and stomach before putting him in his police vehicle, the misconduct report states.

Witnesses and a fellow officer reported that Lytle then pulled the burglary suspect out of the vehicle and kicked him some more, the report continues.

“(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 his family,” the misconduct report states.

Lytle, who admitted “acting inappropriately” to internal affairs investigators, was stripped of his law enforcement license this past July.


-- Email the author at cgarcia@news-bulletin.com.