Federal Monitor James Ginger has filed his most recent “outcome assessment report” required under the court approved settlement agreement (CASA).
(See August 19, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, page A-1, “Latest DOJ monitor report faults APD brass; Finds department well below what is expected at this point in the project”)
The report is on the Albuquerque Police Departments (APD) efforts to achieve the goals mandated by the Federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement and APD reforms,
For the sixth time and in no uncertain terms, the Federal Monitor faults the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) command staff.
The Federal Monitor states “Eventually, the monitor will no longer be engaged to provide an oversight function for APD. … That role will need to be provided by supervisory, command and executive personnel. At the current time, such oversight is sorely absent” and “well below what is expected at this point” in the process.”
The Federal Monitor’s previous reports have been highly critical of APD’s command staff and supervisors for their review of use-of-force incidents and the current report is no different.
The report states “In short we are not yet convinced that APD screens, evaluates and classifies use of force incidents in a manner consistent with the CASA (Court Approved Settlement Agreement)”.
The report is critical of some of the data APD submitted to the monitoring team.
Examples identified in the report are that 2014 use-of-force data that APD submitted this year did not include the fatal shootings of Ralph Chavez, Armand Martin, Mary Hawkes, Alfred Redwine.
What was particularly egregious was not including in the data the fatal shooting of homeless camper James Boyd, which resulted in two APD officers being tried on murder charges and a $5 million-dollar civil settlement, was not included in the 2014 fatal shooting statistics.
APD reported that no shootings occurred in January 2015, but that was the month that former APD Lt. Greg Branchlet shot and nearly killed APD Detective Jacob Grant in a botched undercover drug sting where one cop mistook the other as a drug dealer.
The report states that “one of the most critical and significant errors in APD’s recent history [of data reporting] went un-reported in the very data-base that should be designed … to easily and quickly note without fail such events”.
One positive finding in the report is that “It appears that APD oversight was much improved in 2016” and recognizing APD’s tactical units of SWAT, the bomb squad and canine teams for their practices.
It was the SWAT team that was involved with so many officers involved shootings when the Department of Justice found a “culture of aggression” within APD.
The critical finding in the report should not come as any surprise to anyone and was expected.
NO COMMITMENT TO DOJ REFORMS BY MAYOR NOR COMMAND STAFF
It should not come as a surprise to anyone, and was expected, that Federal Monitor James Ginger for the fifth time in no uncertain terms has found fault with the APD command staff.
The Berry Administration, Chief Eden and his command staff have never been committed for the past three (3) years to the DOJ mandated reforms.
Proof of failure to implement the DOJ reforms is contained in the second, third, fourth and fifth progress reports submitted by Federal Monitor James Ginger to the Federal Court.
In his second report to the federal court, Federal Monitor James Ginger accused the City Attorney of what he called, “delay, do little and deflect” tactics saying his relationship with her was “a little rougher than most” compared with top attorneys in other cities and where he has overseen police reform.
The July 1, 2016 federal monitor’s third report states “Across the board … the components in APD’s system for overseeing and holding officers accountable for the use of force, for the most part, has failed … the serious deficiencies revealed point to a deeply-rooted systemic problem. … The deficiencies, in part, indicate a culture [of] low accountability is at work within APD, particularly in chain-of-command reviews. …”
The November 1, 2016 fourth federal monitor’s report states that when “excessive use of force” incidents are investigated by the APD Critical Incident Team, it “[deploys] carefully worded excuses, apparently designed not to find fault with officer actions” and “[uses] language and terminology apparently designed to absolve officers and supervisors of their responsibility to follow certain CASA (Court Approved Settlement Agreement) related provisions.
The May 1, 2017 fifth report is the most damning and critical report to date when the monitor found that APD “subverted” the reform process by issuing “covert special orders,” denying the existence of the orders, and APD exhibiting a “near total failure” to accept civilian oversight.
Assistant APD Chief Robert Huntsman has already left, retired for a second time, nowhere to be found.
Chief Gordon Eden and his command staff are on autopilot given that its likely they will all be gone come December 1, 2017 when a new Mayor is sworn in and with a new Chief.