APD Reform: Kill The Messenger Part 2
The question this morning is now that the city and the Albuquerque Police Department's command staff is whining that the independent monitor in the DOJ reform effort is biased against them, who isn't biased against the Albuquerque Police Department's command staff?
And why shouldn't they be?
This is a command staff that for three years has obstructed the police reform settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice that the city negotiated and signed and vowed to abide by.
This is a command staff that has wasted millions of your dollars by dragging its feet on the reform effort and that has wasted nearly $60 million of your money by creating an atmosphere where officers apparently felt that they were free to use excessive force and shoot people when less forceful measures could have been used.
This is a command staff that lied to you, the public, about having sent officers to investigate a report of abuse against Victoria Martens five months before she was brutally murdered.
This is a command staff that basically stole retention bonuses that were meant for rank-and-file officers.
This is a command staff that did absolutely nothing to a narcotics lieutenant who shot and horribly wounded his own officer. Yes, the command staff, including Gorden Eden, Bobby Huntsman and Timmy Gonterman, let Lt. Greg Brachle retire after he shot Jacob Grant in January of 2015 during low-level drug bust.
Eden and crew didn't move to revoke Brachle's law enforcement license for having nearly killed Grant and for having violated numerous APD policies.
Yet this is a command staff that has moved to revoke the licenses of other officers – apparently who weren't their pals – for far less serious offenses.
This is a chief and a command staff that broke its own rules in hiring Jessica Tyler to head the department's training academy. Tyler was the subject of a Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department Internal Affairs investigation at the time she was hired.
The list goes on and on and on. This command staff and this mayoral administration have been total failures when it comes to doing their jobs fairly and with honesty, integrity and honor.
The latest shame on the department and the administration is another attempt to kill the messenger in the reform effort. On Tuesday, APD and the city filed a motion with federal court judge Robert Back complaining that the independent monitor in the reform case, James Ginger is biased against them.
Well, let's hope that Ginger is biased against a command staff that has repeatedly failed to do its job and has engaged in deliberate non-compliance with the reform settlement agreement the city signed with the DOJ in November of 2014.
Ginger has now issued five reports that have been highly critical of APD's command staff. A sixth report, which is also expected to be critical of the command staff, will be filed with the court on Thursday, Nov. 2.
The city's motion is another pathetic and sleazy attempt to smear Ginger. Reform advocates have been warning that APD would go after Ginger for being critical of the department. Now their warnings have become a reality.
And what is the evidence the city used in its motion against Ginger? A secret body camera recording of personal conversation Ginger was having with City Attorney Jessica Hernandez on March 18, 2016. The secrety recording was made by Assistant Chief Bobby Huntsman. Here's how the Albuquerque Journal described the incident in a story in this morning's paper:
The March 18, 2016, meeting was just before Ginger attended a City Council study session to discuss his latest report. Assistant Police Chief Robert Huntsman at one point during the meeting secretly turned on his on-body camera, and Hernandez asked Ginger if there were going to be any “surprises” during his presentation to councilors.
Ginger then expressed frustration with Hernandez’s recent appearance before the City Council, where she answered questions about the police reform process at length and at times said she disagreed with the monitor’s findings.
“It’s fine. I can play the game, Jessica. I know how, and we can play it,” Ginger said, according to the recording.
Later in the meeting, he appears to tell the police officials that he had problems with Hernandez, and not with them.
“And you guys, and you guys are gonna be collateral damage, and I understand it, right. But I didn’t start this,” Ginger said.
So now Huntsman and company are turning on their body cameras to secretly record the private conversations of the court-appointed independent monitor?
That sounds like spying.
Another way to read Ginger's comments to police officials that they would be collateral damage is that he was telling them that Hernandez was leading them in the wrong direction with her obstructionist effort and that they would be the ones to pay for it.
Seems like he was trying to give them some good advice.
So the sleaze with APD's command staff and Mayor Richard Berry's administration continues.
The good news is that they will be gone shortly after December 1 when a new mayor takes office. It can't come too soon.
We really don't need the bodies of dead messengers piling up.