APD Forward Releases Analysis of Independent Monitor’s Special Report

Report shows alarming signs that APD’s use of force investigations remain seriously deficient

September 30, 2016

CONTACT: Micah McCoy, (505) 266-5915 x1003 or mmccoy@aclu-nm.org

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—Today, the police reform advocacy group APD Forward released its analysis of the Independent Federal Monitor Dr. James Ginger’s Special Report, which was released earlier this month on September 16th. The report, which covers the period of December 1, 2015 through March 31, 2016, details a number of use of force incidents that reveal serious shortcomings in APD use of force investigations.

 “Simply put, this is unacceptable,” said APD Forward Spokesperson Steven Allen, policy director for the ACLU of New Mexico. “This special report is an alarming portrait of a police department experiencing systemic failure in its use of force investigations. APD needs to hold up their end of the bargain and implement an effective system for recognizing, investigating, evaluating, and resolving incidents involving the use of force.”


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APD Forward Condemns City's Attempt to Undermine the Independent Monitor

APD Forward Condemns City’s Attempt to Undermine the Independent Monitor

Judge Brack blocks City of Albuquerque and APD Police Union’s attempt to force alterations in monitor’s special report




September 16, 2016


CONTACT: Micah McCoy, (505) 266-5915 x1003 or mmccoy@aclu-nm.org


ALBUQUERQUE, NM—An order filed yesterday by Judge Brack, the judge overseeing the police reform agreement between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Albuquerque Police Department (APD)/City of Albuquerque, denied a request by the City of Albuquerque and the APD police union to censor information contained in a special report released today by independent federal monitor Dr. James Ginger. The community advocacy group APD Forward condemns this attempt by the city and the police union to block the federal monitor from releasing information about use of force incidents to the public.


“The City and the police officers' union need to stop trying to prevent the monitoring team from doing its job,” said APD Forward spokesperson Cathy Ansheles, executive director of the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association. “APD has a long history of blocking scrutiny and transparency over its internal processes. Hopefully, this is a wake-up call. If the reform process is going to be successful, APD needs to cultivate a culture of openness and transparency.”


Earlier this month, the City of Albuquerque and the Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association attempted to force alterations in the independent monitor’s special report. The report, which was released in its full unadulterated form today, investigates multiple incidents of use of force by Albuquerque Police Department officers in 2015.


As Judge Brack notes in the order filed on September 15, the settlement agreement between the City and the Department of Justice was created to “promote more effective law enforcement and … strengthen public confidence in APD” by “increasing transparency and accountability on use of force.” Brack concludes by saying that “To allow the City to red-line the Monitor’s reports, pre-publication, would undermine the Monitor’s independence and introduce a precedent the Court is unwilling to set.”


As with every report from the Independent Monitor, APD Forward will release a summary and analysis of the special report following a thorough review.



Special Report from the Indpendent Federal Monitor

Judge Brack's Order Regarding Monitor's Special Report


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It's too early to celebrate APD's progress

Peter Simonson, Executive Director of the ACLU, writes on behalf of APD Forward regarding the recent "celebration" that took place in Federal Court on July 28, 2016. 

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APD Forward Releases Analysis of Third Independent Federal Monitor Report


ALBUQUERQUE, NM—Today, the APD Forward campaign released its analysis of the third status report issued by Independent Federal Monitor Dr. James Ginger earlier this month. APD Forward’s two-page analysis of the Monitor’s 352-page report highlights the Albuquerque Police Department’s continuing struggle to make substantial progress toward compliance with the settlement agreement.

The biggest cause for concern is that the Monitor has noted numerous problems with APD’s use of force investigations, including the failure of APD supervisors and command staff to recognize use of force issues, to reliably collect use of force data, to do any type of meaningful investigation of use of force incidents, and to recognize and address patterns of use of force that could implicate the need for meaningful policy review.

APD Forward also wishes to highlight the fact that it is extremely unlikely that APD will complete the reform process in the timeframe outlined in the settlement agreement. While APD has not yet missed a deadline, serious concerns exist as to whether APD will be able to complete the reform process within its self-imposed timeline of four years. Several of the early deadlines for certain requirements were already extended, though the overall timeline has not yet changed.

A full copy of APD Forward’s two-page analysis is available here: http://bit.ly/29OF4sL

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APD Forward Coalition Condemns Violence and Calls for Constructive dialogue between APD and Communities


July 8, 2016


CONTACT: Micah McCoy, (505) 266-5915 x1003


ALBUQUERQUE, NM—In the wake of horrific violence around the country this week, the APD Forward campaign (www.apdforward.org) urges APD and the communities most impacted by police violence to reinvigorate efforts to engage in constructive dialogue about how best to protect the safety of all Albuquerque residents, including police officers. The violence has exacerbated a divide between officers and impacted communities that needs to be addressed. APD Forward is committed to help identify and implement methods for doing so.


“We need a path forward,” said Jenny Metzler, executive director of Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless and an APD Forward member. “The most important first step is for our police department and the people it serves to come together and figure out genuine, lasting ways to heal the divide between police and impacted communities.”


From the beginning, APD Forward has stressed that most police officers are honorable professionals who were attracted to careers in law enforcement out of a desire to serve the public good. We have also stressed that the excessive use of force exhibited by APD and many other police departments around the country impacts specific communities substantially more than others, including communities of color, people living with mental illness and people who are homeless.


Today, APD announced it has provided directives for its officers to be more vigilant in the wake of the Dallas shootings. We encourage APD to also remain vigilant in its promise to protect the constitutional rights of Albuquerque residents and to continue its work on reforms that ensure excessive force will not be used.


“The safety of all is paramount,” said Adriann Barboa, state director of Strong Families New Mexico, also an APD Forward member. “But we can’t achieve safety for all in an atmosphere of fear and mistrust. Police and the communities they serve must come together to honor one another’s humanity and build trust through dialogue, mutual respect, and compassion.”


To help bridge the gap between APD and the city it serves, APD Forward is sponsoring a series of roundtables between APD and impacted communities. The first roundtable was held last year and involved a facilitated dialogue between youth and police. Upcoming roundtables will feature facilitated dialogues between police and people who are homeless, LGBTQ people, Native Americans and people living with mental illness.


The recent officer-involved killings in Louisiana and Minnesota make it clear that police reform is a national issue that requires immediate and sustained attention. We also stand by officers who were killed and injured as a result of the tragic event in Dallas. In the wake of this violence, we call upon communities to work hand-in-hand with APD to promote public safety for all.

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APD Forward Releases Analysis of Second Independent Federal Monitor Report


March 22, 2016


CONTACT: Micah McCoy, (505) 266-5915 x1003 or mmccoy@aclu-nm.org


ALBUQUERQUE, NM--Today, the APD Forward coalition released its analysis of the second status report issued by Independent Federal Monitor Dr. James Ginger earlier this month. APD Forward’s analysis highlights the Albuquerque Police Department’s continuing struggles to revise and rewrite policies, delaying systemic reform . The analysis also highlights one particular incident from the monitor’s report in which APD supervisors repeatedly mismanaged their investigation into an officer who deployed pepper spray in the face of a driver, almost causing him to run over an innocent bystander.  


“While we continue to see improvements in areas like the use of special units, the pepper-spray incident illustrates that APD’s supervision of use of force by its officers still needs substantial improvement,”said APD Forward Spokesperson Taina Colón, Criminal Justice Advocate for the ACLU of New Mexico. “That, combined with ongoing problems in basic policy development, puts the Albuquerque Police Department significantly behind where it should be at this point.”


APD Forward’s analysis shows that several crucial policies are still pending approval more than a year into the reform process, including:


  • On-Body Recording Devices

  • Response to Demonstrations

  • Investigations of Officer Involved Lethal Use of Force and In-Custody Deaths

  • Investigative Response Team

  • Internal Affairs Division

  • Force Review Board

  • Hostage, Suicidal, Barricaded Subject, and Sniper Situations

  • Response to Mental Illness


A full copy of APD Forward’s analysis is available at: https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/apdforward/pages/33/attachments/original/1458664383/Second_Monitor_Report_Analysis.pdf?1458664383


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Albuquerque Police Still Falling Short in Policy Development and Community Engagement

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—Today, in the wake of the second status conference between independent federal monitor Dr. James Ginger and the Albuquerque Police Department (APD), APD Forward expressed concern that the city is still falling short in creating the new policies mandated by the reform agreement and engaging the community in a meaningful way in the process. At the last status conference in December 2015, the public learned that APD’s process for developing new policies wasn’t working. Today, we learned that the process still is not working like it needs to.

“Finalizing APD’s new use of force policy was an important first step in creating adequate training, improved supervision, and effective discipline of APD officers,” said Steven Robert Allen, Director of Public Policy at the ACLU of New Mexico. “However, APD’s process for getting this first step done was laborious, lengthy, and appeared lacking in collaborative spirit. APD Forward finds it extremely concerning that the City Attorney flatly refused Dr. Ginger’s offer to provide a ‘primer’ on the policy development process. The City can’t continue to point fingers when it has purposefully ignored opportunities to be successful. This problem needs to be fixed; otherwise there is a real danger that the settlement agreement will be derailed.”


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APD Forward Releases Analysis of the Federal Monitor's First Compliance Report

ALBUQUERQUE, NM—Today, APD Forward released its in-depth analysis of the 203 page compliance report compiled by Independent Federal Monitor Dr. James Ginger late last year, which covers the first reporting period from February 1, 2015 through May 13, 2015. APD Forward also looked at the Albuquerque Police Department’s (APD) self-report, and compared it to what the Independent Federal Monitor found. After independently examining both reports, APD Forward analysis shows APD is behind schedule in complying with reform requirements, especially where training and policy implementation are concerned.

“We are concerned that APD is approaching this reform as something it needs to dispose of as quickly as possible rather than as an opportunity to become the exceptional police department that Albuquerque deserves,” said APD Forward spokesperson Adriann Barboa, Field Director for Strong Families NM. “We hope that this first progress report serves as a wakeup call, and that APD will engage in the continuing reform effort with a renewed seriousness and commitment to excellence. With the safety of Albuquerque citizens on the line, APD simply cannot afford to approach it any other way.”


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Independent Monitor's First Report

APD Forward Expresses Concern that APD is Delaying Reform Process


ALBQUERQUE, NM—Today, federal monitor Dr. James Ginger’s released the first status report on the Albuquerque Police Department’s (APD) progress towards implementing the reforms required by the consent decree between the Department of Justice and APD. In comments in federal court today, Ginger revealed that to date APD has failed to submit adequate use of force policies to the monitor, slowing down compliance with the entire consent decree. Indeed, Dr. Ginger reported that the policy has gone through "two cycles" of review, without gaining approval. In the wake of this announcement, the APD Forward coalition calls upon the Albuquerque Police Department to cooperate in the creation of adequate use of force polices and submit them in as soon as possible.


“This reform process is not going to work if APD keeps falling short in the foundational task of creating acceptable use of force policies,” said APD Forward spokesperson Peter Simonson, Executive Director for the ACLU of New Mexico. “These policies are the first step in creating adequate training, improved supervision, and effective discipline. Without them, we cannot build the community friendly, responsible police force our city deserves. APD needs to demonstrate to the community that it is serious about this process by developing these policies and fully cooperating with the Department of Justice.”


Over the coming days, APD Forward will review the monitor’s full report, as well as APD's self-report, to analyze where the reform effort is progressing as expected, and where APD is falling short of its reform commitments. 


First Independent Monitor Report (Part I)

First Independent Monitor Report (Part II)

First Independent Monitor Report (Appendix)



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Mobile Justice New Mexico App

The wait is over! On November 13, the ACLU Mobile Justice New Mexico app officially launched. You can download the free app for your IOS or Android device in either English or Spanish by visiting the Apple Store or Android Marketplace.

Download now for iPhone.

Download now for Android.

Not familiar with the Mobile Justice App? It’s an innovative new tool that helps New Mexicans use their smart phones to record police encounters and file reports of law enforcement misconduct directly to the ACLU. We know firsthand how important video evidence is for holding police accountable. Now, any person with a smartphone can report abuse or misconduct in real time.

Learn more and get the app for your smartphone or tablet now.

With the Mobile Justice New Mexico app you can:

  • Record an incident: After you finish recording, it is automatically saved to your phone and a copy is saved directly to a secure ACLU server. Even if a police officer grabs your phone and deletes the footage, your recording is safe with the ACLU.
  • File a report: If you witness police misconduct, you can use the app to file a report directly with the ACLU.
  • Witness an incident: With the location services turned on, other app users will be informed when an incident is being filmed nearby. Two sets of eyes are better than one, and the app helps connect civic-minded people to hold police accountable in real time.

Check out the Mobile Justice NM website to get a video tour of Mobile Justice NM's features and download the app to turn your smartphone into a powerful tool for law enforcement accountability and community safety.

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