Police account of arrest differs from Foley's

Posted 6/27/2007 04:02:00 PM

The police account of House Minority Whip Dan Foley’s arrest differs sharply from what the GOP representative says happened.

Regardless of who’s telling the truth, police reports and Foley’s booking mug are sure to come back to haunt him in future elections.

Foley pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Roswell to petty misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct, obstructing an officer and resisting arrest.

According to police, Foley was arrested while rushing the court and shouting profanities after a fight broke out at his son’s Gus Macker basketball tournament game. He also spit chewing tobacco at an officer before he was arrested, according to the report. He faces a maximum of 20 days in jail and a $784 fine, according to the Roswell Daily Record.

Foley is scheduled to go to trial on Aug. 2.

The reports of several police officers all present the same basic story of what happened on Sunday: A fight broke out on the court. Foley charged the court while yelling that someone had “hit my (expletive deleted) kid,” and one officer tried to stop him. Foley pushed his way past that officer, and two others grabbed him and forced him to the ground on his back, where he continued to resist. Foley was then turned onto his stomach and handcuffed, according to the officers’ accounts.

The officer Foley pushed past wrote in his report that the representative “overpowered me,” and that “Mr. Foley’s chewing tobacco had been spit on my white duty polo shirt. Mr. Foley also possessed chewing tobacco on the front of his shirt.”

Foley appears in his booking mug with a brown stain on his shirt. He admitted it was a tobacco stain but said he “couldn’t tell you” how it got there, and said he doesn’t chew tobacco.

“I get violently sick when I smell tobacco,” he said, adding that many members of the House can vouch for the fact that he tells them to quit chewing.

Foley asserts that he was “calm” but attempting to step in after the coach of the opposing team shoved his son to the ground.

“I would do that again for any kid,” Foley said.

The coach of Foley’s team told police that the other coach “put his arm out” to stop Foley’s son from getting into the fight, and that Foley’s son “stumbled back, and it may have looked to Mr. Foley that (the coach) did that on purpose.”

Several people watching the game cheered when Foley was arrested, according to police reports, and told police he was a lawmaker and had been yelling at players and officials during other games over the weekend.

Another interesting point – the Roswell newspaper’s original article, published Monday, quoted a mall security officer who witnessed the incident and shared a version of events similar to that relayed by Foley. Foley said he doesn’t know the man, but added that other witnesses will back up his version of events.

What does it mean for Foley’s career?

Regardless, the photo of Foley in handcuffs and with a tobacco stain on his white T-shirt is likely to show up in every race from now until the end of his career. Police reports detailing his use of profanity and accusing him of resisting officers will likely haunt him as well.

A conviction would further damage his reputation.

Many say the 37-year-old Foley has a temper, and it’s no secret that his speech often includes profanity. At the same time, he’s a skilled debater and organizer who has helped make House Republicans more effective than their Senate counterparts and the state GOP organization.

Foley said he isn’t prone to uncontrolled outbursts of anger, noting that he had never been arrested before Sunday.

“Why have I never been in a fistfight? Why I have never strangled anyone?” Foley asked. “Why have I never gone after a lobbyist?”

House Minority Leader Tom Taylor of Farmington said he doesn’t think the incident will affect Foley’s ability to continue in his leadership position.

“From what I understand, there’s not really much wrongdoing that I can see in the thing. Dan didn’t really engage anybody,” he said. “… If he’d gone out on the court and pounded somebody that would be different.”

“I wasn’t there, so I really don’t know the details of it,” Taylor said. “Hopefully, whatever justice is, there will be, and that will be the end of it.”

Taylor also added that he has spent a lot of time with Foley and never seen him chew tobacco.

Speaker of the House Ben Lujan, D-Nambé, on the other hand, said Foley’s conduct “sets a bad example for children.”

“It’s unfortunate that this thing had to happen, but I feel that we have to take responsibility and we should apologize when we do something not lawful,” he said. “It doesn’t set a good example when we try to interfere with the law.”

The police report

Here is the entire police report from Foley’s arrest. A warning: It does contain profanity.

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At 8:16 PM, June 27, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did he really say "why have I never strangled anyone?"??? How bizarre.

Everyone in Roswell is used to his tirades at Little League games but he went too far this time. Expect more aggressive behaviour from him as his temper spins out of control.

And...he DOES smoke cigars. Maybe THAT smell doesn't make him sick.

At 10:05 PM, June 27, 2007, Blogger Jeremiah said...

That is a tough set of reports, the most damning being the last page where the police advised the coach that he could press charges against Foley. I can't believe that this was a final game and there is no video, but that may come to light later in the process.

The picture could have been worse, ala "the smoking gun", but it was bad enough to follow Foley for a long time. You don't get to push cops, and all three officers involved clearly described an angry subject that required restraint.

The worst part of the incident is that he allegedly threatened their jobs, a clear abuse of power and position. Foley maintains that he did not say he "would have their jobs", but if they recorded the incident, that could come back to haunt him even more.

In all, a sad day for a gifted politician and generally decent guy. Best bet is to cowboy up, apologize, and get on with life. "I would do it again" doesn't show the proper contrition to the obvious: three officers are not needed to restrain a level headed person expressing their anger within the laws of a civilized society.

At 10:20 PM, June 27, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Foley...Foley...why do you allow your kids into the Gus Macker games, and if you allow them to participate, let them play, let them fight their own fight, or play their own games...you have enough to fight for in the round house...A 3-3 tournament, come on, buddy, they are 14, let them get a black eye or better yet, trust that they can give a black eye or two. Its about letting go, trust. NM politics 101.

At 12:56 PM, June 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Foley should resign. Spitting in the face of a law enforcement officer, threatening jobs, screaming profanities at a youth sporting event. He has set a bad example for children, and for how our government representatives should conduct themselves. Foley likes to talk (and complain) about following rules. We've now seen how much he respects rules, and those that enforce them.

At 3:20 PM, June 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 4:25 PM, June 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What does posting a publicly available police mug shot of the 2nd highest ranking republican in our state house of rep. have anything to do with class? Is spitting in a policemans face classy? How about cussing around a bunch of kids?

I commend you Heath for telling the whole story about this public official. Why does Mr. Foley, with his claim of not chewing tobacco, deserve to not have this photo shown with a tobacco stain on his shirt that he says he has no idea how it got there. Very illuminating and newsworthy by itself.

No, what Heath has done has nothing to do with class, it has to do with real reporting on the officials that are leading our state. If Foley hadnt been beligerant and irreverant to his local police, he wouldnt have been forcably restrained and hauled off to jail, and had this photo taken. The onus is on him.

Furthermore, if Mr. Foley wants to be a media darling and lambast others in the press for ethical issues, than he has to step up to the plate and be accountable for his. Thats why he's called a "public" official.

Keep up the good work Heath.

At 4:27 PM, June 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like Foley left a comment for you Heath.

At 6:13 PM, June 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This event is no surprise to anyone that knows Dan Foley. We can all tell from the tragic events of Va Tech and Chris Banoit that persons with a hidden propensity for violence and self righteousness need to be monitored, and certainly have NO BUSINESS in public office. Or better yet, resign Dan!

At 7:45 PM, June 28, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see anything wrong with this photo! If anything it is a fashion statement.The tobacco stain on the Foley's shirt matches the dirt on the booking sign!

At 4:44 PM, June 29, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

heath maybe one day you can be a real journalist.

At 2:55 PM, June 30, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 4:15 PM, June 30, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live and work in Roswell, and Dan Foley is a good example of how a spoiled child from a connected family can become the minority whip of New Mexico. The behavior indicated in the police reports sound like many events that are attended by Dan Foley.


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