Pat Davis does not deserve to be elected to a second term to the Albuquerque City Council. Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis is a person who has proven himself unworthy to hold the office. The conduct of Pat Davis in running for the United Sates Congress serves as a perfect example of his true nefarious character.
DAVIS 1st CONGRESSIONAL RACE
In 2017, less than two years after being elected to the Albuquerque City Council, Pat Davis declared himself a candidate for the Congressional seat that was eventually won by Congresswoman Debra Haaland. Because the position was an open seat that was being vacated by now Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, there were 8 candidates running for congress in the Democratic primary. One candidate was Former United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico Damon Martinez.
Martinez was appointed Unites States Attorney by Democrat President Barack Obama, confirmed by the United States Senate, and served under Democrat Attorney General Eric Holder. Not surprising, Republican President Donald Trump terminated all Obama appointed United States Attorneys less than two years after assuming office, including Damon Martinez. Election polls reflected that Damon Martinez was the original front runner in the congressional race but he came in second in the Democratic primary to former Democratic Party State Chair Debra Haaland after attacks on Damon Martinez calling into question his performance as United States Attorney.
CITY COUNCIL SANCTIONED CHARACTER ASSASSINATION
In August, 2017, Pat Davis, while running for congress, engaged in an unscrupulous move to attack Damon Martinez to discredit Martinez. Davis used his position as a City Councilor to introduce a resolution to the Albuquerque City Council calling into question a criminal investigation known as the “Surge” conducted by the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Bureau (ATF) along with the United States Attorney’s Office. The “surge” was undertaken by the U.S. Attorney’s Office during Martinez’ watch as United State Attorney.
Pat Davis called for a Congressional hearing of the ATF investigation and it made a significant amount of news for Davis.
Pat Davis apparently used as his source of information for the resolution material contained in articles published in “New Mexico In Depth” that reported that 28 of the 104 people charged during the ATF investigation were African Americans. Following is the link listing all of New Mexico In Depth series of reports on the SURGE sting operation:
The Pat Davis sponsored City Council Resolution specifically says that the ATF investigation:
“appears to have specifically targeted only minorities … .”
In other words, Davis used his official position to introduce a resolution for enactment by the city council to imply racism by indicating that Martinez targeted “only minorities”. As a City Councilor Pat Davis found it very easy as a candidate for congress to get headlines by attempting to secure City Council sanctioned character assassination against an opponent who was considered by many Democrats as the most qualified of all the candidates.
ATF “SURGE” OPERATION
In 2016, during a four-month Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm (ATF) investigation, Albuquerque was experiencing a very high rate of violent crime and narcotics trafficking. In response to the violent crime in Albuquerque, ATF implemented what was dubbed the “Surge”. You can read the New Mexico In Depth investigative reports on the Surge here:
The Surge was an undercover operation in which ATF brought five convicted felons into the city and paid them to assist ATF in identifying potential criminals by acting as confidential informants (CIs). The 2016 ATF SURGE operation occurred in the Southeast heights of Albuquerque in Pat Davis’ City Council District 6, and the arrests lead to allegations of racial profiling. ATF selected the Surge locations based on consultations with local law enforcement, including the local United States Attorney’s Office, the Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office, local ATF and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents, the Albuquerque Police Department, and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office. The regions were chosen due to their high crime rates and their dense populations, with substantial levels of foot traffic that would enable the confidential informants to interact with potential targets without appearing suspicious.
There have been 3 separate Federal Court ruling that found that ATF was not aware of and did not consider the racial or ethnic demographics of the selected enforcement areas.
ETHNIC BREAKDOWN OF ARRESTS
A total of 103 people were arrested in the ATF sting operation, mostly very low level drug users as opposed to major drug dealers. Sixty-four of the ATF surge defendants were Hispanic, twenty-eight defendants were African American, twelve were white. Percentage wise, of the 103 arrested, 57.28% were Hispanic, 27.18% were African American, 14.56% were white, and less than 1% were Native American.
The dramatic contrast between the arrests made and the city’s ethnic breakdown led to the accusations of racial profiling. According to the United States Census bureau, the ethnic breakdown of Albuquerque’s population is 46.7% Hispanic, 42% Anglo, 3% African American, and 4.6 Native American. 27.18% of the arrest made during the sting were African American, while African Americans comprise of only 3% of Albuquerque’s general population. Twenty-seven of the Surge defendants included two white, sixteen Hispanic, and nine black, and all were solitary arrests. Five defendants were arrested as conspirators, where one individual had been targeted by ATF but the targeted person had then involved others who were also arrested.
CITATION: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff, v. YUSEF CASANOVA, Defendant No. CR 16-2917 JAP, Case 1:16-cr-02917-JAP Document 146 Filed 02/11/19 Pages 2, 3, 4 of 15
The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged 104 individuals for federal narcotics trafficking and firearms offenses. According to news reports at the time, the investigation seized 127 firearms, 17 pounds of methamphetamine, 2.5 pounds of heroin, 14 ounces of crack cocaine, and a pound and a half of cocaine. By law enforcement standards, the ATF operation was a success in getting dangerous illicit drugs and illegal firearms off the streets of Albuquerque.
A link to an Albuquerque Journal story is here:
Four other individuals were charged by the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office for two murders. Four of the 104 federally charged individuals filed court pleadings in their cases or civil actions alleging that the ATF discriminated against African-Americans when it conducted the “Surge” operation.
PAT DAVIS ENDORSEMENT OF DEBRA HAALAND
On May 29, 2018, Pat Davis dropped out of the Congressional race and endorsed now Congresswoman Debra Haaland. In the press release issued by the Deb Haaland campaign on her campaign letter head, Pat Davis continued to allege that Martinez selectively targeted and prosecuted African Americans and Hispanics.
In withdrawing from the First Congressional District race and endorsing Debra Haaland for Congress in the Democratic primary, City Councilor Pat Davis took a nasty little shot at Damon Martinez by saying:
“Out-of-state SuperPACs have already spent a half-million dollars to attack and divide progressives and help a conservative Democrat like Damon Martinez win on Election Day. I respect Damon Martinez’s service, and I’ve known him for years — but his failure to listen to our residents and hold police accountable, and his selective targeting and prosecution of poor, addicted black and brown residents of my own city council district should give us all pause.”
No one should respect Pat Davis because he was a hypocrite calling Damon Martinez a “conservative Democrat” and accusing Martinez of dividing progressives. During his entire tenure on the City Council, Davis has acted like a “conservative democrat” by supporting all things Republican and Republican projects such as voting for the $130 million ART Bus project down central. Lest anyone forget, Pat Davis was the Executive Director of “Progress Now” since its inception before he decided to run for City Council and then Congress.
As Director of Progress Now, Pat Davis was known to support and promote the candidacies of progressive Democrats of his own choosing, at the expense of and to the detriment of other progressive Democrats and work against Democrats he did not feel were “progressive enough” in his eyes and by his standards. Davis attempting to hold Damon Martinez exclusively accountable for selective targeting of “poor addicted black and brown residents” is disgraceful seeing as that it was the United States Attorney’s Office, the Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office, local ATF and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents, the Albuquerque Police Department, and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office that were all involved in the surge operation.
Pat Davis accusation that Damon Martinez failed to hold police accountable is so very damn laughable when you compare Davis’ conduct on the City Council to that of Damon Martinez as United States Attorney. It was United State Attorney Damon Martinez who played a critical role in the Department of Justice Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) mandating accountability and reforms within the Albuquerque Police Department after the Department of Justice (DOJ) found a “culture of aggression” and the excessive use of deadly force by APD.
During the last 9 years, including the 3 years Davis has been on the city council, Albuquerque has had 32 police officer involved shooting with $62 million paid out in police misconduct cases for civil rights violations, excessive use of force and deadly force. Pat Davis has done nothing when it comes to Albuquerque Police Department (APD) reforms and has never challenged the APD command staff in any meaningful way demanding compliance with the Department of Justice (DOJ) consent decree reforms. Each time when the Federal Monitor presented his critical reports of APD to the City Council, Pat Davis was silent and declined to demand accountability and hold the APD command staff responsible for dragging their feet on the reforms.
Pat Davis failed to attend any of the federal court hearings on the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA). What was very disappointing is that Congressional Candidate Debra Haaland even accepted the Pat Davis endorsement.
Haaland apparently does not realize that with her acceptance of the Davis endorsement she agreed by implication to the false accusations against Martinez contained in the news release on her campaign letter head. Haaland was endorsed by Damon Martinez after he lost to her, but never once did she denounce as false the statements of Pat Davis of “selective targeting and prosecution of poor, addicted black and brown residents”.
FEDERAL COURTS RULINGS NO “SELECTIVE ENFORCEMENT” BY ATF
The accusations made by Pat Davis deserve a “deep dive” analysis of 3 Federal Court rulings that have proved the allegations made by Pat Davis against former United State Attorney Damon Martinez were false.
1. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF, V. CEDRIC LANEHAME, DEFENDANT, NO. CASE: 1:16 – CR O2930-JB, DOCUMENT 134, FILED 10/25/2017, 65 PAGES
In the case of Defendant Cedric Laneman, the Defendant alleged that ATF acted with discriminatory intent and caused a discriminatory effect against African-Americans when it conducted the four-month surge operation in southeast Albuquerque. On October 25, 2017, in the first of four cases, and a mere 3 months after City Councilor Pat Davis introduced his city council resolution, Federal Judge James Browning specifically ruled that “Surge” Defendant Cedric Laneham failed to meet his burden of proof and failed:
“to establish sufficient [statistical and anecdotal] evidence that the ATF caused a discriminatory effect by treating similarly situated individuals differently than it treated African-Americans, or that the ATF agents or their confidential informants acted with discriminatory intent against African-Americans.”
Despite Judge Browning’s ruling, Pat Davis failed to do the right thing by apologizing to Martinez or to stop his attack on Martinez.
2. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF, VS LONNIE JACKSON, DEFENDANT NO. 16-CR-2362- WJ DIAMOND COLEMAN, DEFENDANT CASE 1:16-CR-02363-WJ DOCUMENT 134 FILED 12/17/18, 60 pages
In the case of the United States v. Lonnie Jackson and Diamond Coleman, two defendants who were arrested in the Suge operation, made a “selective enforcement” claim making an equal protection challenge. The Defendants alleged that ATF enforcement officials selectively investigated or arrested them because of their race and mandated dismissal of the charges against them. Defendants Jackson and Coleman are both African American. Defendant Jackson was charged with distributing methamphetamine. Defendant Coleman was charged with multiple counts of distributing methamphetamine, using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
It is well settling case law that a decision to prosecute or enforce the law that is “deliberately based upon an unjustifiable standard such as race, religion, or other arbitrary classification is a denial of equal protection.” (Citation: United States v. DeBerry, 430 F.3d 1294, 1299 (10th Cir. 2005) citing the 1962 United States Supreme Court case of Oyler v. Boles, 368 U.S. 448, 456 (1962).) A selective enforcement defense requires that a defendant show a discriminatory intent by law enforcement and a discriminatory effect, in that similarly-situated individuals were not investigated or arrested based on race.
If successfully asserted and proven, it is a complete defense that undermines the constitutionality of a defendant’s prosecution to the extent that dismissal of the charges is mandated. On December 17, 2018, Federal Judge Chip Johnson ruled that defendants Lonnie Jackson and Diamond Coleman:
“relied on three theories to show discriminatory intent, none of which were sufficient to show that ATF possessed a discriminatory purpose in investigating or arresting the Surge defendants.”
The Court found that the Government “complied to the fullest extent possible with the [court orders] … by producing all of the … reports it has in its possession for all of the Surge defendants, including for all of the queried individuals who were not charged but whose NCIC reports were printed. …”
In other words, the court ruled that the Surge defendants were not entitled to anything further from ATF to prove their case of racial profiling and select enforcement. The court ruled that the defendants Lonnie Jackson and Diaman Coleman failed to prove they were discriminated against by ATF based on race and the charges were not dismissed.
3. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF, V. YUSEF CASANOVA, DEFENDANT NO. CR 16-2917 JAP, CASE 1:16-CR-02917-JAP DOCUMENT 146 FILED 02/11/19, 15 PAGES.
The Albuquerque Journal failed to report on the recent court ruling filed on February 11, 2019 in the CASNOVA case. A fourth Surge case involved Defendant Yusef Casanova who was charged in a Federal Indictment with distribution of 5 grams or more of methamphetamine and being a convicted felon in possession of an unregistered firearm with a barrel length less than 16 inches or in layman’s terms a sawed off shotgun.
On February 11, 2019, in the case of Defendant Yusef Casanova, Federal Judge James Parker ruled against defendant Yusef Casanova stating that:
“The regions were chosen due to their high crime rates and their dense populations, with substantial levels of foot traffic that would enable the … [Confidential Informants] to interact with potential targets without appearing suspicious. ATF was not aware of and did not consider the racial or ethnic demographics of the selected enforcement areas. … “
The Federal Judge Parker went on to find:
“Defendant failed to present any demographic information specific to the parts of Albuquerque targeted during the Surge beyond the general testimony that these are neighborhoods with high percentages of minority residents. Defendant has not provided any information about the actual rate of occurrence of firearm or drug crimes across racial groups within the targeted areas. Nor is there any evidence that the broader numbers he relies on for comparison to the Surge accurately reflect the general rate of occurrence of firearm and drug crimes across the relevant racial groups within the neighborhoods at issue. Despite the statistical disparities, the percentages of each race arrested say nothing about similarly-situated individuals who could have been arrested but were not.”
“The United States presented credible testimony that ATF selected the target areas due to their high crime rates, and Defendant has not provided any evidence suggesting that the neighborhoods were chosen because of their minority populations, or that ATF was even aware of the demographics of the targeted areas when it made its choices.”
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Shakespeare wrote that “Who steals my purse steals trash; … But he that [steals] from me my good name … makes me poor indeed.”
In other words, all we have in this life is our good name and reputation. In the legal profession, an attorney’s livelihood is directly affected by their reputation.
Unfortunately for congressional candidate Damon Martinez, because of legal ethical constraints and strict Justice Department regulations, he was prohibited from discussing as a former United States Attorney any and all specifics regarding the ATF narcotics Surge operation because criminal prosecution cases were still pending, and Pat Davis no doubt knew it and took advantage of it as did other candidates.
Martinez was at a severe disadvantage in defending himself against Davis’s and other candidates’ false allegations against him. What should give voters pause is that Pat Davis went out of his way and had no problems with using words and actions and elected position to essentially call someone a racist.
Damon Martinez has served his country well and honorably with distinction both as an officer in the armed service and as United States Attorney for New Mexico, he was born and raised in New Mexico and raised a family here and his family has deep roots in New Mexico.
The likes of Pat Davis could never match the character nor accomplishments of Damon Martinez yet the Democratic Party allowed Davis free reign.
Congresswoman Debra Haaland no doubt will be asked by Pat Davis to endorse his second election bid and for that matter lend her campaign assistance and perhaps even ask for financial support with PAC money.
The endorsement of Pat Davis by Congresswoman Debra Haaland is one endorsement she should decline without any hesitation otherwise she risks alienating many within the Democratic Party.
Congresswoman Debra Haaland should go further and recognize how reckless Pat Davis was with his accusations against Damon Martinez. It is doubtful Haaland would ever take issue with Davis at all seeing as she has had more than enough opportunities to do so at campaign events that Damon Martinez attended to support her.
Pat Davis has proven that he is more than willing to misuse his powers as an elected official to make unfounded and false allegations, that he is more than willing to drag a person’s name through the mud regardless of the truth, and under the civil law it’s called libel and slander. However, “public figures” and candidates for office such as Damon Martinez, and for that matter the likes of Pat Davis, have very little if no recourse in the courts because of First Amendment “free speech” rights, other than the court of public opinion, to hold someone responsible for false accusations amounting to libel and slander.
Pat Davis touts his former law enforcement credentials when it is convenient for him, but Davis clearly does not respect certain principles of ethics such as common decency, especially when campaigning for public office and making false accusations against an opponent. Instead of using his position as the District 6 City Councilor to focus on dealing with the city’s crime epidemic, APD police reform under the Department of Justice consent decree, and economic development, Pat Davis allowed the destruction of the character of Route 66 with his support of the disastrous ART bus project down Central.
During his very short tenure on the City Council, Pat Davis focused his efforts on personal political gain and unjustified attacks for the sake of promoting his own political career to advance to higher federal office. Pat Davis is not the type of public servant we need on the Albuquerque City Council nor one that our community demands in the age of Donald Trump.
Simply put, the voters of City Council District 6 need to thank Pat Davis for his past service and find a replacement, otherwise we can expect more political posturing from Pat Davis as he seeks another higher office in the future.
For further political commentary and analysis on Pat Davis see: