Did Chief Gordon Eden Order Someone To Lie?


As reported by the Albuquerque Free Press, the Civilian Police Oversight Agency (CPOA) investigation concluded that public information officers Fred Duran and civilian Celina Espinoza lied when they told a reporter earlier this year that APD detectives had investigated a report that the boyfriend of the child’s mother had tried to kiss t 10-year-old girl Victoria Martens several months before she was brutally murdered in August of 2016.

(See also my August 2, 2017 blog article “Police Oversight Board Investigation Finds APD Lied” at www.PeteDinelli.com)

According to the CPOA investigation, APD officials were told last December that no department personnel investigated the child abuse allegations even though APD officer Fred Duran insisted to an Albuquerque Journal reporter in January that APD investigated the case.

Joanne Fine, the Chair of the Police Oversight Board detailed the investigation’s conclusions before the entire CPOA board when she said:

“The investigation showed that absolutely officer D[uran] did lie, set up and lie[ed] about the involvement of APD” … That Celina Espinoza was not guilty of making up the lie; she was guilty of repeating the lie that she was told by officer D[uran]. But subsequently, she said that when she discovered the truth that she went to the chief and that she called the reporter. I don’t know if she went to the chief, but she did not call the reporter. The reporter called her.” (Emphasis added.)

The CPOA investigation found that APD Chief Gorden Eden was told of the lie in January, but APD waited six weeks to tell the truth and only told the truth after being confronted by an Albuquerque Journal reporter.

It is standard operating procedure for APD public information officers to confer with the Chief of Police and inform the Chief of information and evidence in cases regarding APD’s positions and the status of investigations, especially high-profile cases such as Victoria Marten’s murder.

APD public information officers are ultimately responsible to clear with the Chief and get authorization from the command staff to release information that is accurate in any pending case.

APD public information officers are also responsible to get authorization and clear what is said to the press and public with the Mayor’s office, especially in high profile cases.

The question raised is to what extent did Officer Fred Duran and Celina Espinosa notify Chief Eden that they had lied, did Eden even understand they had lied or did he condone and order the lies?

An even bigger question, did Eden ever advise Mayor Berry or Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry what was going on in the murder investigation?

Given the serious nature of the findings that APD lied, you would think our Mayor and our Chief Administrative Officer would hold someone accountable, but that would go against their own standard operating procedure and how they have conducted themselves during their entire tenure in office, especially when it comes to APD command staff.

Eden should have been terminated long ago, and asking that he be removed now when he and the Mayor will be gone in a few months is an exercise in futility.

Notwithstanding, the City Inspector General should investigate what happened and determine if Chief Eden was at all involved with instructing the APD pubic information officers to lie to the public and press.

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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.