The Brachle Case: A Mountain Of BS
If ever the people of this city and this state needed to call bullshit on things, the sickening case of former APD Lt. Greg Brachle – the lieutenant who shot his own officer seven or eight times, nearly killed him and caused the officer and his family several lifetimes of grief and suffering – is it.
Heap down tons of the bullshit and scorn, and frustration and anger and outrage at Brachle himself, for he broke so many APD rules and regulations and so botched a $60 drug bust that his name should forever be the definition for so many things – incompetence, buffoonery, arrogance, cronyism, lack of professionalism, and, above all, cowardice and injustice.
And bury in a mountain of crap former APD Chief Gorden Eden, who spread the vile, morale-and spirit-crushing pus of favoritism throughout APD and who soiled his department because he was a coward and an incompetent. Bury him in a mountain of excrement so high, so damn high, that even the almighty will be sickened by its vile stench. Bury him in a mountain so high and heavy that it plunges through the depths straight into Hell and causes Satan himself to wretch and repent his evil ways forever more.
But save some of the crap for two other major players in the case: former District Attorney Kari Brandenburg and Attorney General Hector Balderas, for they too should be dressed in garments of stench over this one.
The are so many questions raised about the way this case was handled that one can only scream in frustration, “Bullshit!”
Let's go through the bizarre facts in this case starting with Balderas' letter on Monday to new APD Chief Michael Geier. In that letter, Balderas said that Brachle wouldn't be prosecuted for negligent use of a firearm for the January 2015 shooting in which he basically destroyed the body of officer Jacob Grant by pumping round after round after round of hollow-point bullets into the officer during a $60 undercover drug bust.
In that letter, Bladeras said his office got the proposed criminal case against Brachle – a case for the negligent use of a firearm, which is a misdemeanor - from Brandenburg's office in August of 2016. About a month later, Balderas's office supposedly sent a letter to Brandenburg's office saying that the case couldn't be prosecuted because the one-year statute of limitations had lapsed on the misdemeanor charge.
And in his letter to Geier, Balderas admonished the brand-new chief by saying that APD should have filed to revoke Brachle's law enforcement license a long time ago, but never did. In that letter, Balderas urged Geier to file paperwork with the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Board to pull Brachle's license.
Yes, Brachle, the incompetent who shot his own officer, is still licensed as a cop and is still allowed to carry a gun, and he can still apply to be a cop at other police departments.
Brandenburg said on Tuesday that she has never seen the letter that Balderas says he sent her office in September of 2016. And, she says that when she sent the Brachle case to the AG's office in the summer of 2016, she informed Balderas that in addition to the misdemeanor charge, her office was looking at second-degree murder and manslaughter charges against Brachle. Both are felonies and have a five-year statute of limitations.
I don't know if any of that is true because Brandenburg is out of town and said she doesn't have access to the files that she kept on the case and can't immediately produce the letter she says she sent to Balderas about the case.
So here is where you can start loading your shovels, front-end loaders and dump trucks with BS to bury these people with.
If Brandenburg's office did get the Sept 13, 2016 letter from Balderas' office, and if Brandenburg did see it, she should have made it public. And, if as DA of the state's largest county, Brandenburg had acted with such outrageous incompetence as to send a case to his office after the statute of limitations had expired, he should have been screaming in public to everyone about it. But the alleged letter was never made public, and nor was Brandenburg's alleged incompetence. This is a case where a cop shot a cop and we all deserved to know that was going on with it.
If Balderas' office has a letter from Brandenburg saying that second-degree murder and manslaughter charges could potentially filed against Bachle, we should see it, because if it exists, then Balderas could be playing the game of deceit by heaping blame for his own inaction on Brandenburg.
Remember the timeline. Brachle shot Grant on Jan. 9, 2015. The statute of limitations for a misdemeanor, which is what negligent use of a firearm is, is one year. Brandenburg is a lawyer. She knows the law. Why would she send a case to Balderas knowing that the statute had already run?
It's a stretch that she'd act so incompetently. So it lends credence to Brandenburg's argument that she was considering felony charges against Brachle and that she sent the case to Balderas with those suggested charges.
And why is Balderas now lecturing new chief Geier about filing to revoke Brachle's law enforcement license? That's bizarre. Did Balderas ever send such a letter to Eden – the police chief who covered up for his cop-shooting lieutenant? He should have. And if he didn't, why not? Was he too trying to wash his hands of this case? Was everybody involved reluctant to go after a police lieutenant who nearly killed his own officer? Was all of this just a big game of delaying and stalling and hoping it would go away? Was it just a game of protecting the cops?
Balderas, who as AG is the chair of the NMLEA board, could have filed a decertification proceeding against Brachle any time he wanted in the past year and a half. He could have ordered the head of the Law Enforcement Academy to file against Brachle's license. But apparently, rather than doing that himself, Balderas has decided to put the burden of it on a new police chief who wasn't even part of APD when Brachle nearly killed Grant.
And the head of the NMLEA could have initiated license revocation proceedings against Brachle. The case was all over the news. Do these people live in a bubble where they don't have TV, newspapers or the internet?
And then there's a January, 2107 affidavit from Brachle saying that he doesn't intend to apply for another law enforcement job. That affidavit was attached to the letter that Balderas sent on Monday to Geier.
Why such an affidavit if Balderas' office knew in August and September of 2016 that the statute of limitations had lapsed on the potential misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a firearm? It doesn't make sense.
But heap most of the crap on Eden. The shooting of Grant by Brachle occurred on Jan. 9, 2015. But Eden didn't turn over the case files to Brandenburg's office until October of that year. And he did so only after basically being ordered by Brandenburg to do so. This was not a complicated case, and it was all on video. What Eden was doing was delaying and delaying, and obstructing and obstructing so that Brachle could be hidden until he put in enough time to get his retirement.
And Eden, who had filed decertification papers against officers for lesser offenses, including one who wrote a blog critical of APD's management, never filed against Brachle.
Why? Because he was playing the destructive game of favoritism and injustice. Protect your pals and go after those who criticize you, no matter how mildly.
It's beyond sick and despicable. And Eden should lose his law enforcement license for practicing favoritism and injustice, and for helping ruin the morale at APD.
There are those who still slavishly support and defend Eden - think the NAIOP crowd. That's their choice. But they need to know that in defending Eden and his vile policies, they have forever buried themselves in a mountain of bullshit that makes the Almighty himself wretch.