ALBUQUERQUE, NM—In his fifth report, Independent Federal Monitor Dr. James Ginger indicates that the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) is not just failing to comply with the settlement agreement, but in many respects is deliberately failing to do so. Today, APD Forward again expressed deep disappointment in APD leadership’s resistance to reforming the troubled department.
“More than a year ago, the monitor noted in his second report that APD’s approach to the agreement is to ‘do little, delay and deflect,’” said APD Forward spokesperson Laurie Weahkee, Executive Director of Native American Voters Alliance. “Little has changed since then. In some ways, it’s gotten worse. If Chief Eden and his senior staff won’t take responsibility for advancing these critical changes to the way APD officers use force, Mayor Berry should find police professionals who will.”
Among the serious ongoing issues highlighted in the Monitor’s fifth report are:
1) Failure of supervisory and review systems within APD to adequately catch and correct improper use of force incidents by APD officers
2) An inability or unwillingness by supervisors to identify when use of force incidents occur
3) APD’s continued insistence that ‘neck holds’ are allowable by APD officers, even though this practice is specifically prohibited by the settlement agreement except where lethal force is authorized
4) Use of force against handcuffed prisoners by some APD officers
5) Failure of some APD officers to use verbal warnings and other de-escalation techniques before resorting to force, even when it’s safe to do so
6) An overall and ongoing resistance on the part of APD to addressing operational and systemic problems identified by the Monitor
“It’s no surprise that accountability is a critical problem with APD when Chief Eden is publicly blaming judges and the press for problems within his Department,” said APD Forward spokesperson Steven Robert Allen, Director of Public Policy at the ACLU of New Mexico. “This unwillingness of Chief Eden and his command staff to embrace reform or to demand accountability from the Department is preventing APD from moving towards true and lasting culture change.”
APD Forward will soon release a full analysis of the Monitor’s fifth report, along with an analysis of APD’s compliance efforts covering all five reports.