Justice: Albuquerque police use ‘excessive force’

AP Albuquerque Police ShootingsUSA Today – by Doug Stanglin

The U.S. Justice Department charged Thursday that an investigation of the Albuquerque police force found that the department “engages in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including deadly force.”

The allegations were contained in a letter from Jocelyn Samuels, acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, to Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry and Police Chief Gorden Eden.  

The letter said actions by police violated the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which covers such areas as unreasonable searches and seizures.

The Justice Department letter said its investigation determined that “structural and systemic deficiencies” in the Albuquerque Police Department, such as insufficient oversight and inadequate training, “contribute to the use of unreasonable force.”

Street protests and demands for reform in the New Mexico city of more than 555,000 people erupted last month after heavily armed police shot and killed James Boyd, a homeless man who had a history of violent outbursts and mental instability.

Boyd was the 37th person shot by Albuquerque police, and the 23rd fatality, since January 2010.

In the report, Samuels said that of the 20 fatal shootings from 2009 to 2012 involving Albuquerque police, most were unconstitutional.

“Albuquerque police officers often use deadly force in circumstances where there is no imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm to officers or others,” Samuels wrote. “Instead, officers used deadly forces against people who posed a minimal threat, including individuals who posed a threat only to themselves or who were unarmed.”

She also noted that officers frequently misused electronic control weapons like Tasers, “resorting to use of the weapon on people who are passively resisting, observably non-threatening but unable to comply with orders due to their mental state, or posed only a minimal threat to the officers.”

In a statement released with the findings, Samuels thanked the mayor of Albuquerque and the department for its cooperation in the investigation.

“Throughout our investigation, APD leadership has been receptive to our preliminary feedback and technical assistance,” she wrote.

Samuels said the investigation involved hundreds of interviews, ride-alongs with officers, meetings with community leaders and examination of extensive documents.

Berry said the city would work with the Justice Department to make changes and that he expects a federal monitor to track progress.

“It won’t be quick and easy, but we can achieve it,” he said in a written statement.

In anticipation of the release of the report, the mayor announced last week the hiring of a deputy police chief to oversee the implementation of the expected recommendations.

Calling Boyd’s death a “game changer,” Berry said the city intended to upgrade officer training, particularly for dealing with the mentally disturbed.

“I’m calling on our legislators to take action as well to craft laws to help individuals living with mental health issues, particularly individuals who have a propensity to do harm to themselves or others,” the mayor told reporters.

In last month’s protests, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets for almost nine hours in the second such gathering in less than a week.

At one point, police used tear gas against the crowds after some participants began vandalizing property and spray painting buildings along Central Avenue, according to KRQE. —

Justice Department investigation of Albuquerque PD


5 thoughts on “Justice: Albuquerque police use ‘excessive force’

  1. Good. Hopefully they’re the first of many police forces to be ripped to shreds by buckshot.

    Your sadistic pleasures are coming back to haunt you, pig-boy. It was a lot of fun busting people’s chops, wasn’t it? Did you enjoy the power to feel up some guy’s wife during a traffic stop, and get away with it? Maybe a roadside rape when things were slow? Shoot some defenseless kid because “you don’t have time for this”?

    Payback’s a bitch, you stinkin’, low-life, thieving, raping, murderous bastards, and your day is coming soon. And millions are looking forward to it.

    1. I read a story the other day…from somewhere in Eastern Europe … I can’t recall which country(?)…but the police are out in their gestapo outfits, batons, ballistic shields and water/sound canons….and they were there to control a group of unionized, striking miners…anyway….as the mayhem began to get violent…and the police started to charge the lines of protesters… beating and abusing them…the miners responded by throwing lit sticks of dynamite at the police…..Ha! The story indicated that the police retreated rather quickly…..!

      RJ O’Guillory
      Webster Groves – The Life of an Insane Family

  2. “Berry said the city would work with the Justice Department to make changes and that he expects a federal monitor to track progress.

    “It won’t be quick and easy, but we can achieve it,” he said in a written statement.”

    And of course they’ll be on good behavior until public disapproval dies down, and then it will ramp up again to satisfy their lust for blood.

  3. All talk until I see some REAL changes. Like the firing and arrests of all of the current APD officers and the hiring of all new APD officers who are for the people and by the people.

    Actually, now that I think about it, who cares about a new police force! We never needed them before and we sure as hell don’t need them now. Furthermore, they are not even in the Constitution, so screw them and anyone who wants to become them! I protect myself and enforce my own rights. Don’t need someone else to do that for me. It’s all stated in the law of the land.

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