APD Forward Responds to Monitor's Tenth Progress Report on APD Reform Process


November 5, 2019

CONTACT: Micah McCoy, (505) 266-5915 x1003 or [email protected] 

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - Today, the APD Forward coalition responded to the tenth progress report released last week by Dr. James D. Ginger, the independent monitor appointed by a federal court to oversee the reform of Albuquerque Police Department’s use of force policy and practices. The following quote may be attributed to APD Forward Spokesperson Paul Haidle, Senior Policy Strategist for the ACLU of New Mexico:

“Reaching 100 percent compliance with the required changes to policy and procedures is an important milestone and APD should be commended for this accomplishment. Primary compliance sets a strong policy foundation for future reforms. The Monitor’s report also raises serious concerns about some of the most crucial aspects of compliance. Particularly worrisome is what the Monitor describes as an aversion to discipline where supervisors take disciplinary matters into their own hands in order to protect officers. The Monitor is clear that this situation must be addressed by APD and could be a ‘fatal shortcoming’ if not handled quickly and clearly. APD Forward is concerned that supervisory oversight, one of the most critical pieces of compliance, continues to be a stumbling block to reform.”

A copy of the Monitor’s tenth report can be found online at APDForward.org: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/apdforward/pages/33/attachments/original/1572991353/APD_Forward_-_Tenth_Monitor_Report.pdf?1572991353




APD Forward Questions Deployment of State Police in Albuquerque Following Officer-Involved Shootings

Micah McCoy at 505-266-5915 X 1003 or [email protected]

MAY 17, 2019

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - Today, after two New Mexico State Police officers fired at two civilians in Albuquerque in separate incidents Thursday evening, APD Forward is demanding the governor and mayor ensure State Police will be held to the same standards as the Albuquerque Police Department under the Court Approved Settlement Agreement with the Justice Department.  The shootings occurred less than a week after the governor assigned 50 New Mexico State Police officers to targeted areas in Albuquerque to fight crime.

“For years the Albuquerque Police Department operated with impunity, shooting and killing someone practically every month. We don’t want to return to those days,” said ACLU of New Mexico Executive Director Peter Simonson. “We’re deeply concerned that the deployment of New Mexico State Police officers  in our communities threatens to wreck progress towards constitutional policing in Albuquerque at a time when there is still much reform to be made.”

In announcing their decision to deploy State Police to Albuquerque, neither the governor nor the mayor made clear what procedures are in place to ensure officers will be held accountable and whether officers will be held to the same standards as Albuquerque Police Department officers. APD Forward is concerned that if State Police are allowed to operate by different rules, police violence may escalate and threaten community safety.

“The whole reason we have a consent decree is because of a culture of aggression and a pattern of excessive use of force,” said Strong Families New Mexico Field Director Adriann Barboa. “Bringing police officers into Albuquerque who are not held to the same standards increases the likelihood that already over-policed black and brown communities will be further criminalized.”



APD Forward Requests Background Information on Fatal APD Shooting in Crowded Grocery Store Parking Lot

APD Forward requests meeting with Chief Geier to review footage and decision making process



June 27, 2018


CONTACT: Micah McCoy, (505) 266-5915 x1003 or [email protected]


ALBUQUERQUE, NM--Today, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) held a press conference in which it released some of the footage of the officer involved shooting that left robbery suspect Richard Rivera dead on June 16. In response, APD Forward is calling on APD Chief Geier to meet with representatives from the group to walk through the incident and review any lapel video footage and other evidence tied to the shooting.


“We’re asking Chief Geier to be open and transparent with us by walking us through the evidence APD has gathered, including any lapel and dash camera footage, and discussing in detail how the incident escalated to a high octane pursuit through the city that culminated in a fatal officer-involved shooting,” said APD Forward Spokesperson Natalie Nicotine with the Native American Voters Alliance.


The incident involved a vehicular pursuit across town and ended with an APD officer firing multiple shots in a crowded Smith’s grocery store parking lot in SE Albuquerque, fatally injuring Rivera just feet away from nearby families with children. This fatal officer involved shooting was committed under the use of force policy written by the previous administration, which has been criticized by the court-appointed monitor overseeing the reform process.

“This most recent fatal shooting comes at a critical moment in the reform process,” said APD Forward Spokesperson Alice Liu McCoy, Staff Attorney for Disability Rights New Mexico. “The city is in the middle of reviewing and rewriting their use of force policy, and this incident shows just how important it is that the new policy emphasizes de-escalation and unambiguously mandates using the minimal necessary level of force.”


Officers working in the field have told APD Forward that the current policy is confusing and difficult to implement. The fatal shooting of Richard Rivera was conducted under the requirements of the current policy, which APD Forward has criticized as unnecessarily complicated and ineffective.




APD Forward is a community coalition led by concerned Albuquerque citizens and organizations who want to see the Albuquerque Police Department become the responsible, community-friendly police department we know it can be. We are a powerful advocacy, outreach, and education platform for Albuquerque communities to press for the sensible reforms that we need to restore trust in the police department.



APD Forward Reacts to Selection of Mike Geier as Chief of Albuquerque Police Department

Coalition intends to hold all parties accountable to DOJ consent decree



June 13, 2018


CONTACT: Micah McCoy, (505) 266-5915 x1003 or [email protected]


ALBUQUERQUE, NM--Today, the City of Albuquerque announced that it had selected Mike Geier as Chief of the Albuquerque Police Department. Chief Geier was selected after serving as interim Chief of Police since December 2017. According to the City, Geier was selected from a pool of 30 applicants from across the country. APD Forward advocated for the City to conduct a thorough, deliberate national search and to hire a Chief committed to the reforms outlined in the Department of Justice consent decree.


“Selecting a new police chief is one of the most important decisions this administration will make, and this process was not what we expected. We are ready to work with Chief Geier, however, in his new position as Chief of the Albuquerque Police Department,” said APD Forward spokesperson Nancy Koenigsberg, Senior Attorney with Disability Rights New Mexico. “Chief Geier has publicly committed to complying with the reforms outlined in the Department of Justice consent decree, and we intend to hold APD and all of the parties accountable to the reform process. We call on Chief Geier to implement critical cultural change, including addressing biased policing, promoting transparency, embracing civilian oversight, and creating a culture of accountability.”


APD Forward is a coalition of 18 community groups and family members of police shooting victims that is committed to holding the City and APD leadership accountable to the DOJ mandated reforms. To guide the new mayor in selecting a capable chief, APD Forward consulted experts from around the country about the most important qualifications for a police chief who is charged with reforming use of force practices in his or her department. The criteria fall generally into four categories:


  1. Commitment to Department of Justice Reforms
  2. Transparency and Accountability
  3. 21st Century Policing Tactics and Policies
  4. Addressing Biased Policing



To learn more, and to read the entire list of APD Forward Police Chief Criteria, please visit the APD Forward website at: www.apdforward.org/resources.





APD Forward Echoes Judge Brack’s Call to Hit “Reset Button” on Reform

Coalition Calls on New Mayor to Take Charge of the Reform Process 

November 17, 2017

CONTACT: Micah McCoy, (505) 266-5915 x1003 or [email protected]

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—APD Forward, a coalition of community organizations and individuals seeking to reform the Albuquerque Police Department, praised Judge Robert Brack for denying a frivolous motion filed by the City of Albuquerque designed to undermine the reform process. On the day before the Monitoring Team released its most recent audit of APD’s progress, the City of Albuquerque and APD filed a motion with the court accusing the Independent Monitor of bias against the police department and asking for an evidentiary hearing. The motion included an edited secret video made of the Monitor by Assistant Police Chief Robert Huntsman in 2016 using his department-issued lapel camera. 

Yesterday, the Court addressed the City’s motion and issued a strongly-worded Order denying the City’s request. In the process of criticizing City Attorney Jessica Hernandez and Assistant Chief Huntsman for filing the baseless motion, Judge Brack stated that he was “tired of the toxicity” and that it was time to “hit the reset button.” APD Forward firmly believes that this crisis in leadership – both inside the Albuquerque mayor’s office and at APD – has slowed down the reform process almost to a stand-still.

“We’re relieved that Judge Brack saw through the City’s thinly veiled attempts to undermine the Monitor in the wake of his highly critical assessment of their progress,” said APD Forward Spokesperson Nancy Koenigsberg, senior attorney at Disability Rights New Mexico.  “We agree with him that the City’s motion, filed just one day before the Monitor’s report was released, was nothing more than a transparent political ploy.”

During yesterday’s public hearing, APD Forward also unveiled a unique data project that weights the requirements of the Settlement Agreement based on their importance.  By using the Monitor’s compliance scores from the Sixth Report, APD Forward developed its own assessment of APD’s progress on the elements of reform that matter the most to the coalition.  The results are striking and confirm the Monitor’s findings that “the easy work is done” and “the most difficult work remains.” 

“Our own internal assessment of APD’s progress shows that the most important work of reform lies ahead,” said APD Forward Spokesperson Natalie Nicotine with the Native American Voters Alliance. “We are calling on Mayor-elect Tim Keller to take charge of the reform process and to show that he will own the police department reforms. We look forward to working with the new administration to make this a reality.”

More information about APD Forward’s data project can be found at www.apdforward.org in the “resources” section of the website.


APD Forward Strongly Criticizes APD Website for Clouding the Facts Around Police Reform

APD Forward Strongly Criticizes APD Website for Clouding the Facts Around Police Reform


October 27, 2017


CONTACT: Micah McCoy, (505) 266-5915 x1003 or [email protected]

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—APD Forward, a coalition of community organizations and individuals seeking to reform the Albuquerque Police Department, expresses deep disappointment that the Albuquerque Police Department has launched a new website designed to distort the department’s record on reform. The website was launched just one week before the federal team charged with monitoring APD’s reform efforts is set to release its sixth progress report. APD Forward has numerous concerns with the new website, www.apdreform.com, but chief among them is that the site provides new evidence that APD leadership is continuing its efforts to undermine the federal monitoring team’s authority to track and ensure reform.

“Back in April, right before the release of the Monitoring Team’s fifth report, APD did a series of presentations around the city aimed at praising itself for all the progress it had made,” said APD Forward spokesperson Adriann Barboa, Field Director for Strong Families New Mexico. “A few weeks later, the monitor’s report was released detailing the ways in which APD leadership was deliberately obstructing important aspects of the reform process. Now here we are, a week before the release of the monitor’s sixth report, and APD is pulling a variation on the same trick with this new website.”

APD Forward believes APD launched the new website to both confuse the public about the department’s reform efforts and to avoid tough questions from the media. To take just one example, a large banner on the website’s homepage praises the department for being in “93 percent primary compliance” with the settlement agreement. This is true, but by refusing to provide any context this assertion makes it seem as if APD is almost done with the reform process. As the five previous federal monitoring reports make starkly clear, this is very far from the truth. As the monitoring team has documented in their fifth report, APD is only in 47 percent operational compliance with the settlement agreement. This is the most relevant measure of compliance, and the most difficult work still lies ahead.

“The website claims to be ‘an outreach program designed to educate the public about changes taking place within the police department that may be overlooked by traditional media,’” said APD Forward spokesperson Natalie Nicotine with the Native American Voters Alliance. “In fact, www.apdreform.com is clearly a tool aimed at misleading the public while undermining the federal monitoring team’s efforts to press the department to implement these crucial reforms.”

Just a few short months ago, APD Forward met with leadership from APD and the City of Albuquerque to express concerns about the police department’s misuse of social media. It was APD Forward’s position then, and it is APD Forward’s position now, that APD is intentionally using the online media platforms that it controls to avoid tough questions, and, ultimately, to avoid accountability for failing to make adequate progress on reform.



APD Forward Questions Motivation and Timing of Audit


October 25, 2017

CONTACT: Micah McCoy, (505) 266-5915 x1003 or [email protected]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Earlier this week, three Albuquerque City Councilors called on the city auditor to review the performance of Dr. James Ginger and his company Public Management Resources. The process and the timing of the councilors’ request raises concerns for APD Forward (www.apdforward.org), a coalition whose purpose is to advocate for reforms of the Albuquerque Police Department.

“APD Forward has reviewed the Monitor’s contract and the court order approving the contract and we are concerned that the allegations from the City Councilors seem to be questionable at best,” said APD Forward spokesperson Nancy Koenigsberg, senior attorney at Disability Rights New Mexico. “Further, the court order delineates the process the city is required to follow if they believe there is an issue with how the monitor is carrying out his obligations. That is the proper way to raise these questions. Coming just weeks before a new administration takes office, it appears that this is an attempt by the City to smear the monitor’s reputation. We believe it would be far more productive if the City Council, along with the new administration, work collaboratively with the monitor to embrace the reform process agreed to three years ago.”

Dr. Ginger is the court-appointed Independent Monitor in the police reform agreement between the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the City of Albuquerque.   The DOJ entered into the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) after a DOJ investigation found a pattern and practice of excessive use of deadly force, as well as a “culture of aggression” within the Albuquerque Police Department.

In his capacity as Independent Monitor, Dr. Ginger and his team answer solely to the federal court, although his contract is paid for by the City of Albuquerque as part of the CASA. Any challenge to the Monitor’s performance should be addressed by the federal court overseeing the process. APD Forward believes the reforms outlined in the CASA are critical to the well-being of Albuquerque and APD, and the independence of the monitor is paramount to the police reform process.



APD Forward Reacts to Decision to Not Pursue Federal Charges in the Death of James Boyd



July 18, 2017


CONTACT: Micah McCoy, (505) 266-5915 x1003 or [email protected]  


ALBUQUERQUE, NM--Today the APD Forward coalition expressed disappointment but not surprise at the announcement of the U.S. Department of Justice that it would not pursue federal criminal civil rights charges against Albuquerque Police Department (APD) officers involved in the fatal shooting of James Boyd. The coalition vowed to redouble its efforts to transform what the Department of Justice has called a “culture of aggression” within APD that makes this kind unjustified shooting more likely to occur.


“This reflects the limitations of legal action and the fragmentation of a criminal justice system that tilts routinely toward punitive responses to people without homes, those struggling with mental illness and people of color,” said APD Forward spokeperson Jenny Metzler, Executive Director of Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless. “At the same time, law enforcement officers commit questionable acts of violence without real fear of being held accountable.”


Although APD Forward understands the legal reasoning behind the Department of Justice’s decision to not pursue charges, it is concerned that existing legal frameworks at the federal, state and local level make it nearly impossible to hold police officers accountable for excessive use of force. The coalition would like to see systems in place within APD to prevent unnecessary deaths at the hands of police from occurring in the first place.


“It's disappointing that there is still no justice for James Boyd, nonetheless our communities in Albuquerque must continue driving APD toward reform,” said APD Forward spokesperson, Natalie Nicotine with the Native American Voters Alliance. “Existing laws and policies clearly are not structured in a way that protects and serves our city’s most vulnerable populations. We need to demand more meaningful systems of accountability in our police department so there won't be any more senseless tragedies like this in the future.”


For more information about APD Forward, go to www.apdforward.org.



APD Forward calls for fundamental course correction at APD, releases new analysis

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Today APD Forward called for the Albuquerque Police Department to dramatically change its approach and attitude toward the settlement agreement reform process. The campaign also released a new analysis of the monitoring team's fifth report, outlining the highest profile deficiencies in the Department's effort to implement systemic changes aimed at addressing its history of using excessive force against residents of Albuquerque.

“While progress has been made, the Monitoring Team has documented deep ongoing problems with supervisory and oversight systems at APD,' said APD Forward spokesperson Jenny Metzler, executive director at the Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless. “The report indicates that 87 percent of the time supervisory oversight systems at APD for use of force incidents are failing. This absolutely has to change.”

Among the most alarming findings in the Monitoring Team's report is that APD leadership, in some instances, is deliberately obstructing the reform process by overtly refusing to comply with explicit requirements in the settlement agreement. One disturbing example is APD's refusal to ban neck holds except when a situation allows for lethal use of force by officers. This practice is specifically banned by the agreement.

“The neck hold issue is just one of many examples outlined in the report indicating that APD leadership is actively resisting some key requirements of the settlement agreement,” said APD Forward spokesperson Cathy Ansheles, executive director at the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. “We talk a lot about the need for culture change at APD. That change has to start at the top.”

You can read APD Forward’s analysis of the Independent Monitor’s 5th report here.


APD Forward Condemns Albuquerque Police Department for “Deliberate Non-compliance” with Settlement Agreement

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.