On September 18, 2018, ABQ Report published the following article “Keller’s Vow of Transparency Goes Black” written by editor and reporter Dennis Domrzalski.
“- APD’s Jennifer Garcia is alleged to also have backdated an IA report in 2016
– City Blacks Out 12 Pages of IA Report
Mayor Tim Keller’s pledge of transparency in city government has gone black—black as in 12 pages of totally redacted information in the police department’s Internal Affairs investigation into wrongdoing by the former head of IA, now-Lieutenant Jennifer Garcia.
On Monday, Sept. 18, the city, after two months of stonewalling, the city finally handed over the IA investigation into allegations that Garcia, while the commander of the IA division, backdated an investigation to make it appear that she had met a deadline to complete the probe, when in fact she had not.
But at least 12 pages of the 50-page document—that is, interviews with eight APD officers and detectives, including Garcia herself—were totally blacked out by the city before handing it over to the lawyer for the ABQReport, Tom Grover.
In July, ABQReport filed an Inspection of Public Records Act request for all the IA documents in Garcia’s case. A few days later, the city denied the IPRA request saying the investigative report that was done by a private, outside investigative firm constituted client-attorney work product. This publication then sued the city in state District Court, asking a judge to order the city to release the report.
Here’s the [link to the] report the city released on Monday:
A hearing was scheduled in the case on Monday, and the city changed its mind about the report being attorney work product and released it to ABQReport’s lawyer. But again, 12 pages of the report were entirely blacked out. So much for openness and transparency.
Garcia, who had been promoted to commander earlier this year by APD Chief Michael Geier, admitted that she had indeed backdated an IA investigation on officer Stefan Torres. That’s a violation of APD policy that says:
Personnel will not alter, misrepresent, or make any false statement in any verbal or written report or in any other written document that has been completed in the course of their employment.”
After the investigation into Garcia’s wrongdoing was completed she was demoted to lieutenant, kicked out of IA and reassigned to APD’s Field Services Division. In other words, Garcia lied and she still has a job.
By the way, under state law and policy, being untruthful and lying is grounds for an officer to lose his or her law enforcement certification. Geier has submitted an LEA-90 on Garcia to the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy, but he has not gone as far as to say that she should lose her law enforcement license.
And the Torres case might not be the first time that Garcia had altered IA documents. According to the IA report released Monday, Garcia is alleged to have backdated an IA document in May of 2016.
This is the link to the ABQ Report that has an excerpt of the Internal Affairs Report on the backdating of another document here:
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Redacting and blackening out of key portions of any report that is supposed to be provided pursuant to an inspection of public records is a tried and true way to avoid transparency and yet make the false claim of being transparent.
It appears that the more things change with APD, the more things stay the same.
For another article on former IA Commander Jennifer Bell Garcia see: