Sunday, April 2, 2023

Reporter Investigated Again for Impersonating a Cop


A former KRQE reporter in Southern New Mexico previously accused of impersonating a police officer may soon be facing additional charges according to court documents. Now a July 6 search warrant application has been filed against Corey King because he has been involved in another, similar incident.

First Charges Still Pending

King, of Roswell, was KRQE’s News 13 Roswell Bureau Reporter when he was charged with four counts of impersonating a police officer and two counts of reckless driving in January 2021 by New Mexico State Police (NMSP). But the charges were a long time coming.  

The charges, which stemmed from multiple incidents in 2020 were delayed in part because although King was initially charged with impersonating an officer by a Chaves County Sheriff’s Office deputy in April 2020, the citation apparently never made it to a judge. A NMSP investigation determined that after the citation was delivered to the court, it was “picked up” by Chaves County Sheriff Mike Herrington.

The Paper. previously reported that the NMSP report accused Sheriff Herrington of the destruction of public records, and the case has been under review by the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office for over a year. A spokesperson for that agency said a determination regarding charges in Herrington’s case would wait until King’s case had been resolved.

King no longer works for KRQE, but his social media profiles indicate he operates a Facebook page titled Chaves County News Network. He continues to post "reports" while he awaits trial for the January 2021 charges of impersonating an officer and reckless driving. After multiple delays and continuances, the case is now scheduled for trial in October.

New Report Leads to Search Warrant

Court documents reveal that the Roswell Police Department received a report of another incident where King is accused of similar behavior.

In a search warrant application filed with the Roswell Magistrate Court July 6, RPD Officer Brandon Speights wrote that an anonymous person reported seeing a vehicle using emergency lights to pass other vehicles, while driving at speeds near 80 miles per hour.

According to the search warrant affidavit, the witness who reported the incident was driving when he believed a vehicle was “pulling him over” and he started to pull over, but the SUV kept going. He was able to obtain a license plate number from the vehicle, which he provided to police.

“He went on to say that he and the male who he described as a white male were next to each other at the traffic light on Main and Mescalero and he was able to identify the driver to be Mr. Corey King,” Speights wrote. “He said that he was able to identify him due to seeing him on the news and social media and said that Mr. King was laughing while stopped at the traffic light.”

Afterward, the witness said King continued to drive at speeds possibly up to 90 miles per hour while weaving in and out of traffic. Speights wrote that the witness feared retaliation, and so his name is not included in the application for the search warrant.

RPD used the reported license plate number to determine that the vehicle was registered to Corey King and matched the initial description given by the witness. Then with the help of Chaves County Deputies, Speights located the vehicle and King at home.

“Deputy Parmer went to the residence and located the vehicle parked in the roadway,” Speights wrote. “[I] arrived at the residence shortly after Deputy Parmer made contact with Mr. King. [I] observed the vehicle to have lights installed on the back of the lift gate near the license plate.”

Speights spoke with King and read him his Miranda warnings, which advise possible criminal subjects of their rights during an investigation or police questioning.

“ said he was not going to speak at all due to having an active case in reference to what he said was the ‘same exact thing,’” Speights wrote. “Mr. King did say that he spoke to the deputies who were on scene…[I] only got a brief explanation of what was told to the deputies.”

Pleading Innocence

King told Speights he had passed a few vehicles on the street but did it legally in a passing zone. Once King realized that his vehicle was being seized so that RPD could obtain a search warrant, King asked if there was any evidence of the allegations.

“He said the only evidence that there might be is if the businesses had cameras in that area but did not provide information in reference to what evidence would be present if there were cameras,” Speights wrote. “He continued to plead his innocence and informed [me] multiple times that the lights on his vehicle were yellow.”

The search warrant application requested permission to search King’s vehicle for lights, sirens, radios/scanners, recording devices and any media storage devices as well as law enforcement equipment that could be used to impersonate an officer including handcuffs, badges, vests, taser, firearms or any equipment that could be perceived by the general public as an officer’s duty gear.

A Roswell Magistrate Court judge approved the search warrant, but as yet no formal charges have been filed.

If charges are filed King would likely be found to have violated the conditions of release from the previous case, and he could be jailed or have to participate in electronic monitoring while he awaits trial. Fifth Judicial District Attorney Diana Luce, who is prosecuting King for the previous incidents, said she will ask the court to reconsider King’s conditions of release if new charges are filed.  


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