Widow of murdered State Police officer files wrongful death lawsuit
NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The widow of the State Police officer killed during a traffic stop in February, has just filed a wrongful death lawsuit. She’s claiming her husband died because of the department’s negligence.
Gabriella Jarrott filed the lawsuit against the state’s Department of Public Safety on behalf of her children and as the representative of Jarrott’s estate.
Officer Darian Jarrott was killed on February 4 on Interstate 10 near Deming, by Omar Felix Cueva during a traffic stop. According to the lawsuit, Cueva was an extremely dangerous drug trafficker, which was known by Jarrott’s supervisors. The lawsuit said Homeland Security had been in contact with Cueva through a confidential informant, but instead of making an undercover arrest, they asked state police to make the arrest during a traffic stop instead.
The lawsuit claims Jarrott’s supervisors didn’t inform him of Cueva’s criminal background and directed Jarrott to do the traffic stop without any backup or protective gear. When Jarrott stopped Cueva and asked him to get out, Cueva stepped out of the truck with a rifle and shot him multiple times, killing him.
The family’s attorney has told us this tragedy could have been avoided. “Where was the backup,” said attorney Sam Bregman. “This is a guy who they know had weapons on him, they know he’s a criminal violent person doing drug deals with drugs on him. Where’s his backup?”
The lawsuit also claims the state favored the safety of a confidential informant over Jarrott’s life. It also mentioned Jarrott didn’t have the full training state police officers usually get because he originally started his career in law enforcement as a Department of Public Safety employee. But his department merged with state police in 2015, making him a state police officer.
Cueva led officers on a 40-mile chase that day from Deming to Las Cruces where he was eventually killed in a shootout. State police said they will not be commenting on this lawsuit at this time.