Reform Group: APD Trying To Divert Attention From Its Failures

The city of Albuquerque's court filing accusing the independent monitor in the police department's reform effort of bias against APD was an attempt to divert attention from yet another report by the monitor that ripped the department, the group APD Forward said Wednesday.

The motion and other things APD and three city councilors have done in the past week indicate a department that doesn't want to be held accountable, APD Forward spokesman Steven Robert Allen said during a news conference in front of police headquarters Downtown.

“We don't have any specific information, but we think the timing is extremely concerning given the fact that the monitor's sixth report was released today,” Allen said. “What is blocking reform is the lack of quality leadership [at APD].

“It seems like APD is trying to divert attention from the findings contained in monitor's sixth report, and that would be problematic.”

That sixth report by the monitor, James Ginger, was filed Wednesday morning with U.S. District Court Judge Robert Brack. It said that a “culture of accountability is markedly absent at APD,” even three years into the reform process, and that APD's ability to track and property deal with use-of-force cases in trending into disorder.

(Related stories are posted at the bottom of this story.)

In the past week, three city councilors have called for an audit of Ginger's expenses, and earlier this week, APD launched a new website, apdreform.com. In a news release last week, APD Forward said the website was “designed to distort the department’s record on reform.”

The release added that “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.”

And APD is far from done with the reform process. Ginger's sixth report said that APD's operational compliance rate with the settlement agreement – the only category that really matters – was 52 percent, up from 47 percent from the fifth report, which was filed in early May.

APD must reach a 95 percent operational compliance rate and keep it for two years before the DOJ can leave town. According to the settlement agreement, APD was supposed to have reached that 95 percent compliance rate in November of 2016.

Allen added that there “was not a lot of meat” to the city's motion against Ginger and that the examples of alleged bias cited in the motion are merely signs of Ginger's frustration with slow progress of the reform effort from APD's end.

“He [Ginger] is clearly frustrated, but being frustrated does not mean that he is being biased,” Allen said.

The DOJ has until November 14 to file its response to the city's motion regarding Ginger's alleged bias.

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