No surprise at all that the police union and its president are standing by how officers handled a welfare check for a 7-year-old child allegedly abused by her parents.
Mayor Keller announced that an Internal Affairs investigation into how up to six APD police officers responded to a teacher’s concerned and call about the child’s blood stained underwear.
In a television interview, Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association president Shaun Willoughby said:
“We stand by due process. We stand by the process to investigate these, and that these officers have rights too and that those rights are honored.”
The entire interview can be seen here:
What is pathetic is that Willouby stands by the actions of the investigating officers, when on the lapel camera video released it showed the officer talking to the child’s teacher and the police officer did not show the slightest sign of curiosity, concern nor desire to take the child’s underwear and go back and talk to the child to find out if something was wrong like he had done just hours earlier.
The fact that the child was reported by the teacher to have been unkept, dirty and smelling of urine time and again and had blood stained underwear was sure the hell not “speculation” of child neglect and screamed out something was happening to the child, yet the officers did nothing.
The teacher testified in court that the APD officer told her that the child’s underwear was not kept in a secured place, that the court would have a field day with that, and that he could not tag it into evidence and for those reasons the officer trashed the blood stained underwear of the child.
Keller and APD interim Chief Mike Geier announce the department will begin implementing policy changes to improve the way things are done to avoid missteps on how child welfare calls are handled by APD.
The policy changes will include how evidence is handled, how body camera footage is retained and how officers are trained to conduct trauma-informed interviews.
Keller said during the press conference the policies aim to reform what he called an “old culture” within APD.
In response to the Mayor, Willoughby proceeds to “pop off” and says the “so-called old culture” has already been tackled since the U.S. Department of Justice began investigating APD’s practices.
That “so-called culture” Willoughby was referring to was the “culture of aggression” found within APD that has resulted in 32 police officer involved shootings and $62 million paid in settlements for civil rights violations.
The police union and its president have been part of the problem when it comes to the DOJ consent decree and implementation of the reforms and they have resisted change.
The police union has attended the court hearing and has participated in the rewrite of the use of force policies and deadly force policies and contributed to the delay in negotiations and implementation of city policies mandated by the consent decree.
Every time the union president speaks before the federal court, he complains and objects to the reforms.
The police union and its president also need to standby the department motto of “to serve and protect”, especially when it comes to the children of our community.