'Chris, the N—er': Police Report Describes Dem Rep. Gabe Vasquez Using Racial Slur in Harassing Phone Call with Former Colleague

As a New Mexico State college student, Vasquez harassed an employee at a call center from which he had been fired, according to report

Rep. Gabriel Vasquez (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
May 30, 2024

In the summer of 2004, a human resources employee at a call center in Las Cruces, New Mexico, received a call from a man who asked for "Chris." The employee asked the caller to elaborate, given that more than one Chris worked at the center. "Chris, the n—er," the caller responded, using a racial slur.

When the employee hung up, the man called again. This time, he asked for "Chris, the black man," laughed, and hung up the phone. The employee recognized the caller's voice and, after searching his telephone number, identified him as a former employee who had been "terminated for cause for falsifying data," according to a 2004 police report obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

That former employee is Rep. Gabe Vasquez (D.), the New Mexico congressman elected to represent the state’s second district in 2022, a Free Beacon public records request revealed. While Vasquez’s name is redacted from the document, a city records custodian told the Free Beacon that the suspect identified in the report is Vasquez, who was narrowly elected to his seat when he defeated the incumbent, Republican Yvette Herrell, by less than a point.

The document indicates that the employee who received Vasquez’s call tried to reach him to inform him that she intended to report him to the police and left a message on his "answering machine" indicating as much.

The revelation is at odds with Vasquez's public image. In 2020, roughly three years after he was elected to the Las Cruces City Council as a progressive Democrat, he embraced the Black Lives Matter movement, calling to "rebuild the systems of oppression that keep black people in perpetual harm."

During his inaugural House campaign in 2022, Vasquez urged his followers to celebrate the "very important day" of Juneteenth, telling them that blacks "continue to build this country and enrich our communities and our lives."

Vasquez has also been quick to declare others racist, deleting tweets during that campaign that compared the Trump administration to the Ku Klux Klan, CNN reported.

Vasquez did not respond to a request for comment.

The Free Beacon obtained the police report through a public records request with the city of Las Cruces seeking documents that included Vasquez's name and date of birth.

The Free Beacon received responsive records, all of which stem from Vasquez's time at New Mexico State University, which the now-congressman attended from 2002 to 2008.

Four of the five records list Vasquez by name. Two stem from arguments between Vasquez and his girlfriend and two detail arrests for marijuana possession.

The fifth report recounts the harassing phone calls that included the use of the racial slur. The suspect's name is redacted and Vasquez is not otherwise mentioned.

The Free Beacon subsequently asked the city's records custodian whether the report was included mistakenly. The custodian indicated that the report was responsive to the Free Beacon’s request because Vasquez is the suspect, though his name is redacted. Asked for an unredacted copy of the report, the city denied the request "simply due to your position that you already know the contents of the redacted information."

The company named in the report is Research Data Design, a now-defunct consulting business founded in Portland, Ore., in 1994 and incorporated in New Mexico eight years later, according to corporate filings.

The company opened a call center in Las Cruces in 2000, according to advertisements placed in the El Paso Times. Over the next five years, the company routinely placed job postings in the paper asking for part-time and weekend employees to conduct phone surveys, including in Spanish.

A 2006 Associated Press article indicates Las Cruces was attractive to the company because it "is home to New Mexico State University." While it's unclear when Vasquez began working for the company—the job history the congressman touts publicly begins in 2007, when he served as editor in chief of the university paper—a former Research Data Design employee who overlapped with Vasquez confirmed his employment there.

The employee, who requested anonymity to speak candidly about the company, also confirmed the employment of the human resources staffer who filed the 2004 police report. The employee said that staffer spent "a couple years" at Research Data Design.

In the police report, the human resources staffer said Vasquez "had been calling harassing employees" nine days after he was "terminated for cause for falsifying data" on July 20, 2004.

"At approximately 1600 hours he called Research Data Design and she answered the phone," the police report says. "She stated that the person asked, 'Is Chris there?' She said, 'Who, which Chris?' as apparently there are a number of Chrises there and he said, 'Chris, the n—er.' She hung up."

"She stated that shortly thereafter, another telephone call was received by another employee who was asked [sic] for Chris and he said, 'Chris who?' and the reply was 'Chris, the black man.' He stated that the person who he recognized as [Vasquez] then began laughing and hung up. They immediately did a reverse search on the telephone … and when they researched it it came up to [Vasquez] who they know as the former employee that was in fact terminated."

The human resources employee called Vasquez back "and told him on the answering machine that they were in fact going to report it to the police department," the report says. "They have not had any calls since."

The police report lists one offense—a statute that criminalizes the use of a telephone to terrify, intimidate, threaten, or harass. According to the city, the ordeal did not result in any charges against Vasquez. The case was suspended in May 2008, according to the report.

The former Research Data Design employee who confirmed Vasquez's employment defended the now-congressman. The employee called Vasquez an "amazing employee and all around great guy" and said he "was under the impression he left for another job opportunity."

"I would have heard about any misbehavior on the phone center floor and do not recall any of that," the employee said.

Vasquez was no stranger to run-ins with the police at the time.

In one of the domestic disputes outlined in a 2007 police report, Vasquez asked his girlfriend before hosting a party "not to drink so much because she just turned 21 and she gets kind of wild when she drinks." Later, the report indicates, Vasquez "noticed that she kept drinking and after having a few too many she began getting a little wild and dancing around in front of his friends." Vasquez confronted her and an argument ensued, the report says, prompting the police to visit his home "in reference to a possible domestic." The incident occurred in April 2007, according to the report.

In a 2005 report, police said they arrived at Vasquez's apartment to respond to a noise complaint and observed him rolling a blunt. When police knocked on the door, Vasquez attempted to flush the marijuana down the toilet but was arrested before doing so.

Years prior, in 2002, Vasquez failed to appear in court after he was charged in El Paso, Texas, with driving without a license and driving without insurance. Police subsequently issued a warrant for his arrest in April 2008—Texas police executed that warrant roughly two months ago, on March 19, with Vasquez posting a nearly $900 cash bond and pleading no contest, the Free Beacon reported.