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Old 05-23-2013, 02:48 PM   #16
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I watched this segment again a few months ago, and got the feeling that the MPD might have suffered from professional complacency (if not worse). A young, fresh, energetic, eager officer like Sandlin reportedly was can be a real irritant to an old guard--and especially one that engages in illegal activities. I wonder if his murder was perpetuated solely by an angry dealer who only afterward involved police in a coverup, or if the department itself planned a scheme because Steve had the potential to air any dirty laundry he might have later stumbled across--that is, was he branded a potential "trouble maker" and targeted solely on that basis by his fellow officers, who might not have been so squeaky clean--or was it indeed retaliation by the "hassled" dealer?
I think the chief of police interviewed in the segment made in obvious that Steve was gung-ho about his job and that it was irritating to him at least. He even said he told him to "slow down" and IIRC, there was mention that there was an argument between the two. I tend to think the drug dealer had ties with the PD somehow, and only utilized them to help with the coverup after Steve's murder.
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Old 05-23-2013, 03:54 PM   #17
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I think the chief of police interviewed in the segment made in obvious that Steve was gung-ho about his job and that it was irritating to him at least. He even said he told him to "slow down" and IIRC, there was mention that there was an argument between the two.
Yeah, I remember Sandlin's girlfriend (I think it was her, anyway) saying he said something to the effect of "if I wanted to be a security guard, that's what I'd go do", or similar regarding that argument.

I really feel for him. It seems like the only thing he wanted to do was be the best police officer he could be. His department really let him down in multiple ways--potential murder coverup aside. It's so hard to be in an organization you want to legitimize and are constantly stonewalled at every turn--perhaps because you're making others look lazy or incompetent. Can't be taller than the other trees in the forest and all that.

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I tend to think the drug dealer had ties with the PD somehow, and only utilized them to help with the coverup after Steve's murder.
The fact that the department was actually under investigation for improperly handling evidence at the time doesn't do much to dampen the possibility of an officer planting that marijuana, as you and Zlatko suggested.

The "playing with his gun" thing is really lame conjecture, IMO, and I thought it reeked of nothing but Carson's contempt for the young man. No officer graduating from any legitimate training program would play with a firearm, let alone a loaded one.

You know, sometimes police officers and drug dealers "share the spoils", so to speak. I wonder if that's what was going on here--the police let the dealers do their thing, as long as they get a cut.
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Old 05-23-2013, 04:00 PM   #18
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The "playing with his gun" thing is really lame conjecture, IMO, and I thought it reeked of nothing but Carson's contempt for the young man. No officer graduating from any legitimate training program would play with a firearm, let alone a loaded one.
As crazy as it sounds, before I found out his death was ruled a homicide, I actually agreed with Carson that it was most likely an accident. Steve was 21, and was described by everyone as extremely gung-ho, and I thought it seemed plausible that he was messing around with his gun during some down time. Now I can see how bunk it is.

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You know, sometimes police officers and drug dealers "share the spoils", so to speak. I wonder if that's what was going on here--the police let the dealers do their thing, as long as they get a cut.
There's no doubt that's what happened. It's the only thing that would make sense considering the drugs were planted in Steve's house.
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Old 06-13-2013, 05:53 AM   #19
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My take on this case is that while the MPD wasn't complicit in his death, the Chief of Police knew that was something was awry but chose to look the other way.

Back then, small police forces in small towns were rife with corruption. Not corruption on any kind of epic scale. But I can imagine that the cops had ties to the drug dealers and in exchange for some kick-backs they allowed the dealers to carry out their business. It's an old school way of both keeping an eye out on drug trafficking and keeping it from getting out of hand.

The dealer that Steve busted only had about 100k worth of pot in his house. That seems like a lot of money, but that's NOTHING compared to the huge amounts of coke and heroin that some dealers get busted with, which can have a street value in the millions.

But for a small town in NM, 100k is at least enough money for an officer to get a decent kick-back and look the other way when it comes to small-time pot distribution.

But Steve wanted to come in and kick ass and enforce the laws just like he was trained in the Academy. But the small-town force with its old ways wasn't going to allow that so they looked the other way while one of the dealers took him out.

It's absolutely tragic. My heart goes out to his fiancee for having to endure this loss. All because Steve wanted to do the right thing.
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Old 08-15-2016, 09:24 AM   #20
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Here's my view of what happened:

The man that Steve arrested for possession was somehow connected. This doesn't mean he was rich or "mafia connected" but had some connections within the PD. It was a small town, only four police officers, including Steve. Steve mentioned to either his friend or brother (cant remember which) of an uneasy situation about to take place and he asked for his advice. The friend/brothers advice was simply, "tell the truth". This makes me think there may have been some sort of hearing regarding some stuff Steve had uncovered at a state or federal level and those directly in charge of him were trying to get him to hush.

There isn't a doubt in my mind that Steve was murdered. His girlfriend was on the phone with him minutes before he was killed and she heard the feint sounds of a woman's voice. My guess is this woman was somehow a rouse to distract Steve so someone else could disarm and kill him.

I'm not saying he was involved, but his chief or superior (guy interviewed in the segment) rubbed me the wrong way. It was almost as if he could care less that Steve was killed.

What's odd to me, is that Steve was still breathing when his chief found him. Why go to the trouble of trying to kill someone if you aren't even going to make sure they're dead?
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Old 08-15-2016, 04:13 PM   #21
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I want to say that sometime within the past three years whomever took the position of Chief of the MPD had a memorial erected in Steve's honor outside the station. I would like to think that kind of gesture could indicate some fresh air in the department and new sets of eyes to look into things.

I've always had a feeling there is a whole lot more to the Sandlin case than what went into that rather compressed segment. Whether it was for the sake of time, considerations surrounding an on-going investigation, or just plain old tight-lipping from the MPD officers at the time, I guess we'll never know. But I always found it interesting that the on-going investigation by the state's attorney general into the MPD was rather glossed over, and that an assistant attorney general had been fired in the wake. No circumstances are given for that individual's termination at all, and all we know about the investigation was that it focused on the MPD "mishandling evidence".
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Old 08-16-2016, 09:19 AM   #22
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Isn't the guy who Steve arrested (the huge pot bust) now deceased?
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Old 08-16-2016, 03:09 PM   #23
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Quote:
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Here's my view of what happened:

The man that Steve arrested for possession was somehow connected. This doesn't mean he was rich or "mafia connected" but had some connections within the PD. It was a small town, only four police officers, including Steve. Steve mentioned to either his friend or brother (cant remember which) of an uneasy situation about to take place and he asked for his advice. The friend/brothers advice was simply, "tell the truth". This makes me think there may have been some sort of hearing regarding some stuff Steve had uncovered at a state or federal level and those directly in charge of him were trying to get him to hush.

There isn't a doubt in my mind that Steve was murdered. His girlfriend was on the phone with him minutes before he was killed and she heard the feint sounds of a woman's voice. My guess is this woman was somehow a rouse to distract Steve so someone else could disarm and kill him.

I'm not saying he was involved, but his chief or superior (guy interviewed in the segment) rubbed me the wrong way. It was almost as if he could care less that Steve was killed.

What's odd to me, is that Steve was still breathing when his chief found him. Why go to the trouble of trying to kill someone if you aren't even going to make sure they're dead?
I always felt this was the scenario as well
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Old 02-24-2017, 01:41 PM   #24
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I just watched this on amazon. Ahhh chief Carson. What a *****.
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Old 02-24-2017, 01:53 PM   #25
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What's odd to me, is that Steve was still breathing when his chief found him. Why go to the trouble of trying to kill someone if you aren't even going to make sure they're dead?
This depends on who actually did the deed. There are quite a few cases where, in lieu of a real hitman, a criminal will blackmail someone who owes them money into committing this kind of crime for them. If you've got a semi-willing murderer, then details like this can be missed.
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Old 02-24-2017, 02:04 PM   #26
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What is interesting about this case and I agree Chief Carson was somehow involved or had at a bare minimum more knowledge about this case than he was telling. I have read several blog posts on the Officer Down Memorial Page and on various other sites. So many have alleged that Chief Carson either did it or was somehow involved. Also interesting is none of the other members of the Mountain Air Police Department attended Steve's funeral which is very unusual.

However there is more with Carson. Carson is actually connected to another UM case! That of the Eric and Pam Ellender in Sulphur, Louisiana. The prime suspect Chris Prudhomme was found hanging by the neck in his jail cell. Guess who the Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana jail officer who let Prudhomme into the shower? None other than David Carson, formally Chief of Police in Mountainair, New Mexico. Carson is now a Private Investigator in Louisiana.
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Old 02-24-2017, 02:12 PM   #27
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What is sad is it appears little has changed in Mountainair in terms of the police. Though their recently fired chief, Robert Chung who was an NYPD officer for 20 years before coming to Mountainair stated he believed that Sandlin was murdered and lobbied for a memorial to be built. http://krqe.com/2017/01/03/council-m...e-immediately/
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Old 02-24-2017, 03:44 PM   #28
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Wow good updates there. Makes you wonder...
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Old 02-24-2017, 03:53 PM   #29
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What is interesting about this case and I agree Chief Carson was somehow involved or had at a bare minimum more knowledge about this case than he was telling. I have read several blog posts on the Officer Down Memorial Page and on various other sites. So many have alleged that Chief Carson either did it or was somehow involved. Also interesting is none of the other members of the Mountain Air Police Department attended Steve's funeral which is very unusual.

However there is more with Carson. Carson is actually connected to another UM case! That of the Eric and Pam Ellender in Sulphur, Louisiana. The prime suspect Chris Prudhomme was found hanging by the neck in his jail cell. Guess who the Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana jail officer who let Prudhomme into the shower? None other than David Carson, formally Chief of Police in Mountainair, New Mexico. Carson is now a Private Investigator in Louisiana.
Well both of those cases involved weak investigations. No surprise to find him linked. The nerve of him to go on national television and say I think he killed himself or accidentally shot himself. That's quite a variation of possibility. For him to say that and not even consider foul play when the evidence screams foul play? Yeah I'm thinking he was involved to some degree.
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Old 02-24-2017, 06:30 PM   #30
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However there is more with Carson. Carson is actually connected to another UM case! That of the Eric and Pam Ellender in Sulphur, Louisiana. The prime suspect Chris Prudhomme was found hanging by the neck in his jail cell. Guess who the Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana jail officer who let Prudhomme into the shower? None other than David Carson, formally Chief of Police in Mountainair, New Mexico. Carson is now a Private Investigator in Louisiana.
WHOA.

I had NO idea about any of this all these years until now. Extremely interesting.
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