It's beginning to look like it wasn't just former Albuquerque Police Department sneak Robert Huntsman who had a habit of secretly recording people involved with APD's ongoing reform effort.
In appears that there are other secret recordings made by APD, or other city employees, of people involved in the reform process. And if there are, it amplifies the misrepresentations that former City Attorney Jessica Hernandez and others made to a federal court judge about their sneakiness.
(Photo: The sneak. Former APD Assistant Chief Robert Huntsman.)
On Thursday, I left two phone messages with Acting City Attorney Samantha Hults asking if the city would file paperwork with U.S. District Court Judge Robert Brack to correct the misrepresentations the former administration made to Brack about Huntsman's secret recording of James Ginger, the independent monitor in the reform case.
What I got back was an email message from APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos saying that I should request more recordings from APD and the city. Here's what Gallegos' email said:
“As far as your questions about additional recordings, you might want to send an updated IPRA for all recordings turned over to the Court, based on its Nov. 16, 2017 order that required the city to 'immediately produce, in camera, all video and/or audio recordings and/or transcripts it has secretly obtained of either the Monitor, the monitoring team, or of this Court.'”
That tells me that there is more than one secret recording. And, secretly recording Ginger, or anyone else involved in the reform process, apparently is a violation of the city's settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice in late 2014.
Here's he background of the case:
In October, Hernandez and company filed a motion with Brack that accused Ginger of being biased against APD. As proof of the alleged bias, Hernandez and crowd, including Huntsman and then-APD Chief Gorden Eden, gave Brack a 14-minute-long secret recording that Huntsman made of Ginger on March 18, 2016.
In an affidavit attached to the motion, Huntsman swore that he turned on his lapel camera only after becoming concerned that Ginger was becoming aggressive during the meeting with Hernandez and APD honchos. But that wasn't true because it turns out that Huntsman's video of the meeting was 45 minutes, not a mere 14 minutes. And, during the first 36 minutes, there are no arguments or heated words between Ginger and Hernandez.
So Hernandez and crowd didn't tell Brack the truth about the sneaky video, or videos that Huntsman made of Ginger. And remember that on Nov. 16, 2017, Brack ripped the city for the secret recording and said it had tried to discredit Ginger and derail the reform process.
The good news about this stinking affair is that Hernandez, Huntsman and Eden are gone and that Mayor Tim Keller's administration has done an about-face in regards to the reform effort. In other words, APD and the city are no longer trying to torpedo the reform process.
In his email, Gallegos also said, “Mayor Keller and the new leadership team at APD are looking forward and focusing on a productive relationship with all parties to the settlement agreement. Our goal is to meet the expectations of the agreement and restore trust in the department through an emphasis on community policing.”