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Lawsuit Claims Neglectful Policing Led To Murder

Silver City, New Mexico was recently the site of a grizzly series of events that resulted in the murder of one woman, Nikki Bascom, and a subsequent suicide of the perpetrator, Mark Contreras, a police captain. This shocking and sad event was the culmination of a number of prior incidents involving Contreras’s repeated and bold harassment of Bascom following the end of their relationship.Negligence-legal-definition-258x300

Bascom is survived by two children, now living with Bascom’s mother, Karri Dalton. Dalton has since begun a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Bascom’s children. Dalton claims that neglectful policing led to the eventual murder of Bascom at the hands of Contreras. The case is against Silver City’s police department, citing the departments repeated demonstrations of ignoring Contreras’s history of violence and allowed his disruptive behavior to continue, and eventually allowed him to kill Bascom.

The Case

For several weeks prior to Bascom’s death, Contreras exhibited a string of several instances of aggressive behavior towards Bascom. The lawsuit cites several of these examples, and also cites the local police department’s responses and actions taken, if any. Contreras engaged in a number of intimidating and harassing behaviors, the first of which cited was an incident involving Contreras harassing Bascom while she was on a business trip, calling her over 70 times under the belief that Bascom was cheating on him.

Upon her return he took violent action, threatened both her life and his own with his own police sidearm. It was Bascom’s son that contacted the police via 911. When the Silver City Police arrived however, they did not make an arrest nor did they criminally charge Contreras with domestic violence. Following this incident, Bascom broke off her relationship with Contreras, however Contreras made threats to kill her if she were to file a restraining order or if she caused him to lose his job. He faced no disciplinary action for this, and instead was met with an apathetic “knock it off” from Silver City Police Chief Ed Reynolds.

The lawsuit also pointed out that the Silver city Police Department either knew or should have known that Contreras had a high potential for violence, citing a prior domestic violence charge on his record. The incident involved in this charge was strikingly similar to the situation with Bascom, where Contreras believed his ex-wife was cheating on him, and threatening her with a gun.

The situation reached its boiling point when Contreras ran Bascom off the road, in his squad car, stole her phone, and threatened her. Following this, Bascom alerted the police department, who, instead of taking action, threatened Bascom with “false reporting.” Bascom was confronted again later by Conteras at her own home, where officers again failed to make an arrest of Contreras. Finally, Bascom went to pick her son up from school, and was followed by Contreras who shot her and then himself.

The family’s lawsuit requests damages for wrongful death, pain and suffering, funeral expenses, and several others for the failure of the Silver City Police Department to prevent her death, when given an opportunity to do so several times.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of another person’s negligence, contact the legal professionals at Tenn And Tenn today.