A former Chaves County Sheriff’s deputy who pulled a gun on man during a road rage incident in 2018, received a two-year prison sentence Friday.
Judge Raymond Romero sentenced David Bradshaw, 45, of Roswell, at a hearing in New Mexico’s 5th Judicial District Court in Chaves County. Upon completion of his prison sentence, Bradshaw will serve an additional four years on supervised probation.
Bradshaw was convicted on one count of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, one count of child abuse without bodily harm and two firearm enhancements following a two-day jury trial in May.
Friday’s sentencing came after Bradshaw underwent a 60-day diagnostic evaluation ordered by the court after his trial. He was housed at the Chaves County Detention Center during the evaluation.
Following Bradshaw’s conviction, Bradshaw’s defense team entered a motion for a new trial. The motion was subsequently denied.
The charges stem from a March 18, 2018 episode when Bradshaw — then an off-duty deputy — pulled a gun on a man who had passed him while traveling south on Washington Avenue.
The victim driving a yellow Ford Mustang passed a black Ford pickup driven by Bradshaw. Bradshaw’s 2-year-old son was a passenger in the pickup at the time, according to an affidavit filed in April 2018 in Chaves County Magistrate Court.
Bradshaw followed the Mustang, turning right on Alameda. The Mustang then made a series of turns in an attempt to lose Bradshaw, before pulling into the driveway of his Washington Avenue residence.
The affidavit states Bradshaw pulled up in front of the residence and blocked the Mustang from leaving the driveway. The victim — with a Colt .45 on his hip — then emerged from the Mustang as Bradshaw then shouted profanities out of the passenger side window of his pickup and criticized the victim for passing him.
“I tried talking to the man driving but he wouldn’t let me speak and kept talking over me,” the victim said in a statement included in the affidavit.
Bradshaw, who was not wearing a uniform at the time, identified himself as a sheriff’s deputy but did not show his badge. According to the affidavit, he said that he was going to issue the man a citation for reckless driving.
The wind then blew causing the victim’s shirt to cover the gun on his hip. Bradshaw aimed a revolver at the victim and accused him of illegally concealing a weapon, the affidavit states.
At Bradshaw’s instruction, the victim put his gun back in his vehicle. Bradshaw then emerged from his pickup and continued to shout at the man, according to the affidavit. Bradshaw continued to speak over the victim and asked for the victim’s ID. The victim gave him his ID and said he does not drink. Another deputy then showed up on the scene.
At the trial in May, Bradshaw’s defense painted him as a concerned and dedicated law enforcement officer who followed the victim worried that his reckless driving could endanger the public. He said that his intention was to issue the victim a citation.
The affidavit states that when he was following the victim, he had phoned an on-duty sheriff’s deputy, informing her that someone who might be a drunk driver had cut him off and requested she come to his location, but then told her not to.
The deputy then showed up at the scene and Bradshaw then left shortly thereafter.
At Friday’s sentencing hearing, John Sugg, district attorney for the 12th Judicial District, prosecuted the case and noted that Bradshaw’s actions put his own child in danger that day. He added that the diagnostic evaluation showed Bradshaw still did not take responsibility for his actions that day, something Sugg said was troubling.
John Bowles, Bradshaw’s defense attorney, told the court that Bradshaw knows and understands the actions that he had taken on that day in March of 2018 got him where he was and agrees with the diagnostic report’s assessment of Bradshaw’s actions that day as a lapse of judgment.
Bowles said that since the incident and the trial in May, Bradshaw had already been punished enough.
When the diagnostic evaluation was being completed, Bradshaw was being held at the Chaves County Detention Center, something that caused him great stress. He added that Bradshaw has since developed health problems, has had to endure a family separation and that his career in law enforcement is now over.
“This has punished him,” Bowles said. He suggested Bradshaw be able to serve out his sentence under house arrest and not in prison.
In handing down his sentence, Romero said the court was faced with a difficult decision.
Though he said that he understood the sacrifices Bradshaw made as law enforcement, Romero said Bradshaw involved himself in law enforcement activities without showing that he was a law enforcement officer.
Romero also said that Bradshaw put his child in danger by taking the actions that he did and that there were other ways he could have identified the victim without confronting him the way he had.
Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.