DOJ Turns On APD Reform Monitor
The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday said it agrees with the city that bias against the city on the part of the independent monitor in the Albuquerque Police Department's reform case, “if it exists, 'has the ability to undermine the integrity of the entire reform process' at the Albuquerque Police Department.”
The DOJ added that it has no objection to U.S. District Court Judge Robert Brack holding an evidentiary hearing to determine if the monitor, Jams Ginger, is biased against APD.
The government made its comments in an answer it filed to the city's motion in the case alleging that Ginger had it out for APD.
“In its Motion, however, the Defendant [city] has presented information that, viewed in the light most favorable to the Defendant, would be troubling and might erode public confidence in the reform process,” the DOJ's court filing said. “The Defendant, moreover, has stated that it has 'other related evidence' that it has not yet disclosed to the Court or the United States but would 'provide at the hearing' if the Court orders one.
“Given the significant public interest in this case and the importance of maintaining the
public’s confidence in these proceedings, the Court may find it appropriate to clear the air regarding this dispute through a limited evidentiary hearing.”
The DOJ's filing also said that Ginger used a poor choice of words when, on March 18, 2016, he told APD officials that they could end up being "collateral damage" in the reform process.
"In that same discussion, the Monitor also reaffirmed his commitment to the Defendant and to the reform effort: 'I’m not gonna give up on you guys. I’m gonna give it the best I can give it.'" the DOJ's filing said.
"Thus, in context, the Monitor may not have been stating an intent to take retaliatory actions against APD, but instead concurring with Deputy Chief Roseman that disagreements between the Monitor and the City Attorney before the City Council would distract from the reform effort, to APD’s detriment.
"In all events, the Monitor’s poor choice of words is regrettable. The Monitor’s comments may raise questions in the minds of some about the legitimacy of this process—questions that the Court may wish to resolve through the evidentiary hearing that the Defendant has requested."