Republican Bernalillo County Commissioner Wayne Johnson running for Mayor is now offering his crime plan platform.
The highlights of Wayne Johnson’s crime plan include:
1. Hiring more police officers to work with other law enforcement agencies to identify the worst repeat criminal offenders and get them off the streets.
2. Renegotiate the three-year-old the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) with the Department of Justice
3. Create a healthy work environment at APD by empowering officers.
Johnson proclaims: “Command staff will be responsible for setting mission parameters, but they will also need to step out of the way and allow those officers in the field to utilize their judgment and creativity to fulfill those mission parameters” and “Command micromanagement leads to paralysis in a paramilitary organization as it creates a culture of distrust and suspicion.”
4. Fixing a “broken” criminal justice system. According to Wayne Johnson:
“The 2nd Judicial District is broken. It has been broken for a long time. … We must fix the broken pre-trial services program that is currently being misused by a criminal court system that places pre-trial release above public safety.”
5. Creating a better behavioral health system. Johnson said he would work with the county to create a network of behavioral health providers that share data with law enforcement agencies and the courts.
What is glaringly absent from Johnson’s anti-crime plan is any mention of Chief Gordon Eden by name nor commitment when he will replace Eden and no mention if he will replace the entire command staff and if a national search will be done to bring in someone from the outside to take over APD.
IGNORANCE OF THE COURT SHOWN
Wayne Johnson shows his complete ignorance of our judicial system, especially when he says he wants to “renegotiate” the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA).
To quote Republican Wayne Johnson:
“The Court-Approved Settlement Agreement is overly broad and burdensome. It covers everything from recruitment to public engagement, to use of force and is largely subjective. … The path forward requires a renegotiation of the settlement agreement with the intent of narrowing the focus to the DOJ findings of excessive force and most importantly creating clear, objective performance measures.”
The Court Approved Settlement Agreement must be broad because so much of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) must be reformed in order to achieve constitutional policing and eliminate the “culture of aggression” found within APD.
Johnson apparently does not know that the primary focus of the settlement negotiations with the Department of Justice (DOJ) was the excessive use of force and deadly force policy and creating clear, objective performance measures that would be audited and reviewed by the Federal Court appointed monitor.
Johnson also claims that APD’s use-of-force policy mandated by the settlement is “unworkable, a drain on officer resources, and potentially dangerous to officers, suspects and the public”.
“We must rewrite the use-of-force policy so that it takes into account real world conditions. For example, simply handcuffing a resisting suspect should not be considered a use of force.”
Johnson’s claim that the use of force policy is “unworkable” is bogus.
“Use of force” by any standard is strictly subjective and it is a decision left to a police officer in the field to decide what force needs to be used to make an arrest.
The “use of force” policy is a real-world solution, but it is not being fully implemented by APD.
The Federal Monitor in all five (5) of his progress reports have made it clear that the APD command staff has resisted implementation of the mandated reforms including investigation of the use of force cases by supervisors.
No one knows if the use of force policy in “unworkable” because APD management has been found by the federal monitor not to investigate properly use of force incidents.
The Federal Monitor stated in his August 11, 2017 report:
“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.”
There is nothing that can be renegotiated at this point unless all the parties agree.
It is highly doubtful the Federal Court or the Federal Court Appointed Monitor would go along with renegotiating the CASA.
The Court Approved Settlement Agreement is just that: a settlement negotiated in good faith, by all the parties, including the City of Albuquerque, the Albuquerque Police Department with union input and the United State Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Justice.
The stipulated settlement took close to a year to negotiate at cost of $1 million in taxpayer dollars to negotiate and then another $4 million for the federal court appointed monitor.
The City and APD are now almost three (3) years into the enforcement of the CASA.
ATTACKING THE JUDGES
The Johnson crime plan says we need to fix a “broken” criminal justice system and says:
“The 2nd Judicial District is broken. It has been broken for a long time. We must fix the broken pre-trial services program that is currently being misused by a criminal court system that places pre-trial release above public safety.”
Wayne Johnson needs to be reminded he is running for Mayor, not District Court Judge.
If Johnson wants to be a judge, he needs to go to law school, become a lawyer and then run for office and be elected as a judge.
A Mayor has no authority nor control over the court system and no Mayor can make changes to the Court’s pre-trial services.
Wayne Johnson, like Mayor Berry, Chief Eden and City Councilor and would be Mayor Dan Lewis, blames our criminal court system and judges for all our rising crime rates.
Attacking our Criminal Court system and judge’s sentences in criminal cases is a familiar tactic of right wing politicians who are running for office and who want to “gin up” public animosity towards judges and garner favor with the voting public.
With his criticism of the Court’s, Johnson degrades our constitutional rights of presumption of innocence and due process of law.
In my view, Republican County Commissioner Wayne Johnson disqualified himself from being elected Mayor of Albuquerque when he said, “I think [the DOJ settlement] was a mistake”.
ENFORCE THE CONSENT DECREE
Johnson has said that trying to run a law enforcement department with a 106-page consent decree, a court monitor and a federal judge watching was a mistake and makes it nearly impossible for APD to respond to public safety concerns.
What is no mistake is that the Department of Justice (DOJ) just a little over three (3) years ago found a pattern of excessive use of force and deadly force by the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).
The DOJ also found a “culture of aggression” within APD and a clear pattern of civil rights violations, especially when dealing with the mentally ill.
The DOJ consent decree mandates reforms, policy changes and training, especially crisis intervention, involving the mentally ill, that must be completed by APD.
During the last seven years, there have been 43 police officer involved shootings resulting in 38 deaths and over $51 million dollars paid in police misconduct cases for use of force and excessive force.
Just last year, two police officers were charged and tried with the murder of homeless camper James Boyd, and although the officers were not convicted, the city settled the lawsuit for $5 million taxpayer dollars for police misconduct.
In March of this year the City of Albuquerque agreed to pay $8.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed on behalf of 21-year-old Ashley Browder who was killed in a 2013 crash caused by off-duty Police Sgt. Adam Casaus.
The July 1, 2016 third progress report of Albuquerque Police Department (APD) Federal Monitor James Ginger makes it clear just how poorly managed APD really is when the monitor reported as follows:
“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. … [F]ostering the constitutional use of force is the primary goal of this entire effort [of police reform]”.
“NO SANCTUARY CITY” PART OF JOHNSON’S FLAWED ANTI-CRIME CRIME PLAN
It did not take long for Republican County Commissioner Wayne Johnson to weigh in and oppose “sanctuary city” status for Albuquerque to get elected Mayor.
On his FACEBOOK page for Mayor, Johnson proclaims as follows:
“As your next mayor, I will fight to make this city a city free of crime like I have in the county. That will start with it being a NO SANCTUARY for all of those taking advantage of this great city.”
In yet another FACEBOOK post, pictured standing next to Bernalillo County Sheriff Officers, Wayne Johnson boldly proclaims:
“Enough is enough, no more sanctuary for illegal immigrants! Help me make ABQ safe!”
Wayne Johnson is saying if he is elected Mayor opposes Albuquerque being sanctuary city.
The “alternative fact” Wayne Johnson proclaims is Albuquerque is a sanctuary city when the truth is Albuquerque has never been a sanctuary city.
A “sanctuary city” denies cooperation with federal immigration officials and does not use city law enforcement resources to identify or apprehend illegal immigrants and does not use city law enforcement resources to enforce immigration laws.
An “immigrant friendly” city is one that implements “welcoming city” policies and does not provide for city enforcement of federal immigration laws and addresses city services including licensing and housing and the focus is to create inclusive, immigrant friendly and welcoming policies.
Opposing “sanctuary city” is a sure-fire way to “gin up” the conservative Republican base.
Republican Wayne Johnson has torn a page out of Mayor Berry and Donald Trump’s play books to try and get himself elected Mayor.
Berry used the issue of “sanctuary city” in 2009 to get elected the first time with his supporters driving a vehicle around the city with a billboard mounted on it condemning then Mayor Martin Chavez for making Albuquerque a “sanctuary city” for immigrants.
In 2001 the Albuquerque City Council enacted a resolution that declared Albuquerque an “immigrant friendly” city.
Albuquerque’s “immigrant friendly” designation welcomes immigrants to the city and is largely symbolic.
In February 2017, the City Council enacted a symbolic memorial that reaffirmed that Albuquerque’s “immigrant friendly” status not as a “sanctuary city”.
It has been mostly right-wing Republicans that have ramped up the rhetoric on immigration.
Wayne Johnson supports implementation of a policy to allow US Immigration and Customs agents (ICE) into the Bernalillo County Detention Center to screen virtually all people arrested, regardless of their guilt or innocence and due process rights, to determine their immigration status.
Once ICE determines a person is not in this country legally, it will take that person into custody and institute deportation action.
City and County law enforcement resources should not be used to enforce federal immigration laws.
As evidence of his attempt to vilify the city’s immigrant community during his attempt to become our next Mayor, Wayne Johnson introduced legislation as a County Commissioner to repeal the county’s immigrant friendly policy.
The County Commission, including one Republican, saw right through Wayne Johnson’s election pandering and his resolution was voted down on a 1 to 4 vote by the County Commission.
President Donald Trump no doubt would be proud of Wayne Johnson’s tactics relating to “sanctuary cities”.
Next thing you know Wayne Johnson will advocate building a wall around the City to keep people out.
Notwithstanding what has happened the last eight years with APD, what you get from Wayne Johnson is “I think we all agree [that APD] is understaffed and under siege” and not the truth that APD is poorly managed.
The next Mayor of Albuquerque must be 100% committed to implementing all the DOJ reforms and committed to turn APD round with new leadership and a return to community based policing.
If Wayne Johnson cannot accept the authority of the federal court and the federal monitor over APD and the terms of the consent decree, nor be committed to a complete overhaul of APD management, he has no business being Mayor of Albuquerque.