City Counselor Pat Davis is a former cop and City Attorney Jessica Hernandez is a licensed New Mexico Attorney. They should know the difference between Civil law and Criminal law. Davis and Hernandez now want to hire someone outside of City Hall to investigate the allegations made by a former APD records custodian that there was erasing, altering, corrupting or tampering and withholding of evidence of police officer lapel camera video in police officer involved shooting cases. The allegations also include high ranking members of the APD command staff and the City Attorney’s office who ordered altering and withholding of evidence in cases.
Pat Davis goes so far as to say appointing and hiring of an “outside investigator” or counsel is a means to “avoid potential conflicts of interest” and boost public confidence in the review process . It will not. Simply put, the allegations that are being made are criminal in nature, and need to be investigated by an independent law enforcement agency such as the FBI, State Police or even the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s office. If something is in fact found, the evidence needs to be turned over to a prosecuting agency. When the City selects and pays an outside investigator, you need to question who is hired because the City and APD will hire who they want, including any private investigation firm that employs retired APD police officers, and pay them what they want and for the results they want.
Councillor Davis, City Attorney Jessica Hernandez and the Berry Administration once again ignore the fact that APD is operating under a Federal Consent Decree and that the Federal court has jurisdiction over APD. The Court Approved Settlement Agreement covers APD’s mandatory use of lapel camera videos and it does not authorize tampering with evidence and lapel camera video footage. The investigation of lapel camera video alteration should be turned over to the Federal Monitor for a special audit and he could request assistance from the Department of Justice and the FBI.
On November 18, 2016, Federal Court Monitor James Ginger presented his fourth report to US District Judge Robert Brack. During the hearing, US Attorney Damon Martinez 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 hiring of a private investigator by the City to discuss the investigation of lapel camera video alteration should be discussed with the US Federal Court Judge, the Court appointed Federal Monitor, Department of Justice and the United States Attorney.