Thursday, June 12, 2014

The APD Crisis: Whistleblowers Need Not Whistle, Plus: Getting Queasy; June 21 Police Brutality Protest Billed As Nonviolent, And: Media Wars Continue In Guv's Race 

Mayor Berry & Chief Eden
What if you're an ABQ cop and want to be a whistleblower for the Department of Justice? It's not likely. ABQ police Chief Gorden Eden this week issued what was widely perceived as a "gag order" that prohibited any officer from speaking with Justice without first getting his approval. When that backfired he backtracked and said he did not need to authorize officer meetings with Justice but only be notified of them so he or his representative could attend.

How do you blow the whistle to Justice investigators when the guy sitting next to you can blow up your life? Well, you don't. And that's the cultural problem that has brought APD and the city so low.


It is ironic that Eden is still struggling mightily with his ability to communicate given that he just hired a $95,000 a year communications officer. But in all actions we've seen from APD since Justice reported that the department uses excessive force and violates the civil rights of citizens, it is covering up--not communicating--that seems to be the guiding principle. . . .

Eden made his remarks about his gag order before the city's Economic Forum where top business leaders regularly listen to speakers and ask questions. But they don't always get answers. In light of the over two dozen fatal police shootings since 2010 and the millions in lawsuits they are costing the city, one of the Forum members asked Eden to explain APD's use of force policy. Eden replied that it was too complicated to explain. That had retired APD Seargent Dan Klein grabbing for his keyboard:

He tells the business owner who asks about use of force that it would take hours to explain--really? I could explain it very easy. The Academy has the Use of Force chart that shows what force is allowed based upon what circumstance. Eden was in charge of DPS, he should know this. Well, he should know this.

This is just a continuation of spin and bunker tactics that the community is tired of. We are tired of Berry telling us his 8 day disappearance after the Boyd shooting was “off limits.” We are tired of Janet Blair spinning the police memorial. We are tired of hearing about how great the Cincinnati Boys are, but don’t ask questions about their ties to Taser or just what they have done that makes them qualified or who referred them. Tired of the spin.

Well, Dan, folks are more than tired of the spin. As our old friend and outgoing State Treasurer James B. Lewis memorably said during one campaign. "I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired of being sick and tired!"


By the way, don't get too excited that the $6 million the city has been ordered to pay the family of 27 year old Christoper Torres because he was wrongfully killed by APD is capped by state law at $$400,000. A federal civil rights trial in the Torres case continues and seeing how the judge in the state case ruled, that federal trial could result in even more than the $6 million the state court ordered.

The Torres' lawyer is Randi McGinn. Maybe Mayor Berry should ask her to be city attorney. She seems to know how to handle his administration. . .


It's just a really lousy week for APD and Eden when it comes to trying to restore confidence in the department. Look at this:

APD officials released all of the video in the officer-involved shooting of James Boyd Wednesday. However, they say nothing could be recovered from one officer who fired. APD said no audio or video recordings of the incident could be recovered from Officer Keith Sandy’s equipment.

And why not? That's the eight figure question. Eight figures meaning the amount of money the city is going to probably have to shell out for the lawsuits over the killing of the homeless Boyd.


Because of the way APD and administration have proceeded since Justice came to town, there's reason for getting queasy about a June 21 march to protest the many fatal police shootings. The march will start at Roosevelt Park and then proceed to Central Ave.

If you're a real old timer you'll recall Roosevelt Park was also the starting point for the June 1971 ABQ riots. One of the complaints back then was the same as today--police brutality. The protesters turned rioters looted shops along Central Ave. It got so rowdy the National Guard was called out to patrol the streets and the story was featured in the national media.

The June 21 demonsttrationion is being billed as "nonviolent" but there is so much discontent and desperation for change, everyone is going to be on pins and needles. If he isn't already, Chief Eden ought to be thinking about what officers he's going to assign to that march. The ones with patience get to the top of the list.


More media news on the Governor's race, as Susana hits with her response to Gary King's negative attack on her. Her ad says King's ad is "ridiculous" and a narrator states: "The ACLU already praised Governor Martinez for signing the Equal Pay for Women Act--fighting to narrow the gender wage gap." For icing on the cake, the ad points out that Attorney General King was sued for gender discrimination.

The response ad does not address the jobs crisis that King also mentions in his ad. Nor does it address his charges of cronyism and corruption. 

The early campaign positioning certainly telegraphs that women voters are of the most concern to both gubernatorial camps. 

Newsman Steve Terrell wonders when a political candidate in the state last cited the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to back them up--especially a Republican like Martinez. Well, as a longtime card carrying member of the ACLU, we are pleased to see the freedom-loving group brought to the fore.

Susana, welcome to our world. . . . 

This is the home of New Mexico politics.

E-mail your news and comments. (jmonahan@ix.netcom.com)

Interested in reaching New Mexico's most informed audience? Advertise here.      

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2014. Not for reproduction without permission of the author
website design by limwebdesign