Berry’s Hypocrisy On Full Display

Mayor Berry’s hypocrisy from 2010 declaring Albuquerque is no longer a sanctuary city was on full display when he met with members of the Albuquerque’s Islamic community after President Trump’s ban on Muslim countries. (See January 31, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, “Mayor, Islamic leaders meet; New round of concerns for safety of Muslims”.)

According to Berry, representatives of APD were present and the primary topic of conversation was safety.

Berry was quoted as saying “We need a city where all of our families and communities feel safe.

It’s time like this where we have to stand shoulder to shoulder regardless of background.”

I wonder if Berry ordered APD representatives to take names of those who attended the meeting to determine if they are in the United States legally.

The hypocrisy is that On May 14, 2010 Mayor Richard Berry declared that Albuquerque was no longer a sanctuary city. (See

Berry ordered the implementation of a policy that screened every person who is arrested to see if the person is in the country legally.

At the prisoner transport center in downtown Albuquerque, Immigration and Customs Enforcement fingerprinted and scanned suspects. “If you’re arrested in Albuquerque — regardless of who you are and where you’re born — if you’re a citizen or not, you will be face to face with ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] at this facility,” said Berry. If convicted, they will serve their sentence and could be deported.

So no matter the charge, like DWI, you face US Customs if you’re arrested, regardless of guilt or innocence.

“I’m not looking at this as an immigration issue, but more as a public safety issue,” said Berry.

Berry’s declaration that Albuquerque is no longer a sanctuary city meant he did not want to stand shoulder to shoulder with Albuquerque’s immigrant community who no longer felt safe because of his declaration and their fear of being reported to immigration authorities by APD.

Convene Special Grand Jury In Mary Han Case

Albuquerque Journal Reporter Joline Gutierrez Kruger in her Upfront column did an exceptional job of reporting on a Santa Fe District Court hearing where the family of deceased civil rights attorney Mary Han is seeking to have her death certificate change by the Office of Medical investigator from “suicide” to “undetermined”. (See January 28, 2017 Albuquerque Journal article “Shocking testimony back’s kin’s claims in Mary Han case)

According to the Journal report, the courtroom testimony was very dramatic and revealed just how bad the investigation of Mary Han’s death was conducted by the Albuquerque Police Department.

The hearing was the first time any testimony under oath in a courtroom has been given in the case.

The first officers on the scene were both from the Albuquerque Fire department and the Albuquerque Police department.

The first officers on the scene testified that they classified Han’s death as suspicious and a possible crime scene, but the APD officers testified they were thwarted in their efforts to conduct a proper investigation when “dozens” of high ranking APD officers and city officials showed up to Han’s home.

As many as 30 to 50 people showed up to the Han home.

Suspicious circumstances were testified in court on how the body was found and the scene itself.

Mary Hans’s law practice partner who was at the scene called her death an apparent “accidental suicide”.

What is deeply troubling and reported on is how high ranking APD command staff interfered with the investigation and were even seen “rifling through folders” on a table in the Han home.

This is not the first time someone has expressed the opinion that the death certificate should be changed from “suicide” to “undetermined”.

On August 16, 2013, then New Mexico Attorney General Garry King issued a case review report that Mary Han may not have killed herself , but getting at the truth of the circumstances surrounding her death was proven difficult because high-ranking APD officials “terribly mishandled” the investigation at Han’s death scene. (See August 16, 2013 Albuquerque Journal report “AG: Mary Han’s death may not have been suicide”.)

Attorney General King said he believed the manner of death for Han, who frequently sued APD and the city for civil rights violations during her career, should be changed from “suicide” to “undetermined.”

In 2013, Attorney General King said “the real cause of death for Albuquerque attorney Mary Han may never be determined because of the puzzling police investigation”.

King also said “the evidence does not definitively indicate she took her own life”.

“We have completed our review of the circumstances and APD’s handling of the death scene and we found that it was terribly mishandled due to inappropriate directions from high-ranking police and civilian administrators with the city of Albuquerque,” King said in his news release at the time.

Among those at Han’s home that day were then-city public safety director Darren White and his spokesman, T.J. Wilham now head of the Real Time crime scene unit, then-APD Deputy Chiefs Beth Paiz and Paul Feist, both now retired; then-Deputy Chief Allen Banks, who later became APD Chief; then Valley Area Commander Rae Mason; then-City Attorney Rob Perry, now Chief Administrative Officer; police crime lab director Marc Adams; and four sergeants, including a designated APD spokeswoman.

Attorney General King’s investigators reached several “principal findings,” including:

• The large number of APD personnel given access to Han’s home “materially interfered with the investigation process.”
• “Significant” items were either removed from Han’s death scene or were “otherwise missing,” further complicating the case by thwarting scientific analysis and evidence collection.
• A high-ranking APD official, who was not named in King’s release, made a “precipitous decision” to label Han’s death a suicide before any investigation had been conducted.

I have always believed that the New Mexico Attorney General or the Bernalillo District Attorney should have called for and convened a special grand jury to investigate the suspicious death of Mary Han.

All those who were in fact at Han’s home the day her body was found should be required to testify under oath to get to the bottom of what really happened.

An explanation as to why so many city officials felt it necessary to go to her home, gawk at Mary Han’s body and take cellphone photos as was reported has never been given by the City in a courtroom setting.

Our new District Attorney Raul Torrez or Attorney General Hector Balderas should seriously consider convening a special grand jury investigation in the case and try to determine if Mary Han’s death was in fact a suicide or a murder and by whom.

I Know What I Am Doing, Wink, Wink

Chief Gordon Eden is an embarrassment and refuses to take any responsibility for the staffing levels and unit assignments of his department.

As this report shows, he prefers to blame repeat offenders, the Courts and even the legislature.

Eden claims that it is repeat offenders that are the primary reason for the severe spike in auto thefts and that APD staffing levels have nothing to do with it.

Yet the Alexander Weiss personnel staffing report for the Department of Justice released over a year ago said that APD staffing indeed is a big part of the problem.

What is shocking is that last year, Albuquerque had 8,000 auto thefts or 22 vehicles stolen a DAY or one vehicle stolen almost every hour.

Eden has assigned only 6 detectives, down by at least half, to the Auto Theft Unit doing investigations which translates into active caseloads of 1,333 cases a year.

Eden has had over 3 years to get APD staffing levels up to the 1,000 level and he has been a miserable failure.

One thing Eden has not failed to do is to make sure he is the second highest paid city official at city hall being paid over $166,000 a year.

Nice work Gordo for a political operative who has no prior management experience of a municipal police department.

Tim Keller Has Shallow Understanding of APD

New Mexico State Auditor and Albuquerque Mayor candidate was interviewed by the Albuquerque Free Press and proclaimed APD Chief Gordon Eden must go and declared there is a lack of accountability by Mayor Berry and foot dragging when it comes to the Department of Justice (DOJ) mandated reforms.

Keller even proposes returning to community based policing.

Frankly, I feel I should ask Mr. Keller to be paid royalties for using my ideas.

On November 21, 2016 I published my blog article on www entitled
“It’s Time to Clean Out APD and City Halls Sewer Lines” where I propose removing the entire command staff, creation of a Department of Public Safety with an appointed civilian Police Commissioner.

Over the last three years, I do not recall Keller attending a single court hearing on the DOJ settlement agreement let alone any City Council meetings and briefings by the federal monitor.

Now all of a sudden Mr. Keller is a law enforcement expert with the solutions for APD.

What struck me about the ABQ Free Press article is just how very naïve and uninformed Keller is about law enforcement and the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).

Removal of the Chief Gordon Eden and the Assistant Chief as he proposes is a good start.

However, the entire command staff all the way down to commanders and lieutenants is what needs to be done and what I have advocated for at least two years.

Even when the entire command staff is removed, it will not solve the “culture of aggression” that took at least 10 years to permeate APD.

The “culture of aggression” found by the DOJ will be reduced with the DOJ mandated reforms and training.

However in all probability the “culture of aggression” will not be truly resolved until there is a 100% turnover of APD sworn police officer staffing and with a new generation of police officers trained in constitutional policing which will only be achieved overtime with retirements and replacements with newly trained, young officers.

Keller saying the solution to APD’s shortage of sworn officers is that “you poach” them from other agencies shows his lack of knowledge and that he is not aware that is what has been attempted with the “lateral” hiring classes and it has not been very successful.

The term “poaching” is somewhat insulting and not that easy because very few experienced police officers from other law enforcement departments even want or are they willing to come to a department with such a poor reputation.

“Poaching” also increases the risk of hiring problem officers from other agencies, which means lateral transfers, which is what caused in part APDs problems.

Keller’s boast he will have a team of law enforcement professionals ready to run the department is laughable seeing as he is a virtual unknown to the law enforcement community and the extent of his law enforcement contacts and knowledge to recruit is probably very shallow at best.


A Department of Public Safety needs to be created with an appointed civilian Police Commissioner.

A national search for a Police Commissioner and Chief of Police needs to be conducted.

A Police Commissioner and Chief with extensive and proven leadership in managing a municipal police department must be hired, not political operatives like Gordon Eden.

The civilian Police Commissioner would assume primary responsibility for implementation of all the DOJ-mandated reforms and only be removed for cause by the Mayor.

The Police Commissioner would completely overhaul and restructure APD, appoint new chiefs, commanders, lieutenants, academy director and a 911 manager and each would report directly to the Chief of Police, with the Police Commissioner in the Chain of Command as the Commissioner determines to be necessary and appropriate to carry out his or her duties.

The civilian Police Commissioner would be responsible for preparing budgets, personnel management and enforcement of personnel policies and procedures and imposing personnel disciplinary action.

The Chief of Police would be responsible for day-to-day operations of APD, public safety initiatives and management of sworn staff and report directly to the civilian Police Commissioner.

The Public Safety Department would consist of four civilian staffed divisions and managed by the Police Commissioner:
1. Personnel and training, for recruiting, hiring, internal affairs investigations and police academy;
2. Budget and finance;
3. Information technology support and crime lab; and
4. 911 emergency operations center with a civilian manager.

“Deadly use of force” cases would continue to be investigated by the Critical Incident Review Team and the final reports with finding and recommendations submitted to the Police Commissioner.

The APD Internal Affairs Unit would be abolished.

The investigation of police misconduct cases including excessive use of force cases not resulting in death or nor serious bodily harm would be done by “civilian” personnel investigators.

The function and responsibility for investigating police misconduct cases and violations of personnel policy and procedures by police would be assumed by the Office of Independent Council in conjunction with the City Human Resources Department and the Office of Internal Audit where necessary.

The Office of Independent Council would make findings and recommendations to the Police Commissioner for implementation and imposition of disciplinary action.

APD needs to “triple down” on recruitment and dramatically increase the size and number of police academy classes per year.

Until aggressive action is taken with APD and the Department of Justice mandated and agreed to reforms, APD will continue to spin out of control, violent crime will continue to rise and Albuquerque will continue to see dramatic spikes in crime.

Chamber’s “Right Sizing Government” Double Speak

The Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce recently issued its annual legislative agenda for the 2017 New Mexico legislative session. (See January 24, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, “Chamber Opens Door to State Tax Increases” at

The Chamber in a five page document outlines measures it supports that it claims promotes economic development, education and public safety.

In a highlighted notation, the Chamber boldly states “The Chamber will entertain a discussion regarding tax increases after all other options have been exhausted, including identifying greater efficiency in government, right-sizing government and closing tax loopholes”.

It is very difficult to take the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce seriously when it says it will “entertain a discussion regarding a tax increase” when it admits the state is in dire shape facing a $69 deficit and then adds the snarky caveats like identifying greater efficiency in government and uses language like “right-sizing government”.

The Chamber says for good measure it supports closing tax loopholes, but does not identify any loopholes that should be closed.

The words “right sizing government” is nothing more than “double speak” for “make as many more possible cuts in government services and state personnel as you possibly can before you raise taxes” and only then is the Chamber willing to entertain a “discussion” of increase in taxes, which is a far cry from saying they will support a tax increase.

The Chamber also goes out of its way to say it opposes “targeted or across-the-board” compensation for state employees, meaning it opposes any and all pay raises for teachers, any government agency workers, court workers, criminal justice and law enforcement personnel, who have had to endure little next to nothing in pay increases over the last seven years with agency budgets being slashed to dangerous levels.

Not surprising, the Chamber ignores discussion of repealing the corporate tax rate deductions enacted years ago ostensibly for economic development that never materialized.

The corporate tax cuts enacted years ago have contributed substantially to our current state fiscal crisis.

Surprise, surprise, the Chamber supports maintaining the $50 million fund for local economic development to lure companies to New Mexico and $2 million for a job training program but does not say if these programs should also be on the chopping block table for reduction like all other programs or elimination if the deficit cannot be overcome without a tax increase.

When you read the Chamber of Commerce’s legislative agenda, it’s as if it was written by Governor Suzanna Martinez.

Measures the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce supports and oppose include:

1. Legislative intervention “to address the Albuquerque Public Schools low graduation rates
2. Suspending driver’s licenses for habitually truant high school students
3. Eliminating the lodgers’ tax exemption for those who rent through the likes of Airhbnb
4. Allowing juries to impose the death penalty in some cases, such as for people convicted of murdering children.
5. Opposing the minimum wage via constitutional amendment. (This means no public vote)
6. Opposing marijuana legalization

Given its present legislative session priorities, it is appropriate to remind the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce of its own Mission Statement:

“The Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce works every day to make our community a place where businesses can grow and prosper where people want to raise their families and where tourists want to visit. As the voice of business since 1917, we envision New Mexicans living in safe neighborhoods, working in rewarding careers at thriving businesses, while their children attend great schools and enjoy their leisure time in one of the most beautiful regions on Earth.”

The Chamber’s Mission Statement also states its approach includes fixing the problems that hinder economic development for our city, state and region in the three big areas of education, public safety and downtown development.

During the last seven years, I cannot recall a single new major business, organization or corporation that the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce was instrumental in bringing to Albuquerque.

What I can recall is that the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce has been the leading cheerleader organization for the Mayor of Albuquerque and Governor of New Mexico never demanding that they do more to turn things around.

There is little next to nothing in the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 legislative agenda that actually accomplishes much of the mission statement of the Chamber of Commerce and fixing the big problems of education and public safety.

I suspect the only discussion the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce will be “entertaining” when it comes to any tax increase will be with its own members and “just say no” is not much of a discussion.

To quote Mike Myers character Linda Richman in the Saturday Night Live Skit Coffee Talk: “Talks amongst yourselves!”

Foolish Action Ignores Federal Court Order

An Albuquerque City Council committee has approved a bill aimed at “reforming” the Albuquerque Police Department by banning any APD involvement whatsoever in the investigation of officer involved shooting cases. (See Albuquerque Journal “Change to shooting probes endorsed; APD would be kept out of investigations”, Metro & NM section, page C-1)

Three years after the Department of Justice found a “culture of aggression” and after millions spent negotiating and implementing a federal consent decree, the City Council is now attempting to take the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) out of the equation when it comes to investigating its own deadly police shootings.

The Albuquerque City Council just ignores the fact that APD is operating under a Federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA).

The Federal Court and the Federal Court Monitor have exclusive jurisdiction over APD.

You need to wonder if the City Councilors have even bothered to read the settlement agreement or know what is required of APD under it.

The City of Albuquerque and the Albuquerque Police Department no longer have the exclusive authority to change APD policy and they must seek approval of the federal monitor and the federal court.

The changes being proposed by the City Council in all likelihood will result in placing the City in violation of the Department of Justice Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA).

The settlement agreement covers precisely how APD is to report and investigate “use of force” and “lethal force that cause serious bodily injury or death” cases.

The CASA defines “lethal force” and “serious use of force” and mandates that APD develop a constitutional “use of force policy” and then implement that policy.

There are at least four levels of review of use of force and lethal use of force cases under the settlement agreement:
1. A supervisory investigation
2. A use of force investigation by APD Internal Affairs
3. An investigation by the Use of Force Review Board set up under CASA
4. An investigation by the Multi Jurisdictional Task Force

Included in the settlement agreement is the exact process and the requirements of how APD is to conduct the Supervisory Investigation, the Internal Affairs Investigation, and the requirements of the Use of Force Review Board.

The settlement goes even further and is very specific and mandates and requires that APD participate, cooperate and be involved with the Multi Agency Task Force that is called in after a police officer involved shooting resulting in death.

The Multi Agency Task Force has personnel from at least four law enforcement agencies involved with the final investigation that is eventually turned over to a prosecuting agency.

There is no doubt that the changes proposed by Councilor Davis will in all likely result in placing the City in violation of the Department of Justice Court Approved settlement agreement.

Maybe the City Councilors will learn and understand the meaning of Federal Court Order and get the message when the City and APD are found in contempt of a Federal Court Order.