Channel 4 reported that the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the nation’s largest organization of police officers, passed resolution at its national conference in August slamming the Albuquerque Police Department over its “poor leadership” and in support of the officers working the streets under strained conditions.
At the FOP organization’s Albuquerque headquarters, FOP President Bob Martinez said the organization’s voting leadership approved the resolution in support of APD officers who put their lives on the line “despite a lack of support from a majority of the elected officials and appointed leadership” and he went on to say “You’ve got to believe in your leaders. You’ve got to respect your leaders.”
APOA Union President Shaun Willoughby was asked to comment on the FOP resolution and he said the APOA was thankful for the resolution but then went on to defend Chief Gordon Eden by actually saying Eden was a victim.
Union President Shaun Willoughby says in this Channel 4 interview “Gorden Eden is a very, very good man. Gorden Eden is honest and trustworthy and he cares. No one can take that away from him. … It’s also obvious to me that Gorden is not in control of this police department and is a “victim of micromanagement”.
Really Mr. Willoughby? Exactly who do you represent, management or the rank and file?
It sure does sound like Willoughby has been drinking the Berry Juice or at the very least is suffering from political amnesia.
DOES EDEN’S JOB PERFORMANCE SOUND LIKE AN HONEST MAN?
It was Chief Gordon Eden the very day after homeless camper John Boyd was killed in March, 2014, who declared the shooting was “justified”, two police officers were charged a year later with the murder and the city settled the wrongful death action by paying the Boyd family $5 million dollars.
It was Chief Gordon Eden that ordered the APD criminal investigation offense reports sent to the New Mexico Attorney General against the then Bernalillo County District Attorney that contained false accusations of interference by the District Attorney with a criminal investigation of a family member.
The APD investigation of the District Attorney was used by the defense attorneys to have the office removed from the criminal prosecution of the police officers involved in the James Boyd shooting and force an appointment of a special prosecutor.
After the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office was removed from the prosecuting the police officers for the James Boyd murder, the New Mexico Attorney General issued a report that there was no criminal wrongdoing by the District Attorney.
For three years, community groups like APD Forward, the Citizens Policing Councils (CPCs) and the city’s APD Police Oversight Board (APOC) have been dismayed, frustrated and have complained over Eden’s failure to attend meetings, ignore findings and disciplinary recommendations, and failure to attend DOJ settlement hearings.
On June 17, 2017, Ed Harness, the head of the City Police Oversight Agency (CPOA, gave a lengthy report to a Community Policing Council summit giving specific cases on how APD Chief Eden refused to respond to the agencies recommendations and ignored or refused to implement disciplinary recommendations made by the CPOA.
Chief Gordon Eden has an extensive two (2) year history of ignoring both the CPOA and the CPCs.
In fifty-four (54) cases in which Eden has disagreed with the CPOA, he has offered no explanation as to why he has had any disagreement with the city agency.
APD Forward, an APD oversight group, also said Eden had not been present for many settlement-agreement meetings to negotiate reform policies.
An APD statement issued to the press on November 16, 2016 describe Eden as having a “very good sense, very good understanding and a hand in” the reforms.
Chief Eden and his command staff have lied when they have said they are committed to the DOJ mandated reforms and all the proof of the lying is contained in the second, third, fourth and fifth progress reports submitted by Federal Monitor James Ginger to the Federal Court.
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.
Then there is the lying that occurred to the public and the press over the brutal murder of 9-year Victoria Martens with APD saying they investigated when they did not.
The City’s Police Oversight Agency (CPOA) did an investigation against Albuquerque Police Department’s two (APD) public information officers for providing false information to the news media and to the public about APD’s contact with nine (9) year old Victoria Martin and her family prior to the child’s brutal murder and it was clear that Eden met with the PIO officers, but not clear if he asked them to lie seeing he was never interviewed by investigators.
The CPOA found that APD intentionally lied to the press and public about the Victoria Marten’s case.
Even after the investigation found that the APD public information officers lied to the press and the public, Eden did nothing to hold them accountable.
Chief Gordon Eden represents the very type of law enforcement leadership you get when you appoint a Chief who has absolutely no prior experience managing a municpal police department and when you appoint a political operative over others that are far more qualified.
The people that have been the victims of Eden’s mismanagement have been the voters and the rank and file police officers.
December 1, 2017 when a new Mayor is sworn in cannot come too soon and I for one hope the new Mayor will set aside all political considerations and select a qualified chief of police and not a political operative such as Gordon Eden.