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Police report two incidents near route of Farmington High protest

Two drivers arrested after coming close to disrupting peaceful protest
The supporters of Farmington High School graduate Genesis White Bull march and descend down the hill on 20th Street to Dustin Avenue on Saturday, May 18, 2024. The march started from Brookside Park to the high school campus. (Curtis Ray Benally/Special to the Tri-City Record)

Farmington Police Sgt. Travis Spruell was directing traffic during a rally and march Saturday near Farmington High School when one motorist reportedly spit at him and another nearly ran hm down.

The Farmington Police Department was tasked with providing security during a march from Brookside Park to Farmington High School, as people rallied in protest five days after employees of the school removed a plume from the graduation cap of Genesis White Bull, a member of the Hunkpapa Lakota of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

Police closed 20th Street from Dustin Avenue to Sunset Avenue; Sunset Avenue from 20th Street to 25th Street and Dustin Avenue to Boyd Drive. This was to ensure protesters could march safely march from Brookside Park to the high school.

Spruell was directing traffic on the eastbound side of 20th Street when two individuals in vehicles reportedly caused problems for police and were arrested. They were not part of the rally, police said.

The first incident was at 4:17 p.m. when Donovan Martinez, 34, of Farmington reportedly spit at Spruell, who was directing eastbound traffic onto south McDonald Road.

Donovan Martinez, 34, of Farmington reportedly spit on a Farmington Police Officer, who was directing traffic during a May 18 protest in Farmington.

Martinez was turning at the church and Spruell “jumped in front” of the vehicle to keep him from driving into the protesters. Martinez then “tried to spit at him,” according to the statement of probable cause.

Martinez then, reportedly “turned his vehicle around” and was “dogging” Spruell, who told other officers that he thought the driver might “get out of the vehicle and possible fight him,” court records state.

Witnesses at the protest also confirmed Spruell’s account, telling officers the man spit at Spruell and then drove away.

Police located Martinez at a home in the 3100 block of North Sunset Avenue, but when they began to approach, he reportedly “got back in the vehicle,” police said.

Police drew their weapons and ordered Martinez to exit the vehicle, but he did not leave until an officer took out his “baton and was going to break the window,” police said.

Martinez unlocked the door and stepped out of the vehicle and was handcuffed. In an interview with police, he reportedly admitted that he “spit out of his window, but not toward the officer.” He then called the officer names, including expletives, police said in a report.

Martinez was arrested and charged with two misdemeanors: assault on a peace officer and resisting, evading or obstructing an officer.

About 30 minutes later at 4:51 p.m., Rayburn Benioh, 38, of Farmington, reportedly drove a red truck recklessly at a high rate of speed toward protesters.

Rayburn Benioh, 38, of Farmington is facing 10 felony, misdemeanor and traffic charges after reportedly disrupting a peaceful protest on May 18 in Farmington.

According to the statement of probable cause, Benioh was “driving in the median lane, and had approximately five to six vehicles” in front of him. At one point, the “vehicle jerked, and a hand was waving out of the window.”

Benioh reportedly “was accelerating” and Spruell was “yelling at the vehicle to stop, fearing it would drive through the intersection,” where there were protesters, according to the statement of probable cause.

Benioh allegedly did not slow down the vehicle, causing Spruell to “take cover in case the vehicle did not stop.” It then stopped “abruptly,” court records state.

Police stated that Benioh locked the truck doors and remained inside.

Farmington Police Cmdr. Donny Kee unlocked the passenger door and reached inside to place the “vehicle in park.” Then, Spruell reached inside and removed Benioh from the truck, according to the report.

Once out of the vehicle, Spruell attempted to handcuff Benioh, but he reportedly said, “quit grabbing me,” and kicked Spruell in “the groin area.” He reportedly kicked Spruell again and tried to “pull away, resisting and avoiding commands to stop,” according to the report.

When police finally took control of Benioh, they discovered there were two young children – a 1-year-old boy and a girl, who was 1½ years old – in the truck and neither were properly restrained. “One child was in the middle console,” and a female passenger reportedly held the car seat with the child “not properly restrained,” according to the probable cause statement.

Police also conducted a tow inventory of the truck and reportedly found an open bottle of Importers Vodka, court records state.

Benioh was taken to the Farmington Police Department and given a Breathalyzer test. He allegedly blew a 0.21, which “was two times greater than the legal limit,” according to the statement of probable cause.

Benioh was arrested and charged with a third-degree felony child abuse, a fourth-degree felony battery upon a peace officer, a misdemeanor aggravated DWI, a misdemeanor resisting, evading or obstructing an officer and multiple traffic violations including open container, reckless driving, failure to maintain traffic lanes, speeding and child not properly restrained.