I attended the November 18, 2016 four hour hearing held by US. District Judge Robert Brack and listened to Federal Monitor Dr. James Ginger make his fourth report on APD’s progress implementing the Department of Justice reforms under the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA). The courtroom was packed with concerned citizens.
The Federal Monitor reported to the court that “across the board, the components in APD’s system for overseeing and holding officers accountable for the use of force, for the most part, has failed.” The Monitor also said “the serious deficiencies revealed point to a deeply-rooted systemic problem and the deficiencies, in part, indicate a culture [of] low accountability is at work within APD, particularly in chain-of-command reviews.”
US Attorney Damon Martinez addressed the Court and informed the Court that the Mayor and City engages in a disturbing pattern of conduct where press conferences are held regarding changes at APD never discussed with the Department of Justice that may be covered by the consent decree. The example given was when Mayor Berry held his press conference with APD announcing his “crime fighting” plan prepared after his $65,000 “crime study” to pay a private company approximately $1.5 million dollars a year to employ 25 retired police officers to assist APD with interviews and evidence processing. The question raised by the US Attorney was if the retired cops would be governed by the consent decree requirements for constitutional policing?
Judge Brack was also told how the City posted on its web site and made public a confidential letter between attorneys disparaging the Federal Monitor. The Court was also told that the City has a disturbing pattern of criticizing the Federal Monitor, taking issue with him and challenging his audit findings to the extent of demanding changes in the audits.
What surprised me was when well known and respected civil rights attorney Peter Cubra told the Court that from his vantage point, APD was disparaging, taking issue with and is critical of the Federal Monitor in order to lead up to asking that he be removed and replaced. That is exactly the tactics I warned the Federal Monitor back in January that the City would use against him.
I also noticed that Tim Keller, Brian Colon, Deana Archuleta, Dan Lewis, Mitchell Garcia, Wayne Johnson and Rob Perry did not even bother to attend the hearing.