Has the Albuquerque Police Department changed, really changed? Soon we will find out.
It’s time to make accountable those who think working for the City of Albuquerque is like working at a brothel.
Two court cases this month are dragging up old, painful memories of a police department that fell from grace through poor leadership and management. The first case involved a civilian scientist, Furman Sizemore, at the APD Crime Lab. He sued the City of Albuquerque over violations of the human rights act. His lawsuit stemmed from actions by his supervisors at the APD Scientific Evidence Unit in 2015, when Gorden Eden was Chief of Police. D 202 CV 2016 05356, Sizemore vs City of Albuquerque.
The jury in this matter agreed with Sizemore, stating that his race (Sizemore is African American) was a “motivating factor in his supervisors discriminating in matters of compensation” against him. Basically, the jury said that because he is black, APD management didn’t give him a raise that they gave others who were not black. And yes, you and I are going to pay for this discrimination.
If this sounds like Groundhog Day it is, the citizens have been paying for egregious actions by APD management for years now, with no one at City Hall ever holding them personally accountable.
The second case is scheduled to start on May 14, 2018 in federal district court (Welch vs City of Albuquerque). In this case current Albuquerque Airport Police Lieutenant Terysa Welch is alleging sexual harassment and discrimination during the time she was an APD detective in the Repeat Offenders Project (ROP). This alleged harassment occurred slightly less than ten years ago when Ray Schultz (the Nature at Play chief) oversaw APD.
The allegations that Welch make are disturbing to anyone with a moral compass that works. Her complaint includes unwanted touching and hugging by her supervisors and fellow detectives, a request for her to refer to her supervisor as “daddy,” and an offer of a “three-way” sex act with one of the detectives and his wife.
Welch make a lot of other disturbing allegations such as physical threats by her fellow detectives and that they refused to provide her backup when needed. If any of this is true, it will just be one more reminder of how low APD sunk under the command of people like Schultz.
I used to tell officers in my squad that it is always darkest right before it goes completely black. Of course, it could be that it is darkest just before the dawn of a new day. This is the question Albuquerque citizens need to be asking of Chief Geier and Mayor Keller.
Will Geier and Keller ignore these two court cases and their verdicts? Or will they step in front of the cameras and put forth to the citizens and officers at APD that this is a new day and this type of activity will not be tolerated any longer.
Some of the people involved in these cases still work for the city of Albuquerque. What I hope happens is that Geier will call for an Internal Affairs investigation into Sizemore’s discrimination and Welch’s sexual harassment. If any current APD employees are found that they participated Geier must discipline them.
And this isn’t just a problem at APD. If you remember the Parking Division had their own supervisor who cost the city a couple hundred thousand dollars because he sexually harassed his subordinates.
This brings me to Mayor Keller and the strong leadership he promised. Mayor Keller, I know this crap didn’t happen under your watch, but as a Albuquerque taxpayer I am disgusted in the millions of dollars paid out for disgusting antics by people in management at the City of Albuquerque. Keller needs to put forth several policies to protect our checkbook.
Keller must enact a city policy regarding “nature at play.” It’s time to make accountable those who think working for the City of Albuquerque is like working at a brothel. Keller must also put forth a policy that if the actions of a city employee cost the taxpayers money in court settlements or verdicts, an immediate investigation must be opened. If that employee if found to have acted in violation of city rules and regulations then the punishment should be swift and sure.
I am tired of the embarrassment. I am tired of my tax dollars being handed out with no one being held accountable. Chief Geier and Mayor Keller, is this a new day or just more of the same?