What began as a traffic stop turned into a wild police chase that led to a New Mexico State police officer shooting at a van full of children before ultimately arresting their mother.
Oriana Farrell and her five young children were traveling on a highway south of Taos, New Mexico on Oct. 28 when a state officer pulled her over for going 71 mph in a 55 mph speed zone.
What happened next will shock you.
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On dash cam video released to KRQE News 13 Friday you can see Farrell and the officer argue after Farrell couldn’t decide whether to pay the $126 fine or contest it in court. The officer instructs her to turn her vehicle off and stay put before walking back to his car.
But Farrell drives off instead and the officer has to pull her over again. He doesn’t appear happy as he approaches the driver’s side door of the minivan. The officer yells for Ferrell to get out several times before reaching into the minivan to try and pull her out.
In the dash cam video, you can hear her children yelling for the officer to leave their mom alone and get off of her.
At one point Farrell’s 14-year-old son gets out of the minivan and starts walking towards the officer, but the boy thinks better of it after the officer draws his Taser and points it at the boy. He gets back in the van while the officer continues his struggle to get Farrell out of the minivan.
“Look, I’m going to ask you one more time to get out of the vehicle and then I’m going to pull you out, OK?” the officer said. “You’re already facing evading charges. You ran away from me.”
“Sir, I pulled back over, I didn’t run away,” Farrell responded. “You see my children. I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m just trying to take them to the Rio Grande.”
But it doesn’t stop there.
Farrell eventually does get out of the vehicle. But after a brief conversation, makes a run for her mini-van when the police officer tells her to turn around. A struggle ensues when the officer grabs her, leading her 14-year-son to get out of the van again and rush the officer. A short physical altercation ensues between the teen and the officer as he tries to defend his mother. The cop then pulls his Taser again, causing the teen to run back to the van and close the door.
Clearly angry, the officer runs over to the passenger side of the van where the teen is sitting and smashes one of the van’s rear windows with his baton over and over again.
With her children screaming in the back, Farrell takes off as an arriving back-up officer fires what appears to be three shots at the fleeing van.
After an approximately four minute high-speed chase, Farrell eventually gave herself up at a hotel.
Farrell was charged with five counts of abuse of a child, aggravated fleeing an officer, resisting an officer, reckless driving and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to The Taos News. Her teenage son was charged with battery of an officer and resisting arrest.
Farrell’s younger children were placed with the state’s Children, Youth and Families Department before being released to family friends.
While the mother’s actions can easily be viewed as irrational, being fearful of the police during a traffic stop is, unfortunately, a smart thing for Black people to be. Whether she was breaking the law by driving away will be up to a court to decide. But what is clear, right now, is that there is never any justification for shooting at a van full of children. The officer’s names has not been released, but take away the badge, and the shooter would at the very least be charged with attempted murder.
The victims here are the children.
Police officers are not trained to value life, especially Black life. Time will tell if the officer faces consequences for his actions.