Journal Essentially Endorses Two Democrats In Congressional Primary

The Albuquerque Journal issued its long anticipated endorsement in the Democratic primary’s First Congressional District to replace Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham who is running for Governor.

The full editorial can be read here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1175043/journal-recommends-martine-zfor-cd1-democratic-primary.html

There are 6 Democrats running for the First Congressional District seat:

Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis
Former Democratic Party Chair Debra Haaland
Former UNM Law School Associate Dean Antonette Sedillo Lopez
Immigration and tax attorney Damian Lara
Former United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico Damon Martinez
Albuquerque businessman Paul Moya

The Albuquerque Journal endorsed Damon Martinez and then mentioned Paul Moya and totally ignored the other four candidates.

Democrats really need to sit up and take notice of the editorial endorsement by the Albuquerque Journal for not only endorsing their preferred candidate but also mentioning another qualified candidate.

The Albuquerque Journal has essentially endorsed two Democrats in the primary.

I cannot recall the Journal in a congressional race ever mentioning two Democratic candidates in the same editorial and in glowing terms no less.

Most Progressive Democrats would also say the Journal endorsement means very little to them, but there are times the Journal editors do get it right.

Both Damon Martinez and Paul Moya can take great comfort from the editorial and what was said about them.

DAMON MARTINEZ

Damon Martinez has indeed pick upped considerable momentum according to recent polls, with one poll suggesting he is now second, and the editorial did a solid summary of his impressive record of public service.

Damon Martinez is an Albuquerque native who earned a bachelor’s degree, Master of Business Administration and law degree from the University of New Mexico, and served as New Mexico’s U.S. attorney from 2014 to 2017 until he was fired by Donald Trump and has been an officer in the U.S. Armed Forces for 15 years, enlisting after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Martinez worked in Congress for former US Senator Jeff Bingaman and then former US Representative and now US Senator Tom Udall, serving as Bingaman’s legislative assistant and later as Udall’s legislative directorand for those reasons knows how the system works and would be able to hit the ground running if elected to Congress.

PAUL MOYA

Paul Moya is also a New Mexico native, he speaks fluent Spanish, and for being just 30 years old and running for the first time he is highly educated and highly accomplished in his own right.

Paul Moya has a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Notre Dame, and a master’s degree in education policy and management from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Mr. Moya started his own company, Millennial Labs, a business strategy consulting firm, when he couldn’t find a job in New Mexico after graduation.

Paul Moya has made positive impression at all the forums and debates and does stand out amongst them all.

THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY’S FUTURE

Both of these men represent real progressive leadership the Democratic Party so desperately needs on a national level in the age of Donald Trump.

Both Damon Martinez and Paul Moya have demonstrated they are smart, reasonable and fully committed to Democratic core values and who will take on Donald Trump.

Both men have a bright political future, should they choose to continue pursuing elected office should either of them not prevail in the primary.

The congressional race is too close to call given the amount of money being spent so Democrats need to pay attention.

Too Much At Stake To Rush And Get Wrong

Mayor Tim Keller announced the appointment of a five-member APD Chief Selection Committee.

A national search for a permanent police chief has been underway since mid April.

To assist in the APD Chief selection process, the city hired the local firm Avtec for $10,000 to consult on both the police chief and animal welfare director hires.

The goal is to accept applications, conduct interviews, summit names to Mayor Tim Keller and have the city council vote on confirmation by mid-June.

THE APD CHIEF SELECTION COMMITTEE

The selection committee members hired and appointed are:

• HERB CROSBY, recruitment coordinator: Mr. Crosby is the President and CEO of Avtec, Inc., the management and consulting training firm that is being paid $10,000 to consult with the city. Mr. Crosby has an MBA from Pepperdine University School of Business and Management and has over 30 years of extensive training and consulting experience in the areas of civil rights, alternative dispute resolution, labor management, mediation and strategic planning facilitation for both the public and private sectors. He also teaches at the UNM School of Public Administration.

• BOB MARTINEZ, President of Fraternal Order of Police: The New Mexico Fraternal order of police is an organization of law enforcement officers, corrections officers, federal agents and probation and parole officers of the United States and is affiliated with the State Lodge and National Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police. The organization strives to create better working conditions for members of the law enforcement profession by solidifying their strength and promoting their mutual welfare in the City of Albuquerque, the State of New Mexico and the Nation. Mr. Martinez has been a federal law enforcement official himself and is repected in the law enforcement community.

• JAMES LEWIS, Mayor Keller’s Senior Adviser For Public Safety: James B. Lewis is a highly respected former government official with a long history of state, county and city government service. Mr. Lewis has held many titles and won many elections and appointed to positions including Bernalillo County Treasurer, New Mexico State Treasurer, Chief of Staff to former Governor Bruce King, Chief Administrative Officer for Mayor Marty Chavez. He has also worked for President Barrack Obama at the Department of Energy and appointment to work on Mayor Keller’s transition team. Mr. Lewis has been hired by the Keller Administration on a $75,000 contract to serve as Senior Advisor for Public Safety.

• ED PEREA, private attorney: In 2016, Mr. Perea was a candidate for Bernalillo County District Attorney, running as a Democrat. He has previously served as a Special Prosecutor for the 13th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and was an Adjunct Professor of Law and worked at the University of Phoenix. He spent nearly 24 years with the Albuquerque Police Department, is a former APD commanding officer and retired from APD.

• CAROL PIERCE, Mayor Keller’s Director of Family and Community Services: Ms. Pierce has thirty years of experience working in the health field in the public and private sectors. She was the Program Manager for the UNM School-Based Health Program, which provides integrated medical, behavioral and often dental services, health education and case management services at six Albuquerque Public Schools. She has provided consultation services to advance the performance of organizations through strategic conversations, quality improvement, vision and value alignment. Through her work with a wide range of government, private and nonprofit organizations and schools, qualitative analyses and assessments have been completed and strategic plans implemented to improve health outcomes. Prior to her consultation work, Ms. Pierce served as New Mexico Department of Health District One Public Health Director.

Chief of Staff and Deputy CAO Sunalei H. Stewart is providing support services to the committee.

Mr. Stewart is an attorney and work for Mayor Keller in the State Auditor’s Office.

One of biggest criticisms of the selection committee is that the committee consists exclusively of former law enforcement officials or Keller Administration employees with no one from the general public nor affected groups.

In particular, there are no representatives on the selection committee from the American Civil Liberties Union, APD Forward, any Hispanic, Native American nor other minority groups and communities affected by police actions, the District Attorney’s Office nor Public Defenders Office, nor any one from the stake holders in the federal consent decree and the mandated police reforms.

THE RUSH TO HIRE TIED TO VACATION BREAK AND BUDGET

On May 19, 2018 a “listening session” was held by APD Forward with the APD Chief Selection Committee on the selection process.

http://www.koat.com/article/the-search-is-on-for-a-new-apd-chief/20762476

APD Forward is a group comprising of several organizations involved and that advocate civilian police oversight and implementation of the Department of Justice mandated reforms.

Ed Perea was the only member of the selection committee who did not attend to listen to the public.

During the listening session, Mayor Tim Keller’s chief of staff Sonale Stewart said publicly that the APD Chief position officially opened on May 1, 2018 for applications and will close May 21, 2018, less than 3 full weeks to collect resumes and do interviews by the committee.

The Keller Administration wants to complete the selection process and have the new APD Chief confirmed by the City Council before the City Council goes on summer break in mid-June.

The Keller Administration also wants a new chief in place before the new fiscal year begins on June 1, 2018.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1174374/city-urged-to-slow-apd-police-chief-search.html

The time frame of two to six weeks to recruit, interview and select a new chief was one of the main concerns of APD Forward and the multiple citizens who spoke at the “listening session” meeting.

POLITCAL APPOINTMENT

During the last 40 years, the traditional approach for the selection of an APD Chief has always been a political appointment with the Mayor almost exclusively deciding who would be APD Chief of Police.

The overwhelming number of APD Chiefs have been appointees who have come up through the ranks of APD and have included Chiefs Bob Stover, Whitey Hanson, Sam Baca, Joe Polisar, Gill Gallegos, Ray Schultz and Allen Banks, all who I knew or worked with in some capacity or another during my legal and political career.

The two main exceptions of Chiefs not appointed from within have been Gerry Galvin and Gordon Eden.

Gerry Galvin was the former Police Chief in Cleveland, Ohio appointed by Mayor Jim Baca.

Gordon Eden was the former New Mexico Public Safety Cabinet Secretary and former US Marshal and Eden was appointed by Mayor Richard Berry.

Virtually all the Chiefs mentioned above had managerial experience with municipal police departments with the sole exception being Gordon Eden.

A so called “national search” was done when former APD Chief Gordon Eden was selected.

When Gordon Eden’s named appeared on the list of applicants and before the interviews were even done, it was a foregone conclusion by city hall insiders who was going to be selected.

Gordon Eden was appointed APD Chief despite the fact he had absolutely no prior experience managing a municipal police department and contrary to the job description.

SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT HIRE

The single most important political appointment Mayor Keller will be making is the next permanent APD Chief.

Mayor Keller needs to hire a police chief and a management team that can turn the department around and reform it.

Since 2010, an estimated $64 million has paid in legal settlements by the city in APD civil rights violation cases, excessive use of force cases and deadly force cases.

During the last 8 years, there have been 34 police officer involved killings.

In April, 2014, the United States Department of Justice completed an investigation of APD after 16 killings with the Department of Justice finding a “culture” of aggression within APD.

For the past three years, the city and APD have been under a federal consent decree mandating sweeping reforms to APD.

For the past 3 years, the DOJ consent decree reforms were resisted by APD and its command staff with little progress in implementing the reforms.

COMMENTARY

Over my forty year career as an attorney, prosecutor and judge, I have seen what a good APD Chief can accomplish and I know how incompetence and failed leadership has destroyed a once great police department.

Appointing a new interim police chief who is a retired APD commander and former Rio Rancho Police Chief understandably was necessary given the two-week time frame Mayor Keller had from his election to his swearing in.

Mayor Keller replacing the APD command staff was a good start, but still there is nothing new about the command staff itself.

The “new” command staff is a reflection of APD’s past and all have been with APD for some time.

The current command staff are not a new generation of police officer fully committed and trained in constitutional policing.

The selection committee is exclusively administration officials and former law enforcement.

A major mistake the Keller Administration has made is not appointing anyone from the general public, private sector nor affected communities or government agencies that have to work with APD and the APD Chief.

The selection of a single qualified person as Chief of Police is not going to resolve many of APD problems and the full implementation of the DOJ reforms.

APD needs not only a new permanent Chief, but 3 new Deputy Chiefs.

APD needs a complete management team from the outside to take over APD who are totally and firmly committed to and trained in constitutional policing practices as mandated by the Department of Justice consent decree and the reform process.

The selection committee needs to be expanded to include members of the general public and other stake holders to get input and be involved in the screening process of applicants.

Further, the selection committee needs to expand the application process time to substantially increase the pool of applicants and to guarantee that a national search is in fact being conducted.

There is no need to rush the selection process in six weeks.

The city council’s calendar and its summer break in no way should be rushing the process.

The selection committee should interview for the position of Chief and 3 deputy chief police positions in order to hire a management team that can take over APD.

Mayor Keller simply cannot get this one appointment wrong because too much is at stake for the city.

No Need For Charade If Fix Already In

“Better A Great Millstone Were Hung Around His Neck And He Were Thrown Into The Sea!”

Mayor Tim Keller is issuing directives to the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) to examine how they review and investigate suspected child abuse or children’s safety cases.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1174003/keller-calls-on-police-to-review-suspected-child-abuse-investigations.html

Mayor Keller and Interim Chief Geier have said that no one with APD violated any policies or procedures investigating a suspected child abuse case and when an APD officer tossed out the blood-stained underwear of the 7-year-old child rather than tagging it into evidence.

What is difficult to reconcile is Mayor Keller’s position on the evidence gathering by APD in the case involving a child’s blood stained garments when as State Auditor he called for the processing of the over 4,000 backlogged “rape kits” and now as Mayor he has made sure that $1.5 million is allocated to APD to process the rape kits.

WHAT MAYOR KELLER SAID AND ORDERED

In a press release announcing what action he wants APD to take, Mayor Keller said:

“We’re going to do everything we can to try to prevent this from happening [ever again]. It’s going to take all of us – law enforcement agencies, child advocates, prosecutors and the courts. … Today we’re stepping up ourselves, and we’re reaching out to all these partners to address coordination for cases impacting children’s safety. We’re asking all of these partners to review how they interact on child abuse, sexual assault and human trafficking cases, including the handling of evidence. We’ve got to figure out a way to build a system that protects our kids.”

Mayor Tim Keller is ordering APD to undertake the following steps:

1. Review child abuse cases for patterns that raise red flags.
2. Work on trauma-informed interviewing techniques.
3. Use the Real Time Crime Center to identify people with repeat interactions with law enforcement or child welfare agencies.
4. Work with a state Children, Youth and Families Department task force to review prior cases.
5. Prioritize recruitment and funding for civilian and sworn positions that work on children’s cases.
6. Reach out to other law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, the courts, CYFD and child advocates to coordinate crimes against children cases.
7. Evaluate policies on evidence collection.

Mayor Keller’s words and orders are indeed noble and commendable.

Regrettably, it is not likely that anything will be actually be done or accomplished with his words alone.

COMMENTARY

Mayor Tim Keller is to be commended for issuing the directives to APD.

However, Mayor Keller’s directives are nothing more than words on paper issued in a press release.

If history is any indication of what will happen, Mayor Keller’s directives will sit on a shelf and collect dust, essentially ignored by APD.

All too often after horrific crimes against a child happens, elected officials express outrage and quickly announce proposed changes in the law, increase penalties, often including reinstating the death penalty for heinous crimes against children.

The typical public relations approach is to demand a review of policies and procedures and vow to hold people accountable for their inaction or incompetence.

Ultimately, nothing happens and no one is held accountable.

APD, all police officers and the command staff need to fully commit without any reservation whatsoever to fulfill their motto of “to serve and protect”, especially when it comes to our children, otherwise the motto is meaningless.

Every step and every effort must be made by APD to protect our children and ensure swift justice is bought upon those who do harm to our innocent children.

It is apparent that there is a mind set by APD Interim Chief Geier and Mayor Keller that what happened in the most recent case involving the collection of evidence is acceptable to them.

Both Mayor Keller and Interim Chief Geier have bend over backwards to defend the actions of APD and saying no policies or procedures were violated.

There must be severe ramifications and people must be held accountable for the shoddy investigation such as what happened with this child, including APD personnel and CYFD personnel.

This city and state has seen and heard all this before from elected officials, mayors and governors included, yet the heinous crimes continue.

Hell, eight years ago Republican Governor Martinez was elected in part because of publicity she garnered as an elected District Attorney prosecuting the “Baby Brianna” child abuse case.

Lest anyone forget, baby Brianna Lopez was the 5-month old who was brutally raped and beat to death in 2002 by her own mother.

Since 2001, in New Mexico, no less than 22 children, ranging from ages of 5 weeks old to 3, 4, 5 months old to 3, 4, 5, and 11 years old, have been killed as a result of child physical and sexual abuse.

(Re: August 31, 2016 Albuquerque Journal Editorial Guest column by Allen Sanchez.)

All too often, our elected officials express outrage over what happens in horrific child abuse cases.

All too often people do not hear, or for that matter do not want to hear or even care about the horrific details of crimes against children.

TWO CHILDREN REMEMBERED

A review and remembrance of the facts of two cases are in order.

The images from the facts are very hard to forget, but what happened must be remembered if we are to learn anything as a community.

NINE-YEAR-OLD OMAREE VARELA

In 2014, 9-year-old Omaree Varela was found beaten to death months after placing a desperate 911 call to APD.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/05/omaree-varela-911_n_5266973.html

Nine-year-old Omaree Varela called 911 from his Albuquerque home 6 months before his death.

In the 911 audio recording, the child’s mother and the boy’s stepfather can be heard hurling verbal abuse at the child.

The parents were unaware that the 911 dispatcher was listening and recording the exchange.

The verbal abuse began after the child accidentally spilled food on the ground.

Following is what the stepfather told nine-year-old child:

“I swear, I’m going to have a nervous fucking breakdown … Mainly because of this little shit head right here. … You make everybody sick around you, Omaree! Everybody!”

As the 911 dispatcher traces the call to the home, Omaree’s parents can be heard telling the boy to stop crying over bruises he has by saying:

“You just want attention, right? … Right?” his mother shouts.

The hostile abuse continues as the step father threatens to beat the boy and says that the child’s own brother can’t stand him.

The child cries out for his stepfather to stop.

“And you want me to be your dad? Fuck you! I ain’t gonna be shit to you. Don’t you even fucking look at me as your dad.”

According to then APD Chief Allen Banks, two APD officers went out to the residence after the child’s 911 call and made several errors that day that may have led to the child’s eventual death.

The 911 dispatcher told the APD officers that they should listen to the phone call before going to the home.

APD officers never went to the child’s home.

According to police logs, the officers claimed they questioned the parents for two hours.

Their lapel camera showed that the officers were there for only 15 minutes.

The APD Officers did not write a report in the case with one officer saying he would call the state’s Children Youth and Family Department.

No call to CYFD was ever made by either APD Officer.

After arriving to the child’s home to investigate the 911 call, one of the officer’s belt tape has him telling the parents:

“You guys seem like a good family. … A decent family. Just be careful what you guys say when you say stuff like that. I am going to overlook it right now.”

Six months later, Omaree Varela was dead.

The Omaree had been stomped and beaten to death by his parent.

The autopsy report detailed the child’s injuries.

The autopsy report said Omaree had lost about 25 percent of his blood volume through internal bleeding.

TEN-YEAR-OLD VICTORIA MARTENS

On August 24, 2016, in one of the most brutal murders seen in Albuquerque’s history, APD found the dead body of ten-year-old Victoria Martens in an Albuquerque apartment.

The APD Officers were responding to a 911 call for a “domestic” dispute.

The APD officers discovered 10-year-old Victoria Martens’ dismembered body partially wrapped in a burning blanket in her mother’s apartment.

The child’s mother, her boyfriend and the cousin of the boyfriend were arrested at the scene by APD.

All three defendants were arrested and charged with first degree murder, child abuse resulting in great bodily harm and death, kidnapping, tampering with evidence and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

All three defendants are in custody being held without bond and are awaiting trial.

According to the search warrants obtained by one media outlet, the mother told detectives that she had arranged for at least two other men to have sex with her daughter and “possibly the other minor child who resides at the residence.”

http://www.koat.com/article/new-disturbing-details-revealed-in-victoria-martens-case/5268319

According to the news report, the mother told police she would contact men using the internet websites.

The warrant obtained by the news agency revisited the events of the night 10-year-old Victoria was killed.

The child was held down and given meth, to make her relax, so that the mother’s boyfriend could rape the child while the mother watched for her own “sexual gratification.”

The mother is reported to have continued to watch as the boyfriend strangled the child and the other defendant stabbed the child.

According to a separate search warrant, one of the defendants admitted to detectives that he had sexual intercourse with the child “shortly after the child was deceased.”

On August 4, 2017 the Albuquerque Journal reported that an investigation by the Civilian Police Oversight Agency (CPOA) found that a spokesperson for APD “did lie” to the newspaper about the police department’s response to a CYFD referral concerning Victoria Martens prior to her death.

In late January 2017, two police spokespersons told the Albuquerque Journal that officers did investigate the referrals and stated that interviews with Victoria Martens and her mother had been conducted.

The APD spoke persons lied in that and there were no interviews of the child nor of her mother.

CONCLUSION

Albuquerque and New Mexico must find solutions to what contributes to or cause our most horrific crimes: domestic violence, substance abuse, children living in severe poverty, a poor education system, the breakdown of the family unit, the failures of our social services and child protective services, a failed mental health system, an ineffective criminal justice system, a failing economy.

Our children’s lives depend upon it.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea”.
Mark 9:42

Jesus said: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
— Matthew 19:13-14

“Stand By Your Man” Song And Dance By Mayor Keller

The Albuquerque Police Department (APD) has released three (3) lapel videos and recordings of 911 calls of APD officers responding to a hotel and elementary school in November to check on the 7-year-old child who the Attorney General’s Office has since said was sex trafficked by her relatives.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1173671/lapel-videos-released-from-apds-interactions-with-7-year-old-girl-teacher.html

It is the November 14, 2017 lapel camera video of the APD Officer talking to the child’s teacher and Children Youth and Families Department (CYFD) investigator that is so very damaging and at the same time heartbreaking.

The video at best reflects a hapless police department and a hapless CYFD department and at worst negligent training on APD standard operating procedures.

In the video, the teacher describes how she took the child to a bathroom located in the classroom to have her cleaned up and provide the child with clean clothing.

The teacher tells the APD Officer and the CYFD investigator she was “gagging because it smelled of feces and of urine”.

When the teacher took the child’s clothing and went to put it in a bag, she discovered the child’s underwear had caked blood on it with dried feces.

The teacher told the officers that the blood was not at all normal for a child of 7 who was not old enough to be menstruating.

The teacher told the police officer and well as the CYFD investigator it was not the first time she had to give the 7-year-old child clean cloths and it was an ongoing problem, all which is evidence of child neglect.

The teacher leaves the bag of the child’s clothing in the secure classroom bathroom and leaves the classroom.

After the officers finish talking to the teacher, the APD Officer and the CYFD investigator have a discussion on what to do with the child’s clothing collected by the teacher.

The APD officer actually asks the question “Do you think it is a good idea to collect them?”

The CYFD investigator then tells the officer “That’s up to you guys. That ain’t my department.”

The APD officer tries to call the Crimes Against Children Unit to get guidance on what to do with the clothing and apparently never got a response.

The fact that a trained APD officer could not decide to take the blood stained underwear of a 7 year old child secured by a teacher who was trying to report child abuse and tag it into evidence is absolutely astonishing and heartbreaking.

There should have been absolutely no uncertainty about what to do with the girl’s blood-stained underwear, which was to take it and tag it into evidence.

STAND BY YOUR MAN

It is tragic to see Mayor Tim Keller standing by Interim Chief Michael Geier’s and APD’s claims that APD could not have taken blood-stained underwear as evidence in the abuse of a 7-year-old child.

http://www.koat.com/article/mayor-defends-apds-handling-of-evidence-in-abuse-case/20737601

Both Mayor Keller and the Interim Chief Geier are saying that no one violated any policies or procedures, including when an APD officer tossed out the blood-stained underwear of an innocent 7-year-old child rather than tagging it into evidence.

APD Interim Chief Michael Geier has also told media outlets that officers and detectives did everything they could with the information they had at the time.

Mayor Keller and Interim Chief Geier saying APD did everything they could with the information they had rings extremely hollow when you’re dealing with a seven-year-old child and a teacher trying to do the right thing by reporting potential child abuse.

When both the Mayor and Chief say that that no one violated any policies or procedures, they are simply very wrong.

Mayor Keller showed an obvious ignorance of the law and when he used a clever law enforcement catch phrase and said:

“There are rules of what you can take, there are laws against what you can take. … This is one of things we’re proactively doing is revisiting our evidence collection policies and we want to get as far to ‘bag it and tag it’ as we can under the law.”

Mayor Keller needs to stop trying to talk like a cop or at the very least try to understand the law of evidence.

The officer would not have violated the Fourth Amendment against unreasonable search and seizure had he collected it and tagged it into evidence.

CHILD’S CLOTHING AND PHYSICAL CONDITION HAD EVIDENTIARY VALUE

During my career as Bernalillo County Assistant District Attorney, I prosecuted child abuse cases.

Thirty-five years ago, I did a grand jury investigation of the mishandling of child abuse cases by the state.

To this day I can recall too many details of those crimes and the people I prosecuted.

Study after study show that children from lower economic homes have a higher risk to suffer severe physical abuse and sexual abuse from their parents.

The seven-year-old child’s underwear had evidentiary value.

All too often, DNA evidence found in blood and a victim’s testimony are the only evidence available to obtain a conviction for rape and child sexual abuse.

Any forensic testing results of bodily fluids such as blood and seaman would probably be enough to sustain a conviction for child rape and abuse.

DNA evidence found on underwear is the very type of evidence used to identify and convict rapists and child molesters.

The fact that the child’s underwear was thrown away means that no one will ever know if the blood on the child’s underwear was her blood, the defendant’s blood, or blood from others.

Throwing the evidence in the trash means no one will know what other bodily fluids from others was on the underwear.

APD STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES

The police offense report mentions the bloodstained underwear.

If the blood stain underwear merited mentioning in the written offense report, the cop had the obligation to take it from the child’s teacher and tagged it into evidence for further examination by APD’s forensic lab.

The lapel camera videos revealed that the teacher reported the child went to school unkempt and smelling of urine.

When the teacher helped the child change into clean clothes, the teacher saw the child had dried, caked blood on the crotch of her underwear.

The teacher took all the child’s clothing, bagged it, and saved it for police.

The teacher testified when the police officer came to the school the following day, the APD officer said they could not use the underwear as evidence and she claimed the cop threw the clothing in the trash.

She said the APD officer told her the underwear had not been kept in a secure location.

The police officer also said to the teacher “they’re going to have a field day if this ever went to court.”

A police officer telling a potential witness in a case “they’re going to have a field day if this ever went to court” and then “tossing evidence” is totally inappropriate.

It is a judge and not a cop that decides if tagged evidence is admitted as evidence in a court of law.

There was a violation of standard operating procedure of not tagging into evidence an item given to an officer by a witness to a crime.

The requirement of keeping evidence in a “extreme-secure location” applies only to evidence collected by law enforcement to ensure “chain of custody”.

There is no such requirement of “extreme-secure location” placed on victims or witnesses to crimes who turn over evidence to law enforcement, which is what the teacher was doing with the child’s blood-stained underwear.

The policies and procedures for the taking and tagging of evidence are clear from reading APD’s standard operating procedure.

CONCLUSION

Mayor Keller declared the investigation is not over and said:

“If we find protocol was violated, where they did any procedure was wrong, we will absolutely hold them accountable. … If there is nothing that an officer did wrong, I’m not going to discipline them just because people are angry.”

Mayor Keller with his words and actions is showing a blind loyalty to a Chief of Police who probably knows better when it comes to the law and the department’s standard operating procedures.

This is the identical song and dance we got from former Mayor Richard Berry and former Chief Gordon Eden, which is support your chief and police no matter what they do or say and believe whatever your chief and APD tells you that is allowed under the law.

Damon Martinez Has Congressional Race Momentum

There are 6 Democrats running for the First Congressional District being vacated by Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham and they are:

Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis
Former Democratic Party Chair Debra Haaland
Former UNM Law School Associate Dean Antonette Sedillo Lopez
Immigration and tax attorney Damian Lara
Former United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico Damon Martinez
Albuquerque businessman Paul Moya

PUBLIC POLICY POLL (PPP)

A poll was conducted the weekend of Friday, April 13, 2018 to Sunday, April 15, 2018 and consisted of contacting 508 registered democrats with the poll having a margin of error of 4.4%.

It was Pat Davis that commissioned an “auto-phone” opinion poll with Public Policy Poll (PPP) with the link to the full poll here:

https://www.scribd.com/document/377327356/New-Mexico-1-Results

According to the poll, Debra Haaland and Antoinette Sedillo Lopez were tied with 15%.

Pat Davis polled at 11% and Damon Martinez polled at 7%.

Paul Moya and Damian Lara polled in single digits at 4% each.

43% of those polled in mid-April were undecided.

Since the mid April poll, the three candidates that have spent the most money on television advertising have gone up in the polls and the race is now too close to call between the top three, with one candidate having the clear momentum.

VOTEVETS POLL

A poll commissioned by VoteVets was conducted on May 13 and 14 by Lake Research in Washington, DC.

The firm that did the poll has been around for some time and has a good track record.

The organization that commissioned the poll is promoting Damon Martinez.

Notwithstanding who paid for the poll, it should be considered highly reliable.

The poll was of 390 “likely” Democratic voters and the poll used professional phone interviews as opposed to the “auto-phone” poll conducted by PPP and commissioned by Pat Davis.

Professional phone interview polls are considered more reliable and far more expensive than “robo-call” polls.

The poll shows an extremely tight race between three candidates with “undecided” voters still winning.

The margin of error for the poll was 5%.

The poll found that Antoinette Sedillo Lopez came in first with 25%, Damon Martinez came in a close second 23% and Deb Haaland came in with 20%.

27% of those polled said they were still undecided.

Pat Davis, Damian Laura and Paul Moya each garnered only 5 percent of the vote.

ANALYSIS

It is clear comparing the two polls that the media expenditures by the three top candidates have had a major impact on the race.

Damon Martinez appears to be the one that has had the best return on his investment and now has significant momentum.

Damon Martinez in the PPP poll was a distant fourth with 7% and now he is a close second in the Vote-Vets commissioned poll with 23%, more than three times his original PPP poll number.

Martinez has improved his poll standing by an impressive 15% in just one months time.

In the PPP poll Debra Haaland and Antoinette Sedillo Lopez were tied each with 15% and have spent significant amounts of money on media.

Sedillo Lopez improved her poll numbers by 10% and Haaland improved her poll numbers by 9%.

The one candidate that has had the biggest set back is Pat Davis who dropped by 6% despite his use of vulgar language in a TV commercial to attack the National Rifle Association.

Both polls also reflect that Debra Halaand and Antonette Sedillo Lopez are splitting the more progressive and woman’s vote and that Damon Martinez is benefitting from that.

Notwithstanding the polls, there are still three weeks left before the primary, and at this point it is more likely than not that either Damon Martinez, Antoinette Sedillo Lopez or Debora Haaland will be the Democratic nominee.

A Mayor And A Chief Defending and Back Tracking

It is being reported that Mayor Tim Keller and APD Chief Michael Geier are defending the actions of the Albuquerque Police Department and its interactions with the 7-year-old child who the Attorney General’s Office says was being trafficked for prostitution by her relatives.

Both Mayor Keller and the Interim Chief are saying that no one violated any policies or procedures, including an instance where an APD officer tossed out the blood-stained underwear of a 7 year old rather than tagging it into evidence.

APD Interim Chief Michael Geier told media outlets that officers and detectives did everything they could with the information they had at the time.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1172987/mayor-apd-defend-officer-say-underwear-not-enough-to-warrant-crime-investigation.html

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/albuquerque-police-apd-child-abuse-case-james-stewart-teri-sanchez/4911125/?cat=500

Geier repeatedly said that the blood-stained underwear by itself was not a strong enough reason to cause further investigation beyond what the officer did that day.

Mayor Tim Keller parroted the Chief’s position when he said:

“Based on information they had at the time we have no reason to believe protocol wasn’t followed and procedure wasn’t followed.”

Mayor Keller’s comments were in conflict to what he told Action 7 News that he be believed error were made when it came to officer’s interactions with Terri Sanchez, James Stewart and their children, failing to mention the interactions the police officer had with the reporting teacher, when he said:

“You’ve got to acknowledge what actually happened and based on that, we had to have done things differently. We should have done things differently and that is definitely the case.”

http://www.koat.com/article/mayor-we-should-have-done-more-and-we-should-have-done-things-differently/20712312

THERE WAS MORE EVIDENCE THAN JUST THE CLOTHING

Interim Chief Geier says that the blood-stained underwear by itself was not a strong enough reason to cause further investigation, which is simply not the case.

Interim Chief Geier saying APD did everything they could with the information they had at the time rings very hollow when you’re dealing with a seven-year-old child and a teacher trying to do the right thing.

Interim Chief Geier ignores the other evidence the officer was told by the teacher indicating child abuse or neglect, including the child going to school unkempt and smelling of urine, which are classic signs of child neglect.

When both the Mayor and Chief say that that no one violated any policies or procedures, they are ignoring the fact that the police officer in the police offense report mentions the bloodstained underwear but did not say what happened to it nor does the report mention why it was thrown in the trash.

If the blood stain underwear merited mentioning in the written offense report, it should have been taken from the child’s teacher and tagged into evidence for further examination by APD’s forensic lab.

During the three-day detention hearing for defendants James Stewart and Teri Sanchez it was revealed by a teacher that on November 14, 2017, the child went to school unkempt and smelling of urine.

http://www.koat.com/article/mayor-we-should-have-done-more-and-we-should-have-done-things-differently/20712312

When the teacher helped the child change into clean clothes, the teacher saw the child had blood on the crotch of her underwear.

The teacher removed the underwear from the 7-year-old student and saved it for investigators.

The teacher testified when the police officer came to the school the following day, the APD officer said they could not use the underwear as evidence and threw the clothing in the trash.

She said the APD officer told her the underwear had not been kept in a secure location and that the police office said, “they’re going to have a field day if this ever went to court.”

A police officer telling a potential witness in a case “they’re going to have a field day if this ever went to court” and then “tossing evidence” is totally inappropriate.

The requirement of keeping evidence in a “extreme-secure location” applies only to evidence collected by law enforcement to ensure “chain of custody”.

There is no such requirement of “extreme-secure location” placed on victims or witnesses to crimes who turn over evidence to law enforcement, which is what the teacher was doing with the child’s blood-stained underwear.

The policies and procedures for the taking and tagging of evidence are clear from reading APD’s standard operating procedure.

http://documents.cabq.gov/police/standard-operating-procedures/2-73-submission-of-evidence-cofiscated-property-and-found-items.pdf

CONCLUSION

During my career as Bernalillo County Assistant District Attorney, I prosecuted child abuse cases and because of the emotional toll it took on me, I decided to move on and go into the private practice of law.

Thirty five years ago, I did a grand jury investigation of the mishandling of child abuse cases by a state agency, and to this day I can recall too many details of those crimes and the people I prosecuted.

Since 2001, in New Mexico, no less than 22 children, ranging from ages of 5 weeks old to 3, 4, 5 months old to 3, 4, 5, and 11 years old, have been killed as a result of child physical and sexual abuse.

(Re: August 31, 2016 Albuquerque Journal Editorial Guest column by Allen Sanchez.)

Study after study has shown that children from lower economic homes have a higher risk to suffer severe physical abuse and sexual abuse from their parents.

After 35 years, I still can remember the specifics of many of the cases I prosecuted.

All too often, DNA evidence found in blood and a victim’s testimony are the only evidence available to obtain a conviction for rape and child sexual abuse.

Any forensic testing results of bodily fluids such as blood and seaman would probably be enough to sustain a conviction for child rape and abuse.

DNA evidence found in rape kits is the type of evidence used to identify and convict rapists and child molesters.

The problem is, the fact that the child’s underwear was thrown away means that no one will ever know if the blood on the child’s underwear was her blood or of either defendants.

What will be unconscionable is if the offenders are not brought to justice all because a police officer failed to understand APD standard operating procedures, declined to take evidence from a victim and a witness in a case and unilaterally made the decision to trash the evidence.

A Mayor and a Chief trying to act transparent before an Internal Affairs Investigation is completed does not help much.