The below article written by Dennis Domrzalski and Dan Klein and was published on May 1, 2020 by ABQ Reports:
HEADLINE: A spokesman Michael Patrick charged with battery in domestic violence incident
May 1, 2020
ABQ Report by Dennis Domrzalski and Dan Klein
“It took almost two weeks, but Albuquerque police have finally filed a complaint against Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Michael Patrick after a domestic violence incident at his home on April 14.
APD charged Patrick with a single count of battery on a household member, according to criminal summons filed Friday in Metro Court. The summons was issued on April 29, according to the court filing. Patrick is scheduled to appear at a bond arraignment on May 14, according to the filing.
Patrick is married to KOAT-TV anchorwoman Shelly Ribando. Police were called to the couple’s home by a Discover credit card representative who, while on the phone with Ribando, heard her say that Patrick had hit her during an argument.
Ribando was trying to cancel a charge that Patrick had put on their credit card.
It’s unclear if Patrick still works for DA Raul Torrez. Torrez’s office has failed to answer ABQReport emails asking about Patrick’s employment status. Torrez’s office has also refused to answer questions about whether it, or some other DA’s office, will handle Patrick’s case.
In a recent column, ABQReport reporter Dan Klein, a retired APD sergeant, ripped the responding officers for failing to arrest Patrick on the night of the call. That story is posted below.
Political blogger Joe Monahan and freelance journalist Charles Arasim came under some criticism for posting an APD lapel camera video of the call to Patrick’s and Ribando’s home. Arasim got the video through a Inspection of Public Records Act request to APD.”
The link to the ABQ Report is here:
LAPEL CAMERA VIDEOS
Following are 3 links to lapel video also obtained from APD and posted on Youtube by freelance videographer Charles Arasim:
EDITOR’S NOTE: A word of caution to readers. The videos contain discussions and images that are difficult to watch at times. Notwithstanding, the lapel camera videos reflect a very typical situation APD deals with daily. The lapel videos were legally obtained with an Inspection of Public Records Request (IPRA) by freelance videographer Charles Arasim. The major difference being that “public figures” are involved, one with the DA’s Office that has the responsibility to prosecute and the other with the news media that reports on such incidents.
One lapel camera video shows Michael Patrick deny the allegations. He is also allowed by APD to gather personal belongings as he was ordered by police to remove himself from the couple’s home. Ribando for her part told officers she did not need medical treatment. The 8 year old child was never asked if she needed medical care nor was she examined for brusing.
The video with the assisting female officer has the officer conversing with Patrick at length with the assisting officer talking more than asking questions. At one point the assisting officer says words to the effect arguing is not illegal as if defending the actions of Patrick.
The DA’s office in a statement issued said that Patrick was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the alleged incident. The DA’s office also noted that APD would be making a criminal referral to an independent special prosecutor because of the conflict the office would have in prosecuting its own employee.
MAJOR DISCREPANCY IN ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL REPORT
In the April 18 Albuquerque Journal report, Ribando reportedly told responding officers that Patrick pushed her down and that he also pushed their 8-year-old daughter. Patrick denied the allegations. The Journal reported that the 8 year old child also denied being pushed by Patrick.
The video of Ribando and the child being interviewed in fact reveals that the child was asked if she was “pushed” by Patrick:
INVESTIGATING OFFICER: “Did he hit you or push you or anything?”
CHILD: “Yeah he kinda pushed me too and then he just left.”
The investigating officer did not ask any follow up questions of the child when she said he “kinda pushed me.” APD Police said they did not observe any injuries on anyone, but the video does not reveal APD officers making the request that the female officer present verify the information.
PATRICK – RIBANDO LAPEL CAMERA VIDEOS HIGHLIGHT WEAKNESSES IN APD’S TRAINING
The Michael Patrick and Shelly Ribando video is a prime example of a domestic violence call out. The biggest difference is that it involves two “public figures”. Review of the video reflects a number of actions that can be consider violations of standard operating procedures or at a minimum raises many questions as to training. A few of the more glaring problems are as follows:
1.Ribando and her daughter were interviewed and asked questions together in the upstairs bedroom. Ribando and her child should have been separated immediately and asked questions separately about what happened. Ribando at one point seemed to correct the child. From what they both said, they both could have been considered victims.
2. Two officers where present with Ribando and both interacted and asked questions. Only one officer should have asked all the questions and conversed with Ribando conducting the interview, and that was the officer who had his lapel camera on. The other officer should have stood absolutely quiet or conversed only with the other officer in the room who was conducting the interview. When asked how and where she was shoved, the “non-interviewing” officer suggested perhaps in the shoulders. Ribando never made make it clear just how or where she was shoved but said she was of slight build and fell.
3. Neither Ribando nor the child were asked about bruising or physical injury inflicted. Ribando was asked if she needed medical attention and she said no, but it was never determined if the child needed such attention. There was a female officer who was present that could have asked to be shown any bruising or physical injury.
4. Patrick was never confronted directly by the investing officers with the accusations made by Ribando nor the child. The female assisting officer did engage in a lengthy conversation with Patrick and at one point expressed an opinion that it is not illegal for people to argue.
5. When Patrick asked to get belongings so he could leave the residence, he was given unfettered access to the entire house first to an upstairs bedroom and then down downstairs into the garage, followed by one police officer who lost direct sight of Patrick’s whereabouts and the police officer could not see what Patrick was actually retrieving.
6. Neither Patrick nor Ribando were asked their employment nor future contacts, at least not in the video.
7. The video does not give any indications if Ribando was given contact information for the Albuquerque Domestic Violence Resource Center which works with APD.
8. Patrick was allowed to leave the home without providing contact information where he was going or how he could be found.
9. The video that was released by APD did not have the face of the 8-year-old child redacted which was solely the responsibility of APD forensics before the video was released.
10. Although it was originally reported that APD would be issuing a criminal summons for Michael Patrick for the charge of battery on a household member, nothing was filed until the news media kept asking the status of the case for two weeks. Normally, reports are filed within 24 hours and the complaints are filed just as quickly because of the nature of the cases.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Years ago, early on in my legal career, as an Assistant District Attorney, I was assigned to the violent crime’s division and prosecuted murders and rape cases, and even reviewed child abuse cases. Years later, as Chief Deputy District Attorney for Bernalillo County, I had supervisory authority over all the felony divisions, including the Violent Crimes Division and the Domestic Violence Division. What I learned as Chief Deputy District Attorney is that Albuquerque’s dirty little secret is that domestic violence is the number-one reason why a woman is admitted to the emergency room of the University of New Mexico Hospital. Statics in Albuquerque showed that after about the 10th or 11th time there is a call out of the Albuquerque Police Department to a home for domestic violence, it is usually to pick a woman up in a body bag.
Some of the most dangerous calls for service any APD officer can handle are domestic violence call outs. All too often, such call outs result in a suspect, a victim or a police officer getting killed because the call escalates out of control. At a bare minimum, APD needs to review the Patrick – Ribando lapel camera video and determine if there was in fact any violations of the APD’s standard operating procedures and determine why no arrests were made at the time of the incident. If the officers involved need further training, then it should happen.
More importantly, APD needs to determine if its training in the area of handling domestic violence cases is lacking, which based on the video tapes it is. Further, APD Chief Michael Geier needs to explain why it took so long for criminal charges to be filed. For further commentary on APD’s handling of the case see the below article written by retired APD Police Sergeant Dan Klein entitled “How APD botched the Shelly Ribando domestic violence case; APD Fails to Protect-Again.”
Three years ago, then New Mexico State Auditor and candidate for Mayor Tim Keller garnered much publicity with his efforts to get the backlog of rape crisis kits processed, which has now been accomplished. As Mayor, Keller has identified that domestic violence is also a very big part of the city’s increasing violent crime and murder rates.
If Keller is to believed that he is committed to addressing the city’s violent and domestic violence crime rates, he needs to get to the bottom of what happened with the Michael Patrick and Shelly Ribando domestic call out and demand an explanation why it took so long for charges to be filed. Mayor Keller needs to demand that APD’s command staff are addressing the issues. Keller should not view it as just another photo op or the subject of a press conference. It’s called holding your police department accountable for their actions, including the command staff.
It is not likely we will hear anything from Mayor Tim Keller because for 3 years he has allowed his APD command staff to do whatever they damn well want to do without holding them accountable. Keller refuses to hold his command staff accountable for any and all mismanagement. Some good examples are his defense of APD in their refusal to gather and tag evidence of a child’s blood stained underwear in a case, the paying of an APD spokesman $150,000 a year because of overtime, allowing APD to spend millions in overtime exceeding their budget, using faulty statistics and representing to the public that our violent crime rates were going down with when in fact they were spiking and more recently, remaining totally mum on 40+ police officers and Chief Geier participating in a private event without social distancing or wearing protective gear.
Mayor Tim Keller has shown the identical unquestionable loyalty to Chief Michael Geier that former Mayor Richard Berry showed to Chief Gordon Eden. Mayor Tim Keller can no longer blame his predecessor for a troubled department seeing as he has replaced all of APD’s top command staff with a Chief and Deputy Chief’s of his own choosing that are being viewed just as inept as former Chief Gordon Eden and his appointed Deputies.
On May 1, the following was reported by KOB Channel 4:
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The spokesman for Bernalillo County District Attorney has been fired in connection with a domestic violence investigation.
Second Judicial District Attorney Policy and Planning Chief Adolfo Mendez II says Michael Patrick was terminated after an investigation into allegations of domestic violence at his Albuquerque home.
Police lapel footage from April 14 show officers interviewing his wife, who says the 50-year-old Patrick pushed her into a closet following an argument over credit card expenses.
A criminal complaint says an agent from Discover Card heard Patrick’s wife say Patrick hit her before the call disconnected.
Court records do not list an attorney for Patrick.
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