After a year-and-a-half investigation, a new U.S. Department of Justice report accuses Albuquerque Police of using excessive — even unconstitutional — force.
"Basically the Department of Justice is saying Albuquerque police did not need to shoot and people did not need to die." (Via KRQE)
In the 40-page evaluation, assistant attorney general Jocelyn Samuels alleges the APD often violates the 4th amendment, which covers unreasonable searches, thanks to inadequate training and insufficient oversight.
"Officers used deadly forces against people who posed a minimal threat, including individuals who posed a threat only to themselves or who were unarmed."
The investigation started in 2012, but problems at the APD grabbed headlines last month when officers shot and killed James Boyd, a mentally unstable homeless man camping outside the city.
According to the report, from 2011 to 2012, Albuquerque saw 25 deadly officer-involved shootings which was the same number seen in New York City, which is fifteen times larger. Twenty fatal incidents from 2009-2012 are now considered unconstitutional.
Samuels says the investigation included hundreds of hours of police ride-alongs, interviews, meetings with city officials and examination of department documents.
Many of the allegations focus on the APD's treatment of the mentally ill. That's an area where Albuquerque mayor Richard Berry says officer training can be improved. (Via USA Today)
But it’s Berry who has received the brunt of the criticism. According to the Albuquerque Journal, citizens blame his inaction for years of police brutality. During a town hall meeting earlier this week concerning the Police Department, Berry was absent. The Journal writes "People went to the council meeting to talk to the city’s leaders, and the top city leader sent them a message that he was too busy to listen to them."
The Department’s report recommends an overhaul of the APD’s Internal Affairs division, training focused on non-lethal force and a more powerful citizen oversight committee.