ABQ Reports: Sleazier Than Thought; City Attorney and Assistant Chief Gave Judge Only Partial Video

Sleazier than thought; Hernandez and Huntsman gave judge only partial video

January 3, 2018

By: Dennis Domrzalski


Former Assistant Albuquerque Police Chief Robert Huntsman and former City Attorney Jessica Hernandez and crew were a lot sleazier than we knew when it came to trying to deceive the federal court judge about the alleged bias of the independent monitor in APD’s three-year-long reform effort.

Hernandez and crowd gave the judge only 14 minutes of a 45-minute video of a meeting in which Huntsman secretly recorded the monitor, James Ginger. And only about nine minutes of the 14-minute video they filed with the judge contained any disagreements between Ginger and APD staffers.

It means that Hernandez and crowd withheld 70 percent of the actual video from the judge.

Here’s the background:

In late October, Hernandez and Huntsman and former Chief Gorden Eden filed a motion with U.S. District Court Judge Robert Brack claiming that Ginger, was biased against APD.

As proof of that bias, the city provided Brack a 14-minute video of Ginger that Huntsman had secretly recorded on his department-issued lapel camera, and a transcript of the video that contained only the last nine minutes of the March 18, 2016 meeting between Hernandez, Huntsman, Ginger and others.

Brack ripped Hernandez and Huntsman for trying to deceive him and for trying to discredit Ginger and derail the reform effort. He said the first four minutes of the 14-minute video showed Ginger being cordial to APD officials, and not hostile.

Here’s where the real deception comes in: The entire video of the meeting in which Ginger allegedly threatened APD and Hernandez was 45 minutes long! That’s right, 45 minutes long. And in all but nine minutes of that meeting, Ginger is cordial to Hernandez and other APD honchos. He got a bit angry only after Hernandez verbally attacked him.

So Hernandez and Eden and Huntsman and crew gave Brack only 14 minutes of a 45-minute video.

Freelance journalist Charles Arasim obtained the full video through an Inspection of Public Records Act request to the city. The video of the meeting is in three segments. The first two segments are each 15 minutes and 55 seconds long, while the third, which is the one the city gave to Brack, is 14 minutes and two seconds.

In the first segment, Ginger focuses on APD’s struggles with trying to write acceptable policies and tells Hernandez and Huntsman that policies need to be written for people who are new to the subject matter.

“The purpose of policy is to train people who don’t understand it yet,” Ginger said.

There were no arguments or harsh words during those first 16 minutes of video.

In the second segment Ginger tells Hernandez and the others that his his team is frustrated by their inability to get APD’s crisis intervention training curriculum from the city contractor who developed it. Again, there are no arguments between the parties.

It’s only in the third segment that Hernandez confronts Ginger about not wanting to be surprised by the comments he was supposed to make about the reform effort to an upcoming City Council study session on the reform effort.

False statement by Huntsman?

In the city’s motion against Ginger, Huntsman said in an affidavit that he turned on his lapel camera only after becoming concerned about Ginger’s increasing aggression. But that doesn’t appear to be true, as Huntsman had his camera on for 45 minutes. As the Albuquerque Journal put it in a story it wrote about the motion:

“Huntsman said in a sworn affidavit that he normally wouldn’t have recorded the meeting, but did so because he was concerned with Ginger’s behavior. The camera, which doesn’t show much because it is pointing at a table, captures audio of a tense conversation.

“’I was incredibly disturbed by Dr. Ginger’s comments during this meeting, especially his comments about this being ‘a game’ and that the department would be ‘collateral damage,’” Huntsman said in the affidavit. “’Since that meeting, we have continued to experience interactions with the monitor that we believe were improper.’”

So what are the penalties for making false statements to a federal court judge?

On Nov. 16, when he denied the city’s motion for for a hearing on Ginger’s alleged bias against APD, Brack accused the city of manipulating the situation by providing him a transcript of only the final nine minutes of the 14-minute video. Here’s what he said in open court:

“When the City went public with the shortened video, the City made its bed. And what could the City possibly have been thinking when it filed the 14-minute video and a supporting transcript that covered only the nine-minute segment. Let me be clear, if I haven’t been. The City filed a written transcript with the Court titled, “March 18, 2016 meeting.” That transcript only covered the shortened nine-minute version of the video. On the last page of the transcript the court reporter certified that she had, quote, “listened to the entire recording,” close the quote. And that the transcript was, quote, “a complete record of all material included on the recording.” This tells me that the City showed the court reporter the same version of the nine-minute video that it made public. I’m left to speculate about the City’s intention.

“So after recording the monitor and manipulating the record, what does the City do? It waits for 20 months, biding its time until the eve of Dr. Ginger’s sixth report, and the election, before releasing the nine-minute video to the public.”

If Brack blew his top – and he did – because Hernandez and company manipulated the situation by not giving him the full transcript of the 14-minute video, I wonder how he’ll feel when he learns that Hernandez and company gave him only 14 minutes of a 45-minute video.

The only good thing about this is that Hernandez, Huntsman and Eden are gone.

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.