Mayor Tim Keller’s Promises Made, Promises Broken As He Seeks Second Term; Voters Will Decide If Keller “Has Done A Good Job”

On Monday, March 22, Mayor Tim Keller announced formally he is running for a second term. The announcement surprised no one. Tim Keller made it known in a November 5, 2018 radio election night news coverage that he intended to run for a second term. In his March 23 reelection announcement, Keller said he filed his candidate paperwork. Keller started campaigning on April 17 when the qualifying period for public financing began.

What was surprising was Tim Keller made the announcement with a press conference and no fan fair, no crowd, no rousing emotional speech. Keller stood outside in front of the old City Hall, south of the APD Main station in Downtown Albuquerque with his wife and two children by his side. Keller’s announcement was very low key in comparison to the orchestrated public relations he is known for such as his state of the City addresses and his townhall meetings where thousands are called the day before. The announcement appeared to be hastily arranged as he read a hand-held statement.

In his March 22 announcement, Keller proclaimed the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as the signature accomplishment of his first term and had this to say:

“Shepherding our city, leading our city, making those tough decisions was a trial like no other. I think it’s shown we are tested by a crisis our city has not seen in decades, or in modern history. … That puts us in a great position going forward. … Now I believe our city is finally going in the right direction, and we must keep the course. … It’s time we hit the accelerator and we do not go backwards.”

We are poised to come out of the pandemic stronger and safer with thousands of new good-paying jobs for working families; revitalized public safety efforts; and taking on homelessness, which has been exacerbated by COVID, in a real way. That’s on top of our nationally-leading sustainability efforts, our innovative new safety department, and our commitment to social justice, equity, and inclusion. Now that we’re finally going in the right direction, it’s time to hit the accelerator, not go backward—and that’s why I’m running for re-election.”

This article is a candidate profile of Mayor Tim Keller and a review of his record as Mayor and his accomplishments. The link to the candidate profile of Mayor Keller’s major opponent Manny Gonzales is here:

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/04/20/fuhrer-trumps-favorite-democratic-sherriff-manny-gonzales-runs-for-mayor-a-dino-and-law-enforcement-dinosaur/

PERSONAL BACK GROUND

Mayor Tim Keller, 43, was born and raised in Albuquerque. He is a graduate of St. Pius X High School. He attended Notre Dame University where he graduated with a degree in Art History. He then went on to earn a Master’s of Business Administration with honors from the Harvard Business School. Keller was elected twice to the New Mexico State Senate and in 2014, he was elected New Mexico State Auditor, leaving the position midterm to run for Mayor in 2017. Keller always portrays a positive image for the city with a smile on his face and a grin in his voice that has served him and the city well.

Mayor Keller is married to Elizabeth J. Kisten Keller, PhD, who was also born and raised Albuquerque. She has a B.A. in in Political Science and Latin American Studies as a Morehead-Cain Scholar at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and her Masters and PhD in International Development Studies as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. She currently works in systems research and analysis at Sandia National Laboratories. The couple have two young children below the age of 10.

PROMISES MADE, PROMISES BROKEN

In 2017 when the New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller ran for Mayor, he ran on the platform of reducing the city’s high crime rates, implementing the Department of Justice (DOJ) consent decree and all the mandated reforms, increasing the size of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD), returning to “community based policing”, no tax increase without a public vote even for public safety, address the homeless crisis by building a centralized shelter, stopping waste fraud and abuse, and a commitment to transparency and economic development.

With that said, there are any number broken promises, failures and controversies that will likely emerge in an attempt to deprive Mayor Tim Keller of a second term. Keller’s record of broken promises and failures from the beginning to the present are easily identified:

1. BROKEN PROMISE NOT TO RAISE TAXES WITHOUT PUBLIC VOTE

Candidate for Mayor Tim Keller during a televised debate with his run off opponent promised in clear words not to raise taxes without a public vote, even if it was for law enforcement or for public safety. In May, 2018, 4 months after Keller was sworn in as Mayor, the Albuquerque City Council enacted a gross receipt tax increase that raises upwards of $50 million a year. The tax was enacted was in response to reports that the city was facing a $40 million deficit. Mayor Keller broke his promise to demand a public vote on the tax and signed off on the $50 million a year tax increase. He signed off on the tax increase without any fanfare and without proposing any alternative budgets dealing with the deficit. The $40 million projected deficit never materialized. The City Council never repealed the tax. Keller went on a spending binge.

2. KELLER EMRACES DISASTEROUS ART BUS PROJECT

Mayor Tim Keller a few months after being elected announced that the ART Bus project was “a bit of a lemon”. Instead of abandoning the project, Keller made the deliberate decision to finish the ART Bus Project. Keller spent over half of his term to complete the ART Bus project and the city is still trying to make it work.

Since starting service November 30, 2019, the ART buses have had accident after accident and upwards of 25 major accidents and upwards of 30 minor accidents. The accidents range from a minor “vender benders” to more serious crashes, including two that temporarily sidelined two buses. Multiple crashes have resulted in damage to other vehicles, including at least 3 that involved Albuquerque police officers. There have also been crashes involving pedestrians, one of which left an 18-year-old woman dead.

Notwithstanding all the accidents, and the proof of a poorly designed project, Keller refused to shut down the bus line and find alternative uses for the bus stop platforms. Berry’s Boondoggle became Keller’s Crisis Project that has now destroyed historic Route 66.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1422320/car-crashes-into-art-bus-in-nob-hill.html

Keller with great bravado ordered the filing of a breach of contract lawsuit against the bus manufacture saying in part:

“We’re no longer going to be guinea pigs [for the bus manufacturer] anymore … Obviously, we very concerned about what we’ve been put through as a city … I think down the road, we’re interested in being fairly compensated for what we have been misled on these buses.”

A few weeks later, Keller settled the case with a mutual dismissal of claims. Absolutely no damages were paid to the city by the bus manufacturer, even for the loss revenue to the city for the delay.

The ART Bus was temporarily suspended as a result of the corona virus pandemic. During the temporary closure of the bus line, the Keller Administration began spending in January, 2021 over $200,000 more to construct “pin curbs” which are concrete edging to form barriers to boundaries for the dedicated bus lanes to prevent vehicles from traveling into the dedicated lanes.

3. KELLER’S FAILURE TO IMPLEMENT DOJ REFORMS

In 2017, Tim Keller aggressively campaigned to be elected mayor by vowing to implement the Department of Justice (DOJ) mandated reforms agreed to after the DOJ found a “culture of aggression” within APD and repeated unconstitutional “excessive use of force” and “deadly force” cases. Upwards of $62 million in judgments had been paid over the previous 10 years in police misconduct cases.

Keller vowed to implement the DOJ mandated reforms even as he received the endorsement of the APD Union who opposed the reforms. Keller has spent 3 full years trying to implement the consent decree reforms, the exact same amount of time his predecessor used, for a total of 6 years combined. The difference is that Keller has also spent millions more on the reforms to no avail. Truth is that Mayor Keller failed miserably to implement the DOJ reforms. The federal court action has not been dismissed even though the consent decree was to be fully implemented by November 16, 2020.

APD is still failing with “operational compliance” levels, which is the most critical of the 3 compliance areas required in the consent decree. It reflects failure to implement the reforms by all APD personnel, from the Mayor to Chief to the command staff to the rank and file sworn officers. The Federal Monitors $4 million contract has been extended with an additional $1.5 appropriation. Its likely it will have to be extended again.

On September 25, 2020, APD Chief Michael Geier was forced to retire by Mayor Tim Keller. At the time of Geier’s forced retirement Mayor Keller said in part:

“ … We know reform efforts have hit some snags, and we know there have been back office challenges and distractions. Chief Geier’s retirement comes at the right time for a new phase of leadership to address the old embedded challenges that continue to hamper the department. … .”

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/chief-geier-forced-out-of-his-position-with-apd/5858023/?cat=500

Keller saying that the “reform efforts have hit some snags” was Keller’s “spin” at its very best and a Keller lie at its worst. Keller was given advanced notice what was coming in the 12th federal monitor’s report to be released on November 2.

On Friday, October 6, in a hearing on the 12th Federal Monitors Report, the Federal Monitor Ginger told the court:

“We are on the brink of a catastrophic failure at APD. … [The department] has failed miserably in its ability to police itself. … If this were simply a question of leadership, I would be less concerned. But it’s not. It’s a question of leadership. It’s a question of command. It’s a question of supervision. And it’s a question of performance on the street. So as a monitor with significant amount of experience – I’ve been doing this since the ’90s – I would have to be candid with the Court and say we’re in more trouble here right now today than I’ve ever seen.”

On November 2, 2020, the Federal Court Appointed Monitor James Ginger filed with the Federal Court his 12th Compliance Audit Report. The 12th Federal Monitors report provides the following scathing overall assessment of APD management, all upper command staff appointed by Tim Keller 3 years ago:

We have no doubt that many of the instances of non-compliance we see currently in the field are a matter of “will not,” instead of “cannot”! … issues we continue to see transcend innocent errors and instead speak to issues of cultural norms yet to be addressed and changed by APD leadership.”

“… The monitoring team has been critical of the Force Review Board (FRB), citing its past ineffectiveness and its failing to provide meaningful oversight for APD’s use of force system. The consequences are that APD’s FRB, and by extension APD itself, endorses questionable, and sometimes unlawful, conduct by its officers.

“During the reporting period … virtually all of these failures can be traced back to leadership failures at the top of the organization.

“[The federal monitor] identified strong under currents of [resistance to APD reforms] in some critical units on APD’s critical path related to CASA compliance. These include supervision at the field level; mid-level command in both operational and administrative functions, [including] patrol operations, internal affairs practices, disciplinary practices, training, and force review). Supervision, [the] sergeants and lieutenants, and mid-level command, [the commanders] remain one of the most critical weak links in APD’s compliance efforts.”

https://www.petedinelli.com/2020/11/09/12th-federal-monitors-report-apd-on-the-brink-of-catastrophic-failure-failing-miserably-to-police-itself-police-union-obstructs-reforms-commentary-rem/

KELLER’S STUNNING ADMISSION OF IGNORANCE

Many excuses can be given for Keller’s failure to force APD to fully implement the DOJ reforms. In an interview with the Albuquerque Journal editors Mayor Keller said he wishes he’d known earlier about the serious problems the Albuquerque Police Department was having with its reform effort and said:

“I think what we have learned is how deeply challenged some of these areas are, including self-monitoring. For us at a senior level, we were led to believe that things were much improved, and it turns out they weren’t as much.”

A link to the Journal story on APD’s progress is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1532419/a-tumultuous-year-at-apd-comes-to-a-close.html

Keller’s comment that he “was led to believe that things were much improved” is a stunning admission of Keller’s ignorance of what was and what is going on in his police department after 3 years in office.

Simply put, Keller’s does not know what he is doing and neither does his appointed Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair when it comes to APD. Keller does not understand how bad APD really became under the leadership he handpicked.

Candidate for Mayor Keller never showed any real curiosity about how bad thing were with APD when he ran for Mayor. Keller did not bother to attend a single court hearing when he was running for Mayor where the Federal Monitor gave the Court an update on his reports and the consent decree. Keller pretended at forums that he was “deeply concerned” and knew what was happening. What was misleading is that Keller said he knew what needed to be done and he was “uniquely qualified” to be Mayor. Voters bought into his false campaign propaganda.

4. KELLER’S FAILURE TO BRING VIOLENT CRIME RATES DOWN AS PROMISED

In August, 2017, New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller and candidate for Albuquerque Mayor had this to say about the city’s high crime rates:

“It’s unfortunate, but crime is absolutely out of control. It’s the mayor’s job to actually address crime in Albuquerque, and that’s what I want to do as the next mayor.”

The crime statistics released for 2018, 2019 and 2021 make it clear that despite all of Mayor Tim Keller’s promises to bring down skyrocketing violent crime, he has failed. In 2019, Keller implemented 4 new programs to address violent crime, increased APD personnel by 116, and spent millions. Violent crime is still “absolutely out of control”. Regrettably , Mayor Tim Keller has failed to do his “job to actually address crime in Albuquerque.”

Given Mayor Keller’s words as to whose job it is to address crime, a discussion of crime statics during Mayor Tim Keller’s tenure is in order.

VIOLENT CRIME UNDER KELLER

In 2018 during Mayor Keller’ first full year in office, there were 6,789 violent crimes, 3,885 Aggravated Assaults and 491 Non-Fatal Shootings.

https://www.petedinelli.com/2019/11/21/city-matches-homicide-record-high-of-72-murders-mayor-keller-forced-to-defend-policies-makes-more-promises-asks-for-more-money/

In 2019, the category of “Violent Crimes” was replaced with the category of “Crimes Against Persons” and the category includes homicide, human trafficking, kidnapping and assault. In 2019 during Keller’s second full year in office, Crimes Against Persons increased from 14,845 to 14,971, or a 1% increase. The Crimes Against Person category had the biggest rises in Aggravated Assaults increasing from 5,179 to 5,397.

On Monday, September 21, 2020, the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) released statistics that revealed that overall crime in the city was down by less than 1% cross all categories in the first six months of 2020 as compared with the first six months of 2019. Crimes against persons are all violent crimes combined and include murder, deadly weapons assault and injury and rape.

The decreases in “violent crime” from 2019 to 2020 was a decrease by only 21 crimes or a 0.28% decrease. Over a 2-year period, it decreased 4%. According to the FBI statistics released, there were 7,362 crimes against persons reported in the first six months of 2020 and there were 152 more in the second quarter than in the first.

HISTORICAL HIGH HOMICIDE NUMBERS WITH FAILED PROGRAMS UNDER KELLER

In 2018, during Mayor Keller’s first full year in office, there were 69 homicides. In 2019, during Mayor Keller’s second full year in office, there were 82 homicides. Albuquerque had more homicides in 2019 than in any other year in the city’s history. The previous high was in 2017 when 72 homicides were reported in Mayor Berry’s last year in office. The previous high mark was in 1996, when the city had 70 homicides. The year 2020 ended with 76 homicides, the second-highest count since 1996. The decline dropped the homicide rate from 14.64 per 100,000 people in 2019 to about 13.5 in 2020.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1534762/homicide-numbers-high-despite-pandemic.html?amp=1

In 2019, Mayor Tim Keller reacting to the spiking violent crime rates, announced 4 programs in 9 months to deal with and bring down the city’s high violent crime rates . Those APD programs are: the Shield Unit, Declaring Violent Crime “public health” issue, the Metro 15 Operation, “Violence Intervention Plan” (VIP Program). Based on the city’s high violent crime and murder rates, it appears Keller’s programs have been a failure.

On Thursday, April 16, it was reported that killings in the city have nearly doubled. According to the report, the Albuquerque Police Department has investigated 34 homicides this year, almost twice as many as the city had at this point in each of the past two years. By April 15 in both 2020 and 2019, there were 19 killings. APD ended up with 77 homicides in 2020 and a record 80 in 2019. Of the 34 homicides, APD has made an arrest in six cases and filed an arrest warrant for 15-year-old Josef Toney in the double homicide of two women.

It is clear the city is on its way to the highest murder rate in its history.

A link to the news sources are here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2380171/year-to-date-homicides-up-significantly.html

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/abq-murder-rate-continues-to-climb-in-record-cases/ar-BB1fJHcG

HISTORICALLY LOW HOMICIDE CLEARANCE RATES UNDER KELLER

For the past three years during Mayor Keller’s tenure, the homicide clearance percentage rate has been in the 50%-60% range. According to the proposed 2018-2019 APD City Budget, in 2016 the APD homicide clearance rate was 80%. In 2017, under Mayor Berry the clearance rate was 70%. In 2018, the first year of Keller’s term, the homicide clearance rate was 56%. In 2019, the second year of Keller’s term, the homicide clearance rate was 52.5%, the lowest clearance rate in the last decade. In 2020 the clearance rate has dropped to 50%. Of the 75 homicides thus far in 2020, half remain unsolved. There are only a dozen homicide detectives each with caseloads high above the national average.

AUTO THEFTS STILL HIGH UNDER KELLER

On June 26, 2019 the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released its annual list of cities with the most stolen vehicles reported. Despite a 28% reduction in auto thefts over a two-year period, Albuquerque ranked No. 1 in the nation for vehicle thefts per capita for the third year in a row. On July 30, 2020, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reports that Albuquerque is now ranked #2 in the nation for auto theft.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimgorzelany/2019/06/27/these-are-the-cities-with-the-highest-car-theft-rates/#7c42e7d35146

KELLER’S FALSE CLAIMS OF REDUCING CRIME

When Keller took office on December 1, 2017, every quarter when APD released the city’s crime statistics, Mayor Keller would do a press conference to proclaim and to some extent take credit for crime going down in all categories. He did so on July 1, 2019. Mayor Keller reported that crime was down substantially, with double-digit drops, in nearly every category.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1335502/crime-declining-in-albuquerque-new-numbers-show.html

On Sunday, December 1, 2019 the Albuquerque Journal reported that all the crime rate reductions Keller reported in his July 1, 2019 press conference were in fact seriously flawed by big percentages. Both the 2019 mid-year statistics and the statistics released at the end of 2018 were revised dramatically to include hundreds, and in some cases thousands, more incidents than were initially reported. The final numbers for all of 2018 showed violent crime actually increased.

At an October meeting of the City Council, APD provided the revised statistics but failed to disclose to the council that the numbers had changed drastically. Mayor Keller also did not hold any kind of a press conference to correct nor announce the corrected statistics. The Keller Administration blamed the false numbers on antiquated software programs, but only after the Keller Administration had essentially been caught by the Albuquerque Journal. Mayor Keller for his part has never issued his own personal apology for misleading the public and trying to take credit for bringing down crime rates by using false statistics.

The corrected crime statistics from those announced by Keller are:

Auto burglaries decreased 16%, not 38% as previously announced by Keller
Auto theft decreased 22%, not 39% as Keller reported
Commercial burglary decreased 3%, not the 27% Keller reported
Residential burglary decreased 16%, not 39% as Keller reported
Homicide decreased 2.5%, not 18%, but homicides have since increased substantially and the city has tied the all-time record of 71.
Rape decreased 3%, not the 29% Keller reported
Robbery decreased 30%, not 47% reported by Keller
Aggravated assault decreased 7.5%, not 33% reported by Keller

The link to the full December 1, 2029 Journal article is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1396782/flaws-discovered-in-apds-crime-statistics.html

5. KELLER’S FAILURE TO GROW APD TO LEVEL PROMISED

Tim Keller campaigned to be elected mayor on the platform of increasing the size of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD), returning to community-based policing and promising to bring down skyrocketing crime rates. To that end, the Keller Administration began implementing an $88 million-dollar APD police expansion program increasing the number of sworn police officers from 898 positions filled to 1,200, or by 302 sworn police officers, over a four-year period. The massive investment was ordered by Mayor Tim Keller to full fill his 2017 campaign promise to increase the size of APD and return to community-based policing as a means to reduce the city’s high crime rates. Keller promised to increase the number of sworn police in the department to 1,200 by the end of his first term.

As of January 9, 2021, APD payroll shows that there were 953 sworn officers with only 48 cadets in the academy. During the February 8, 2021, City Council Public Safety Committee, Chief Harold Medina reported that APD has 957 sworn police. Of the 957 sworn police, Medina reported a mere 371 sworn police are in Field Services responding to calls for service or 39% of the entire sworn force. The 371 sworn police taking calls for service are spread out over 3 shifts and 8 area commands to patrol and based on crime rates in the areas. Medina also told the committee that Field Services has 6 area commanders, 18 lieutenants, 53 sergeant’s, 21 bicycle officers for a total of 511 officers assigned to field services. The problem is commanders, lieutenants, sergeant’s, and bicycle officers do not patrol the streets and are not dispatched to calls for service as are the field officers.

https://www.abqreport.com/single-post/zero-growth-for-apd

On April 14 the on line news ABQReports reported that APD reported having 998 officers during the first week of March, 2021, but a check of APD payroll reflects only 984 sworn officers. According to ABQReports:

“Losing 15 officers in one month is not a good trend, but in cities like Albuquerque, Portland and Seattle it is a way of life. A source within APD advised that dozens of officers have inquired about retiring and quitting. Who can blame them in today’s toxic atmosphere and another hot summer on the way.”

https://www.abqreport.com/single-post/forty-one-homicides

https://www.petedinelli.com/2021/03/29/mayor-tim-kellers-998-police-force-not-the-1200-police-force-promised-by-candidate-keller/

6. UNDER KELLER’S FECKLESS LEADERSHIP, APD CONTINUES TO IMPLODE

In 2017, when campaigning for Mayor, Keller promised sweeping changes at APD, especially within the upper command of the Chief’s office. During Mayor Tim Keller’s first 8 months in office, he did not make the dramatic management changes he promised as a candidate. Keller appointed APD retired past management who continued with archaic management practices. The appointed Chief and Deputy Chiefs were APD insiders and have been with APD for a number of years and many are eligible for retirement whenever they want.

Keller conducted a sham national search for a new chief outside of APD simply to turn around and appoint a retired APD “retread” as APD Chief. Confidential sources have confirmed Keller met with Geier and made Geier a 4-year commitment to be APD Chief months before he was elected Mayor. After elected, Keller appointed APD management that were “throwbacks” to past practices and failed management philosophy. Chief Geier and the “new” APD Deputy Chiefs came up through the ranks under former Chiefs Ray Schultz and Gordon Eden. Keller’s appointed management team was “old guard” that held onto the status quo and no change in management style nor philosophy.

KELLER FIRES APD CHIEF GEIER

On Thursday September 10, 2020 APD Chief Michael Geier and Mayor Keller held a joint news conference to announce that APD Chief Geier was “retiring” for a fourth time from law enforcement after a 47-year career. Geier was APD Chief for close to 3 full years. Within a few days, it was revealed that former Chief Michael Geier was forced to retire by Mayor Tim Keller and his Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair.

According to sources Geier was given the choice between termination or retirement and Geier chose to retire. It was revealed that it was First Deputy Chief Harold Medina who orchestrated Geier’s removal. According to Geier Mayor Keller and his CAO Sarita Nair micro managed APD’s priorities while then First Assistant Harold Medina undermined all of Geier’s efforts. Geier intended to take personnel action against Medina for insubordination. Immediately hearing of the pending action against him, Medina went to CAO Nair and working together, the convinced Mayor Keller to terminate Geier or force his retirement.

https://www.petedinelli.com/2018/06/14/national-search-for-new-apd-chief-a-sham/

KELLER APPOINTS INEPT, PROBLEM COP AS APD CHIEF

During the September 10, 2020 press conference, Mayor Tim Keller announced First Deputy Harold Medina was the Interim APD Chief. Keller announced a national search would be conducted to find a new chief as was done when he appointed Chief Geier. On Monday, March 8, 2021, Keller announce that Harold Medina is the new APD Chief of Police.

The Medina appointment confirmed what confidential sources within city hall said in September: that it was a done deal that Keller would appoint Medina and that the national search was the same sham Keller pulled when he appointed Chief Michael Geier. Keller’s sham process is first appoint who he wanted to be permanent Chief as Interim Chief first, announce and go through the motions of a national search and interview applicants to placate the public as if interested in what they had to say and then announce as Chief who you always wanted to appoint in the first place.

Medina has a history of reactive decision-making and failed leadership resulting in the killing of two mentally ill people having psychotic episodes, a 14 year old boy and an Iraq War veteran suffering from PTSD threatening to kill himself while pointing a gun to his head. APD Chief Harold Medina successfully convinced Keller and Nair the two tragedies are a positive credential to run the APD saying because of the shootings he now understands the DOJ reforms, their need and can implement them. Medina’s conduct in the two shootings is the very type of conduct that resulted in the Department of Justice investigation in the first place.

With two separate fatalities involving the mentally ill, APD Chief Harold Medina represents the total opposite of what the city needs in a police chief. It is very critical to have a police chief with experience with reducing use of force, not one who has used deadly force. A a chief who has knowledge of crisis management, not one who causes a crisis. A Chief who understands the importance of protecting civil rights, not one who has violated civil rights, and a Chief able to tackle the issue of a police department interacting with the mentally ill, not one who has been involved with the killing of two mentally ill people. The fatal shootings Medina was involved with show he possesses none of the desired traits.

Truth is, Medina is part of the problem with APD that brought the DOJ here in the first place. Medina has no business being interim Chief let alone being made permanent. Medina helped create, did not stop and he participated the “culture of aggression” and the use of deadly force that resulted in a DOJ investigation.

7. KELLER’S FAILURE TO DEAL WITH APD POLICE OVETIME ABUSE SCANDAL

On Monday July 13, New Mexico State Auditor Brian Colon said his office was ordering a special audit of APD’s overtime payment policies to APD Police Officers. Auditor Colon ordered a special audit of all APD overtime policies after he said his office found enough red flags related to overtime practices and internal controls at the department. State Auditor Colon has also asked Attorney General to assist in the investigation of APD.

https://www.petedinelli.com/2020/07/16/nm-state-auditor-colon-calls-in-nm-attorney-general-balderas-to-help-with-probe-of-apd-overtime-abuse-the-irony-of-the-3-amigos-of-colon-balderas-and-keller-having-served-as-state-auditor-not-lost/

The announced audit came after longtime APD spokesman Sgt. Simon Drobik abruptly retired from the department as he was under investigation by APD’s Internal Affairs for overtime pay abuse. In 2018, Drobik was paid $192,973 as a result of massive amounts of overtime claimed and he was continuing his pace of overtime pay in 2020. Drobik’s base salary was approximately $68,000 a year.

The City maintains a list of the 250 top city hall wages earners and what they are paid for the full calendar year of January 1, to December 31 of any given year. The City of Albuquerque list for the year 2019 reflects that 134 police officers were paid between $107,885.47 t0 $193,666.40 with many being paid 2 and 3 times their base pay.

The breakdown is as follows:

There were 32 APD Lieutenants in the list of 250 top paid employees in 2019 earning pay ranging from $108,031 to $164,722. Hourly pay rate for APD Lieutenants is $40.00 an hour or $83,200 yearly.

There were 32 APD Sergeants in the list of 250 top paid employees in 2019 earning pay ranging from $109,292 to $193,666. Hourly pay rate for APD Sergeants is $35 an hour, or $72,800 a year.

There were 70 APD patrol officers first class, master, senior in the list of 250 top paid employees in 2019 earning pay ranging from $108,167 to $188,844. Hourly pay rate for Patrol Officers is $29.00 an hour to $31.50 an hour depending upon years of experience.

Mayor Keller is now faced with the likelihood that more than a few police officers will be found to have engaged in criminal activity and that criminal charges will be filed against police officers who claimed overtime and paid overtime for hours never authorized or never worked. The problem for Keller is that he was fully aware of what was going on with APD’s overtime abuse and was made aware of two separate audits that were conducted. Two attempts were made to place overtime caps on APD, but the programs were never fully implemented.

If APD is hit with a series of indictments of police officers for overtime time fraud and “waste, fraud and abuse by government officials” it will damage Keller’s re-election chances along with the skyrocketing violent crime rates Keller promised to bring down when he ran in 2017. What is ironic is that State Auditor Tim Keller made a name for himself investigating government officials for “waste, fraud and abuse”.

8. KELLER BACKTRACKS ON CENTRALIZED 24-7 HOMELESS SHELTER THEN PURCHASES MASSIVE GIBSON MEDICAL CENTER FOR SHELTER

Mayor Tim Keller made it known that building a new, centralized homeless shelter was one of his top priorities. The new homeless shelter would replace the existing West Side Emergency Housing Center, the former jail on the far West Side.

Mayor Keller deemed that a 24-hour, 7 day a week temporarily shelter for the homeless was critical toward reducing the number of homeless in the city. The city owned shelter was projected to assist an estimated 300 homeless residents and connect them to other services intended to help secure permanent housing. The new facility would have served all populations of men, women, and families. Further, the city wanted to provide a place anyone could go regardless of gender, religious affiliation, sobriety, addictions, psychotic condition or other factors. The city facility was to have on-site case managers that would guide residents toward counseling, addiction treatment, housing vouchers and other available resources.

On Wednesday, May 7, 2020 Mayor Tim Keller in a surprise announcement, said that the city was abandoning the development concept of a single, 300-bed homeless shelter. He announced the city will be proceeding with a “multi-site approach” to the city’s homelessness crisis. Mayor Tim Keller went so far as to state that the 300 bed Gateway Center was “off the table”.

https://www.facebook.com/MayorKeller/videos/290814465247439/UzpfSTEwNTQ4MTY4OTY6MTAyMjAwNDA5NDYxMDgwMTQ/

After Keller abandoned plans to build one centralized homeless shelter, he said the city was taking a “multi-site” approach that could mean a series of smaller facilities throughout the community. It can be viewed as Keller’s “spread the homeless” pain policy. Ostensibly, there would be no single resource hub in one large facility as was originally proposed with the 300 bed Gateway Center. Small shelters would be 100 to 150 beds of emergency shelter that could be defined as a smaller shelter.

On Tuesday, April 6, 2021 Mayor Tim Keller held a press conference in front of the Gibson Medical Center to announce the city had bought the massive complex for $15 million and his intent to transform it into a Gateway Center for the homeless. The Gibson Medical Center is a massive complex of well over half a million square feet. It not only includes a hospital bed capacity of 200 beds but has operating rooms, waiting areas, lab areas, treatment area and offices that can be easily converted into more bed capacity. The facility also has a lecture auditorium.

Keller made it clear either way, like it or not, the site has now been selected and the Gibson Medical facility will be used to service the homeless population as a Gateway Center. After his April 6 press conference, Mayor Keller came under severe criticism for his failure to reach a consensus and take community input before the Gibson Medical Center was purchased. Keller said he plans to confer with residents in the future. However,

Many who reside in the surrounding neighborhoods of the Gibson Medical Center have said they supported and voted for the $15 million bonds to build the Gateway center and fully agree that the city should provide more services to the homeless. The biggest worry is that the Gibson facility will in fact be converted to “mega-shelter” as was originally proposed by Keller and what he wanted and it will impact the neighborhood if that happens.

9. KELLER’S COMMUNITY SAFETY DEPARTMENT NOT WHAT HE PROMISED

On Monday, June 15, 2020 Mayor Tim Keller announced plans to create a new Albuquerque Community Safety Department (ACS). It was proposed in part as a response to police shootings happening throughout the country, especially after the killing of African American George Floyd. Keller proclaimed it was the “first of its kind” department in the country. Keller received national news coverage on the concept, including the in the Washington Post. It turns out the only “first of its kind” aspect was a department. Using social workers to take call for service instead of cops has been going on for years in other major cities.

The new department as originally announced was to have 192 positions with 32 people for each of the 6 area commands, staffed around the clock, to respond to tens of thousands of calls for service a year. The estimated annual cost of the new department was $10,201,170. The ACS as Keller originally presented to the public was to have social workers, housing and homelessness specialists and violence prevention and diversion program experts. They were to be dispatched to homelessness and “down-and-out” calls as well as behavioral health crisis calls for service to APD. The new department was to connect people in need with services to help address any underlying issues. The intent is to free up the first responders, either police or firefighters, who typically have to deal with down-and-out and behavioral health calls.

Two words that best to describe Keller’s Public Safety Department are “publicity stunt.” The new department as proposed by Keller was simply thrown together in a haphazard manner so he could call national news media outlets, which he did, and then hold a press conference for local news media outlets, which he also did.

On Thursday, September 3, Mayor Tim Keller released his proposed budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. The new city department was pared down significantly to $7.5 million in personnel, equipment and contractual services. Not a single licensed mental health professional, social worker, councilor, housing and homelessness specialists and violence prevention and diversion program experts were included.

Keller cut the new ACS Department from the originally suggested 192 positions to 100 employees with 60 positions taken from other city departments. The 100 employees included 40 transit security officers, 13 security staffers from the Municipal Development Department, 9 parking enforcement workers, 6 crossing guard supervisors and one from the city’s syringe cleanup program.

On October 15, the proposed Keller budget for the new department was slashed to the bone from $7.5 million to $2.5 million for fiscal year 2021. The City Council removed virtually all of the positions originally proposed by Keller. Cut from Keller’s proposed budget for the new department were 83 employees and a $7.5 million cost. The staffing cut include 53 security personnel, 9 parking enforcement employees and 6 people from the city’s crossing guard program.

10. A CRISIS MANGEMENT MAYOR

On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, less than 48 hours after the Albuquerque City Council passed and amended “Emergency Powers Ordinance”, Mayor Tim Keller declared a “public health emergency” to deal with the corona virus epidemic in the city. The Mayor announced and signed the “Declaration of Local State of Emergency Due to Novel Corona Virus COVID-19” on a video posted on social media and distributed to the local new outlets. In the video announcement, Keller said the declaration “frees up financial resources for our city and flexibility so we can deal with this situation the best way possible.”

With his Public Health Emergency declaration, Mayor Tim Keller became the first Mayor in the city’s history to become a “crisis management Mayor” to deal with a major health crisis and epidemic.

By all accounts, Mayor Tim Keller took as many initiatives that he could in order to deal with the corona virus pandemic. He did show leadership as he tried to keep up with the ever-evolving crisis and as he tried to follow the lead of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Ever since Mayor Tim Keller assumed office on December 1, 2017, he has taken photo ops and press conferences to all new levels. Keller attended protest rallies to speak at, attended marches and political protests, attended heavy metal concerts to introduce the band, ran in track meets and participated in exhibition football games as the quarterback and enjoying reliving his high school glory days and posting pictures and videos on his FACEBOOK page.

With the pandemic, Keller began conducting daily press briefings on the city’s efforts to deal with the corona virus and attempting to keep up with Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s daily briefings on the state level. The corona virus pandemic is also allowed Mayor Keller to take his public relations efforts to even higher levels to announce city initiatives and inform the public. Keller took his public relations efforts to a whole new level by conducting “virtual town hall” meetings. The town hall meetings are sophisticated telephone conference calls to thousands to provide to the public information and to answer the public’s questions regarding what the city is doing.

For over a full year since the pandemic hit the city and after he declared a public health emergency, Keller touted the city government’s ability to avoid employee layoffs and continue delivering services despite the pandemic. He also benefited from the $150 million in federal relief money the city received last spring and it was a key factor with the city’s success. Keller argued that Albuquerque fared better than other comparable cities during the crisis because of his leadership.

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY

In 2017 when then State Auditor Tim Keller first announced he was running for Mayor, he was asked point blank why he was running and his response was:

“Because I really think it would be cool to be Mayor of my hometown and I have done good at all the jobs I have ever held.”

Keller’s words were a reflection of shallowness and being self-centered and consumed with ambition.

Tim Keller now has a record he must run on and defend. Keller’s accomplishments have been less than stellar. Keller has not come close to the change he promised in 2017. It’s hard to believe that Keller’s record as Mayor will generate the same level enthusiasm from progressives and progressive organizations he had 4 years ago.

The city’s high murder rate is rising even further. There will be more violent crime during the hot summer as people break out of quarantine as things return to normal. After being elected, Keller signed a tax increase after promising not to raise taxes without a public vote. Keller failed to make the sweeping changes to the Albuquerque Police Department, and his promised implementation of the DOJ reforms stalled so much that he fired his first chief.

Keller has appointed Harold Medina, a cop who has a nefarious past with the use of deadly force against two people suffering from psychotic episodes, permanent chief. Keller is not even close to reaching the 1,200 sworn police officers promised nor to community-based policing. Keller’s promise to bring down violent crime never materialized and four programs to bring down violent crime have failed. For three years, murders have hit an all-time record, with many still unsolved.

During the last 3 years under Mayor Tim Keller’s leadership, things have only gotten worse in the city. The sweeping and dynamic change that Keller was perceived to represent in 2017 never materialized. APD continues to implode, violent crime is still out of control, and with the pandemic, the state and city are likely headed for another major recession.

In normal times, Tim Keller would be a one term Mayor given his record of broken promises and failures. Normally, voters are a very fickle lot and unforgiving when politicians make promises they do not or cannot keep. Sooner rather than later people demand and want results. But not in the age of the Corona Virus. Campaign promises made in 2017 and promises not kept by 2021 really do not matter from a political standpoint.

The tragic truth is that no one really cares about a politician’s poor job performance when they are struggling to make a living, make ends meet and struggling to keep themselves and their family’s healthy and safe from the Corona Virus as bills add up. The ultimate factor that will determine if Tim Keller is a one term Mayor is if anyone will emerge as a viable candidate.

In the age of the Covid 19 pandemic, none of Keller’s failures nor broken promises will likely make much of a difference to the voting public given the image he has carefully crafted with his relentless public relations and the lack of viable, Democrat progressive candidates to oppose him.

On November 2, 2021 Voters will decide if Keller has “done a good” job of leadership and if he deserves a second 4-year term.

Führer Trump’s Favorite Democrat Sherriff Manny Gonzales Runs For Mayor; A DINO And Law Enforcement Dinosaur

Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales has made it official that he is running for Mayor of Albuquerque. It is what many have know for at least a year. In early March, it was reported he notified the Albuquerque City Clerk he will be seeking public financing.

Links to news coverage of his announcement are here:

https://www.koat.com/article/bcso-sheriff-announces-run-for-mayor/36165233

https://www.krqe.com/news/politics-government/bernalillo-county-sheriff-to-run-for-albuquerque-mayor/

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/manny-gonzales-believes-he-can-turn-around-albuquerques-crime-crisis/6080296/?cat=500

https://www.abqjournal.com/2381861/gonzales-confirms-he-will-run-for-abq-mayor.html

This article is a candidate profile of Sheriff Gonzalez. It discusses the major hurdles he will have to overcome to become the 8th Mayor of Albuquerque.

PERSONAL BACK GROUND

Manny Gonzales was born and raised in the South Valley and attended Albuquerque public schools. He is married and he and his wife Elaine are both life-long residents of Albuquerque. The couple are raising their three teenage children, two sons and one daughter, in the same community where they were raised in the South Valley. Gonzales is a United States veteran, having served honorably in the United States Marine Corps.

EDUCATION AND BACKGROUND

Sheriff Gonzales has an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Central New Mexico Community College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Management with two Minors (Occupational Education/ Specialization in Law Enforcement). His Law Enforcement Executive Development consists of FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development – Command Institute for Law Enforcement Executives, Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command, Western States Sheriff’s Association – Leadership, The Southern Police Institute- Chief Executive Leadership Course, The National Sheriff’s Institute – Executive Level Management Education and Training, and the New Mexico Department of Public Safety Executive.

LAW ENFORCEMENT CAREER

Sheriff Gonzales began his law enforcement career on August 14th, 1989 with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office. Over the span of 24 years, Sheriff Gonzales served in all divisions, commands, and shifts within the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department. He worked his way through the ranks of the department and was promoted to Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain.

On November 30th, 2009 Sheriff Gonzales was unanimously appointed Sheriff by the Bernalillo County Commission, when the sitting Sheriff resigned. He has been Sheriff for six years. Sheriff Gonzales was elected Sheriff on November 6, 2018 with 54.7% of the vote and garnering 126,606 votes county wide. His current term expires January 1, 2023.

Sheriff Manny Gonzales is very personable and well liked as evidence by the landslide vote he received in 2018. No one has any right to try and humiliate him by demanding his resignation in order to circumvent his continued service in a job he was elected, but that is what has happened to him.

HURDLES TO SHERIFF GONZALES BECOMING MAYOR GONZALES

There are a number of very serious obstacles to becoming the next Mayor of Albuquerque that Manny Gonzales has created himself. Following are a few of those obstacles:

FÜHRER TRUMP’S FAVORITE DEMOCRAT SHERRIFF GONZALES

On August 11, 2020, then President Trump (@realDonaldTrump) tweeted:

Thank you to Sheriff Gonzales of Bernalillo County, New Mexico, for joining my call with our Nation’s sheriffs. Appreciate your partnership to help make your county safe – great comments on Operation Legend!

https://t.co/M41wLOg5ZA

Sheriff Gonzales was recently ask in an Albuquerque Journal profile if going to the White House to discuss Operation Legend and the assignment of Federal Agents was a good decision and his response was:

“I think it was great decision. [As for the criticism], I feel like it exposes those people who said they were going to make public safety their number one issue … then left the people of Bernalillo County holding the bag on crime and the issues that come with it. If somebody is willing to help this community out – local, federal or state – I’ll go wherever I need to go to keep the people safe. That’s what I swore to do and I would do it all over again.”

https://www.abqjournal.com/2371964/sheriffs-childhood-dream-keeping-people-safe.html

Albuquerque progressive, moderate and conservative Democrats all have extreme hostility for Trump as was reflected by Biden’s landslide victory over Trump. There is no getting around it. Sherriff Gonzales will be portrayed as Trump’s favorite Sheriff and be viewed as a “Democrat In Name Only” (DINO) especially because he went to Washington to attend a press conference with Trump.

When Gonzales first announced the trip, he said he was going to Washington to meet with Trump. The truth was he never met with Trump in private and the trip was nothing more than for a photo op for Trump. For that reason alone, he should just change his party affiliation to Republican instead of trying to play the game of forming a coalition of Conservative Democrats and Trump Republicans.

It’s more likely than not that now Gonzales is running, the Republican Party will find a Republican Candidate and Gonzales will be viewed as a spoiler very much like former State Senator Richard Romero who ran against incumbent Mayor Marty Chavez and allowed Republican Mayor Richard Berry to prevail.

SHERIFF GONZALES OPPOSITION TO LAPEL CAMERAS

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed a bill enacted during the 2020 special session mandating the use of by all law enforcement agencies in the state. Sheriff Gonzales has consistently opposed the use of lapel cameras by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s office while lapel camera usage is required of APD. Many Democrats and Republicans strongly disagree with Sheriff Gonzales’ resistance to ordering the use of lapel cameras. Last fall the Bernalillo County Commission allocated $1 million in startup money, plus $500,000 in recurring annual funds for the sheriff’s office to get dashboard cameras and lapel cameras, but Sheriff Gonzales refused and no equipment was ever purchased.

On July 15, Sheriff Gonzales, essentially ignoring the lapel camera mandate by the legislature, announced he is looking to partner with a private company so his deputies can put “smartphones” in their vests and record video instead of using body cameras. The suggestion to use “smart phones” was met with ridicule. Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, the sponsor of the mandatory use of lapel cameras by all New Mexico law enforcement, burst out laughing when told of the sheriff’s plan to use smart phones. Senator Cervantes had this to say:

“I’m pleased to see the sheriff is finally willing to adopt one of the tools of modern law enforcement. … We passed a law that requires body-worn cameras, so if he wants to do it by duct-taping iPhones on his officers’ chests, that’s his prerogative, although I think it creates the possibility of becoming a laughingstock.”

https://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Besieged-New-Mexico-sheriff-eyes-smartphones-as-15411944.php

SHERIFF GONZALES REFUSAL TO MAKE COURT ORDERED DISCLOSURES OF POLICE MISCONDUCT

On October 14, 2020, Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez notified the Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzalez that his office was introducing a new disclosure policy. The policy is based on the 1974 United States Supreme Court ruling Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150 (1972). The Giglio ruling requires the prosecuting agency, in this case the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office, to disclose to a criminal defendant all information or material that may be used to impeach the credibility of the prosecution witnesses including sheriff officers who are witnesses for the prosecution in any case. The letter goes on to say that law enforcement officers listed as witnesses in an open case will receive a questionnaire where information like past misconduct of bias, use of force or truthfulness, or criminal charges must be disclosed.

Shortly after learning of the new DA’s policy, Sheriff Manuel Gonzales sent a memo to all BCSO deputies telling them not to respond to the DA’s questionnaire. Instead, Sheriff Gonzales told his deputies to answer two questions he provided for them to answer. Those two questions are:

1.“Are you aware of any sustained Internal Affairs investigatory findings indicating you provided untruthful testimony, or were found to be untruthful in the course of your duties?”

2. “Are you aware of any court or judicial body that has determined you provided false or deliberately misleading testimony under oath?”

Sheriff Gonzales in a letter to DA Torrez rendered his legal opinion and wrote:

“We believe the information requested in your questionnaire intrudes on the privacy rights of our deputies and is constitutionally immaterial.”

In a statement, Sheriff Gonzales had this to say:

“[The DA’s letters contain] false allegations and direct contradictions of what I have instructed our deputies to do, and that is to follow the law. … Understanding the Brady and Giglio court rulings’ intent, the Sheriff’s Office has a questionnaire form each deputy is required to answer, which sufficiently meets the obligations under Giglio and Brady. … Finally, in lieu of threatening this office with frivolous litigation, Mr. Torrez should instead focus on prosecuting cases and obtaining justice for victims in Bernalillo County, which he has failed to do.”

It is downright laughable when a Sheriff tells a District Attorney that he has instructed deputies to “follow the law” when in fact the Sheriff is resisting court ordered disclosures mandated by the United States Supreme Court.

OPPOSITION TO GOVERNOR’S PUBLIC HEALTH ORDERS

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has declared a public health crisis and has issued emergency health orders to deal with the Corona Virus pandemic. The public health orders are allowed by New Mexico State law. The Public Health orders have taken the form of retail business closures, restaurant closures, cancellation of public events, school closings, church closings, and limiting gathering and self-quarantine orders and social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus.

On December 19, a defiant Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales on a video proclaims he will not enforce “unconstitutional laws” when it comes to the corona virus pandemic. In a video posted to YouTube, Gonzales said he sympathizes with business owners and houses of worship, and accused politicians of “turning everyday citizens into villains.” Gonzales got the publicity he covets when local news agencies covered the story. Gonzales had this to say:

“I choose to direct this agency’s time and resources to the laws deemed to keep people free of crime. … Overreaching restrictions will harm our community. For that reason, we will not follow along with any orders that subvert constitutional rights.”

A link to the YouTube Video is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v95B1lpt_PM

Governor Michell Lujan Grisham’s office issued the following statement in response to Sheriff Gonzales:

“Over 2,000 New Mexicans have been killed by COVID-19, including over 460 people in Bernalillo County. It is deeply disappointing, not to mention directly harmful, that any public official would take any action that undermines the health and safety of their community. All New Mexicans should agree on the importance of doing anything and everything we can to save lives.”

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/bcso-sheriff-said-he-will-not-enforce-lsquounconstitutional-lawsrsquo-under-statersquos-covid-response/5956363/?cat=500

When Sherrif Gonzales declared the Governors public health orders are “unconstitutional”, he used the exact same inflammatory rhetoric the Republican party used that the health orders were unconstitutional. Virtually all the lawsuits filed to set aside the Governor’s public health orders as “unconstitutional” have been thrown out by the New Mexico Supreme Court almost as quickly as they have been filed. Gonzales acts as if a badge gives him a license to practice law and his actionions reflect that he feels law enforcement is above the law.

SHERIFF GONZALES OPPOSITION TO DOJ REFORMS

On April 10, 2014, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Civil Rights Division, submitted a scathing 46-page investigation report on an 18-month civil rights investigation of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD). A link to the entire report is here:

https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/crt/legacy/2014/04/10/apd_findings_4-10-14.pdf

Based on the investigation and the review of excessive use of force and deadly force cases, the DOJ found that a “culture of aggression” existed within APD. The DOJ found “reasonable cause to believe that APD engage[d] in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment … . A significant number of the use of force cases reviewed by the DOJ involved persons suffering from acute mental illness and who were in crisis.”

The investigation found APD’s policies, training, and supervision were insufficient to ensure that officers encountering people with mental illness or in distress do so in a manner that respected their rights and in a manner that was safe for all involved.

On November 10, 2014 the City and APD entered into a federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) mandating sweeping changes to APD policy and training on the use of force and deadly force. For the last 6 years the City and APD have been struggling to implement 176 reforms and have spent millions on the reforms.

On March 21, Sheriff Gonzales gave his opinion of the Department of Justice consent agreement with the Albuquerque Police Department and other issues and had this to say:

“APD officers are working in an environment to fail. … they are subjected to being assaulted, battered, spit on and second-guessed. … [Bail reform] has failed miserably. It did reduce the jail population but at the expense of public safety. … [The matrix] used by the court’s to determine which defendants are eligible for release [is] fuel to the fire. It should be banished as a reliable matrix … It emboldens criminals. … Sanctuary city attracts criminals to Albuquerque.”

A link to source material is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2371964/sheriffs-childhood-dream-keeping-people-safe.html

Ostensibly, Gonzales has nothing good to say at all about the need for the reforms. His opinion expressed showed a level of ignorance of the Court Approved Settlement Agreement and what brought the department of justice to Albuquerque in the first place.

It is known to many in law enforcement that Gonzales has significant reservation and disagreements with the federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA). Confidential sources say Gonzales intends to campaign for Mayor on a platform to dismiss the federal court case and abolish all the reforms imposed upon APD and he wants the case to be dismissed.

Just a few of the DOJ reforms Sheriff Manny Gonzales is likely to find very problematic and object to as Mayor Gonzales are:

1.The new “use of force” and “use of deadly force” policies that have been written, implemented and all APD sworn have received training on.
2. The implemented and strict “Constitutional policing” practices and methods, and mandatory crisis intervention techniques and de-escalation tactics with the mentally ill that must now be used.
3. APD’s “Use of Force Review Board” that oversees all internal affairs investigations of use of force and deadly force by APD Officers.
4. APD’s system to hold officers and supervisors accountable for all use of force incidents with personnel procedures implemented detailing how use of force cases are investigated.
5. APD’s revised and updated policies on the mandatory use of lapel cameras by all sworn police officers.
6. The new Civilian Police Oversight Agency created, funded, and fully staffed.
7. The Community Policing Counsels (CPCs) created in all area commands and recommendations made by the CPCs to the Chief on discipline.
8. The Mental Health Advisory Committee for APD.

Unless a candidate for Mayor Manny Gonzales can agree with all the mandatory requirements of the Department of Justice (DOJ), it is likely his election as Mayor will be a major setback to the reforms. As Mayor, he will give APD the leeway to return to unconstitutional policing practices as he did with the Sheriff’s Office, such as when he allowed shooting at suspects in fleeing cars.

“USE OF DEADLY FORCE” CASES DURING SHERIFF GONZALES TENURE

There is no doubt as Sheriff Gonzales runs for Mayor, his total mismanagement of BCSO will be examined as will any and all lawsuits filed against the department under his watch for systemic racial profiling, excessive use of force and deadly force. Bernalillo County has been forced to pay out upwards of $10 million in settlements involving the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) over a 2 year period of Sheriff Gonzales tenure as Sheriff.

When settlements he did not like were announced, Gonzalez said the amounts were excessive and he defended the actions of his sheriff’s deputies. As an act of defiance, Gonzales even issued issued commendations to the deputies involved with the killing of an 88-year-old suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, claiming they acted properly.

Following is a listing of the cases:

2015 WRONFUL DEATH OF FIDENCIO DURAN: $1,495,000 SETTLEMENT

On Bernalillo County settled the wrongful death case of Fidencio Duran for the sum of $1,495,000.

It was on September 14, 2015, Fidencio Duran, 88, died after he was shot numerous times with a “pepper ball” gun after he encountered BCSO Deputy Sheriffs in the South Valley. Mr. Duran was partially blind and deaf and suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. His wife of 67 years had died the day before after a three-year bout with illness. Duran wandered around the neighborhood shirtless. He banged on the door of a neighbor, who called the BCSO.

When BCSO Deputies arrived, a 90-minute standoff ensued, in which Mr. Duran, shirtless and wearing one shoe and reportedly holding a four-inch knife, spoke, sometimes incoherently, in Spanish. Eventually, the BCSO officers fired over 50 rounds of pepper balls at him from two directions. Some of the pepper balls penetrated his skin, causing contusions and embedding fragments of plastic.

BCSO officers unleashed a muzzled K9 police dog after shooting with pepper balls. The dog knocked the 115-pound man over, breaking his femur and hip. He was taken to the hospital, where it took doctors days to remove all of the pepper ball fragments. He never left the hospital, succumbing to pneumonia as a result of his injuries a month later. A doctor from the Office of the Medical Investigator “determined that the manner of death was Homicide” according to a civil lawsuit filed.

In an ostensible act of defiance, Sheriff Manny Gonzales issued commendations to the deputies involved.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/02/09/albu-f09.html

2017 WRONGFULL DEATH OF ROBERT CHAVEZ: $700,000 SETTLEMENT

On August 16, 2017, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputies spotted a stolen car near Coors and ILiff. When they tried to pull over the vehicle a chase ensued. The stolen vehicle crashed into Robert Chavez’, 66, car near Broadway and Avenida Cesar Chavez in the Southwest part of the city. When Robert Chavez was hit, Chavez broke his back, shoulder, forearm, wrist, ribs and pelvis in the crash and also had other internal injuries. Chavez went into a coma and died 11 days after the crash. A wrongful death lawsuit was filed against the county and BCSO.

The BCSO Sheriff Department’s old policy would not have allowed officers to pursue for a stolen vehicle, but Sheriff Manny Gonzales changed the hot pursuit policy allowing such chases a year before the fatal crash. The Bernalillo County settled with Mr. Chavez’ family for $700,000 but not before the county backout of a $1 Million settlement.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1210343/man-injured-in-bcso-chase-dies.html

https://www.krqe.com/news/albuquerque-metro/family-attorney-county-

2017 KILLING OF MARTIN JIM AND SHOOTING OF ISAAC PADILLA: $3.3 MILLION SETTLEMENT

On November 17, 2017, BCSO Deputies, at around 4 am in the morning, initiated a high-speed chase of a stolen truck across the South Valley on November 17, 2017. A BCSO Deputy rammed the truck at Coors and Glenrio NW on Albuquerque’s West Side obliterating the front driver’s-side wheel. With the truck at a standstill, two BCSO deputies parked their vehicles to block the truck from moving forward.

BCSO Deputy Joshua Mora soon arrived on the scene. Mora is the son of then-undersheriff Rudy Mora and had worked for BCSO about 18 months as a sheriff’s deputy. In the span of 18 seconds, Mora jumped from his car, ran to the truck, yelled commands at the driver, and fired 7 shots into the vehicle occupied by 3 passengers, including a 4-year-old child. Mora did no know Martin Jim was sitting in the back seat. A settlement in the case was reached after Senior U.S. District Judge Judith Herrera of Albuquerque ruled that a “reasonable jury could conclude that Deputy Mora acted unreasonably.”

On May 21, 2020, it was reported that the family of Martin Jim, 25, the man killed in 2017 incident settled the federal excessive force lawsuit against the county for $1.5 million. An earlier $400,000 state court settlement arising from the same deadly shooting paid to Jim’s partner, Shawntay Ortiz and his four-year-old son, amounted to $1.9 million. That is an addition to the $1.36 million settlement paid to the estate of the driver of the pickup truck, Isaac Padilla, 23, who was also killed. Another $40,000 was paid to two other passengers in the truck. The total payout to resolve legal claims related to Deputy Joshua Mora’s actions was $3.3 million.

The defendants, Mora, the county and Sheriff Manny Gonzales maintained Martin Jim’s death was unintentional and that the killing of Isaac Padilla, the driver of the truck, was justified. No weapons were found in the truck negating Mora’s defense that his actions were justified and in self-defense.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1458471/settlements-in-bcso-shooting-total-33-million-deputy-opened-fire-killing-driver-passenger-in-stolen-truck.html

2019 THE KILLING ELISHA LUCERO: $4 MILLION SETTLEMENT

On July 21, 2019, Elisha Lucero, 28, who suffered psychosis and schizophrenia, was shot to death in front of her RV, which was parked in front of her family’s South Valley home. BCSO Deputies had responded to the home after a relative called 911 saying Lucero had hit her uncle in the face. According to the 911 call, a relative said Lucero was mentally ill, needed help, and was a threat to herself and to everybody else. Just one month prior, Lucero had called BCSO and asked to be taken to the hospital for mental health issues.

According to the lawsuit, when deputies arrived, they said Lucero initially refused to come out of the home. Eventually, the 4-foot-11 Lucero, naked from the waist up, ran out screaming and armed with a kitchen knife. The BCSO Deputies pulled their revolvers and shot her claiming they feared for their lives. According to an autopsy report, Lucero was shot at least 21 times by the deputies. The two BCSO Deputies who shot and killed Elisha Lucero were not wearing lapel cameras. Sheriff Gonzales refused to have lapel cameras purchase and mandated for the BCSO.

The Lucero lawsuit filed on January 13 alleges Sheriff Manny Gonzales has fostered a “culture of aggression” in the department and too few deputies are trained to handle people with mental health issues. The Lucero family civil suit states:

“the deputies created a situation where they were forced to use deadly force against Ms. Lucero or have justified their unlawful use of deadly force with the falsehood that Ms. Lucero presented a deadly threat to one or all of them.”

On March 6th, it was reported that Bernalillo County settled the Lucero family lawsuit for $4 Million dollars.

The Lucero lawsuit filed on January 13 alleges Sheriff Gonzales has fostered a “culture of aggression” in the department and too few deputies are trained to handle people with mental health issues. The allegation of a “culture of aggression” and the use of deadly force when dealing with the mentally ill is identical to what the Department of Justice investigation found within the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) 6 years ago resulting in the DOJ federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement.

Even after the shooting of Elisha Lucero and the $4 Million settlement, Sheriff Gonzales did not change his opposition to lapel cameras. Gonzales has proclaimed his deputies do not need lapel cameras because they have audio recorders on their belts.

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/family-of-elisha-lucero-settles-case-with-bcso-for-4m-/5667056/

https://www.abqjournal.com/1428402/family-of-mentally-ill-woman-shot-by-bcso-gets-4m-settlement.html

https://www.abqjournal.com/1428402/family-of-mentally-ill-woman-shot-by-bcso-gets-4m-settlement.html

BCSO RACIAL PROFILING CASES SETTLED: $100,000 SETTLEMENT AND COUNTING

It was on December 6, 2017 that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico filed a lawsuit on behalf of Sherese Crawford, a 38-year-old African-American woman on temporary assignment in New Mexico as an Immigration and Customs Agent (ICE) deportation officer. The lawsuit alleged that Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) deputies racially profiled her by pulling her over three times, twice by the same deputy, within a month with no probable cause or reasonable suspicion that she was breaking the law. None of the three times she was pulled over was she given a warning or a citation.

ACLU of New Mexico Staff Attorney Kristin Greer Love had this to say at the time:

“Our client is an accomplished federal agent who was targeted for driving while black … BCSO unlawfully and repeatedly stopped her because she fit a racial profile. Targeting people because of the color of their skin is unconstitutional and bad policing. Racial discrimination has no place in New Mexico, and BCSO must take immediate action to ensure that this behavior does not continue.”

https://www.aclu-nm.org/en/press-releases/aclu-files-racial-profiling-lawsuit-against-bcso

On July 8, 2020, it was reported that two black women from Wisconsin are suing Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales and two deputies alleging racial and religious profiling stemming from a traffic stop in July 2017. The lawsuit was filed about five months after Bernalillo County reached a $100,000 settlement with Sherese Crawford, a 38-year-old African-American who filed a lawsuit against BCSO after she was pulled over three times in 28 days by BCSO deputies Patrick Rael and Leonard Armijo, the same deputies named in the new lawsuit, in spring 2017.

The civil case was filed by Sisters Consweyla and Cynthia Minafee, and a 5-year-old child, Yahaven Pylant, were traveling from Phoenix back to Wisconsin when they were pulled over by Rael on Interstate 40 the morning of July 7, 2017. Cynthia Minafee was Yahaven’s legal guardian at the time. According to the lawsuit, the traffic stop lasted almost an hour and included an extensive search of the vehicle with a drug dog.

According to the lawsuit, Rael told the women to get out of the car and said he could smell marijuana on Cynthia. Cynthia said that she had not smoked in the car and that there was no marijuana in the vehicle. Consweyla Minafee, the driver, was not issued a traffic citation, but Cynthia Minafee was issued a citation for not having Yahaven properly restrained. The citation was dismissed in May, online court records show.

A link to a news source is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1473973/two-bcso-deputies-face-second-racial-profiling-lawsuit.html

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

The term “DINO” means “Democrat In Name Only”. It can also be shorthand for “dinosaur”. When it comes to Manny Gonzales, the term has both meanings. Gonzales is a “Democrat In Name Only” and a Sheriff who is a dinosaur when it comes to unconstitutional policing practices that existed before the Black Lives Matter movement.

Sheriff Gonzales is now running for Mayor on a “law and order” platform. His mismanagement of BCSO will be a major issue as well as his well-known opposition to many of the reforms of APD mandated by the consent decree.

“I don’t work for the governor. I don’t work for the mayor. I don’t work for the president of the United States. I answer to the people who voted me into office.”

With these words, Sherriff Manny Gonzales shows himself to be a person who listens and answers to no one, other than those who voted him into office. During his 7 years as Sheriff, Gonzales has refused to cooperate and do anything the County Commission or County Manager asked of him.

It is not even certain he will listen to the courts and do what they tell him whenever the time comes to it. His resistance to cooperate with the District Attorney’s Office and disclose what is required to be disclosed by the US Supreme Court indicates he feels law enforcement is above the law.

As Mayor, he will likely ignore the City Council, ignore the Police Oversight Board and Civilian Policing Councils saying they did not elect him. He will also likely do what he can to ignore the Court Approved Settlement Agreement and the reforms, saying he did not agree to them and as a former law enforcement official he feels the CASA has been a disaster.

When it comes to the Sheriff’s Department under Manny Gonzales, it is clear that the department is way behind the times when it comes to constitutional policing practices. Sheriff Gonzales for years has resisted civilian oversight of BCSO often ignoring the citizen advisory board recommendations. Most recently, Sheriff Gonzales resisted the U.S. Supreme Court mandated disclosures of police misconduct of officers who testify in court.

The deaths of Fidencio Duran, Robert Chavez, Martin Jim, and Elisha Lucero as well as the shooting injuries to Isaac Padilla, Shawntay Ortiz and his four-year-old son were all preventable had BCSO Sheriff’s Deputies been properly trained in constitutional policing practices. In this day and age of George Floyd and the Black Lives Movement, there is absolutely no excuse for BCSO involved with racial profiling cases involving any minority, but that’s what we got with Gonzales as Sheriff.

One of the biggest problems is that Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales has shown himself to be a law enforcement “throw back” to by gone days, especially with his refusal to order the use of lapel cameras before the State legislature mandated it and his resistance to make mandatory disclosures of officer misconduct to the District Attorney’s office as mandated by the United States Supreme Court.

In a 2-year period Bernalillo County has been forced to pay out $8,595,000 in settlements involving the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office for deadly force and civil rights violations. It appears to be a question of not if but when the BCSO will get hit with another use of deadly force case unless the department does a major review of its practices and training and as Sheriff Gonzales moves on and his term expires in 2022.

The very last thing the city needs as Mayor of Albuquerque is one who only “answers to the people who voted” him into office. Gonzales does not realize a Mayor must represent virtually everyone who lives in the city, the good, the bad, Democrats, Republicans and Independents and even those who do not vote for him or dislike him.

Frankly, there are too many reasons a Mayor Manny Gonzales would be a disaster as Mayor. You do not replace one disaster with another disaster.

Four Seek Public Finance For Mayor, Two Seek Public Finance For City Council; “Elementary My Dear Watson” Who Two Measured Finance Committees Will Be Raising Money And Promoting For Mayor

Saturday, April 17 was the first day that candidates for Mayor and City Council seeking public financing were allowed to start circulating nominating petitions for signatures and allowed to solicit the $5.00 qualifying donations for public financing. The commencement time for privately finance candidates to collect nominating petition signatures for Mayor is June 8 and for City Council it is July 6.

According to the City Clerks web site, there are 4 candidates for Mayor, 2 candidates for the District 9 City Council position and 1 candidate for the District 7 City Council position seeking public finance. The District 9 city council seat is being vacated by 4 term Republican City Councilor Don Harris. Two term District 7 City Councilor Diane Gibson is saying privately she is not running but has not yet made any announcement .

There are 3 city council districts where no incumbent and no candidates are seeking public finance at least thus far but that is expected to change. Public finance candidates for Mayor and City Council are required to agree to a spending cap in writing and are prohibited from soliciting and asking for any other donations.

According to the City Clerk’s web site, there are two measured finance committees that have been established, both ostensibly organized to promote law enforcement, to address public safety and to support candidates. Given the treasurers listed and alternative contacts, it can be deducted who those measured finance committees will be supporting and promoting for Mayor.

The link to the city web site is here:

https://www.cabq.gov/vote/candidate-information/2021-candidates

CANDIDATES FOR MAYOR

The 4 candidates for Mayor listed in the order of appearance are:

1. NICHOLAS BEVINS: According to news reports, Bevins is a 25-year-old grassroots activist and Bernie Sanders for President 2020 campaign organizer. Bevins said that he is “running out of a sense of urgency for my generation and future generations who face countless threats such as climate change and economic inequality which are going unaddressed.” Listed as Bivens Treasurer is Verland Coker. Mr. Coker’s FACEBOOK page reflects that he is “community and student advocate” and “politician”.

https://www.facebook.com/APSVerlandCoker

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/albuquerque-mayoral-race-starting-to-take-shape/6050304/

2. MANUEL GONZALES, III: Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III was sworn into office on January 1st 2015. He is a two term Bernalillo County Sheriff who is term limited and whose term as Sheriff ends January 1, 2023. Listed as the Treasurer for the Gonzales Campaign is Dolores Gonzales-Limon, his wife.

http://www.bernalillocountysheriff.com/bernalillo-county-sheriff/sheriff-manuel-gonzales-iii.aspx

3. TIM KELLER: Mayor Keller is seeking a second 4-year term. He is a former State Senator and former NM State Treasurer.

https://www.cabq.gov/mayor/about-mayor-timothy-m-keller-and-first-lady-elizabeth-j-kistin-keller-phd-sb

Andrea Plaza is listed as the Treasurer for the Keller Campaign. According to a GOOGLE search Andrea Plaza is founder and executive director of Encuentro, a non-profit that provides services to immigrants. She is a 25 year resident of New Mexico with roots in Colombia by way of North Carolina. Her professional background includes working with immigrant women in the field of microenterprise development and educational and asset building programs for immigrant families.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1300585/one-on-one-with-andrea-plaza.html

Listed as an “alternate contact” for the Keller campaign is progressive political consultant Neri Holguin who is a well-known, very progressive consultant who progressive candidates go to manage their campaigns. Holguin is the campaign manager for Keller’s re-election bid. She has clientele all over the state. Holguin is the principal of “Holguin Campaigns and Communications”. Her web page includes the listing of the following clientele:

Isaac Benton, Albuquerque City Council, District 2 , 2019 campaign.
Isaac Benton, Albuquerque City Council, District 2 , 2013 campaign.
Pat Davis, Albuquerque City Council, District 6, 2019 campaign.
ABQ Forward Together MFC, PAC supporting Tim Keller for Mayor, 2018
Tim Keller, State Senate District 17 , General Election campaign 2012

A link to the clientele of list of “Holguin Campaigns and Communications” is here:

http://www.neriholguin.com/clients/

Neri Holguin was the chairperson “ABQ Forward Together”, the progressive measured finance committee that was formed specifically to raise money to promote progressive Tim Keller for Mayor in 2017. “ABQ Forward Together” raised over $663,000 for Keller’s 2017 bid for Mayor as Keller qualified for public financing and given $340,000 for his 2017 campaign for Mayor. In 2009, Neri Holguin was the campaign manager for former State Senator Richard Romero against then Mayor Marty Chavez and RJ Berry. Many believe within the Democratic Party that Romero split the Democratic vote with Chavez resulting in the election of Mayor Richard Berry. The link to a detail blog article on the 2017 election is here:

https://www.petedinelli.com/2017/11/13/tim-kellers-1-3-million-campaign-for-mayor/

It is more likely than not Mayor Keller will also be relying upon his longtime political consultant Alan Packman to advise him and consult as was the case in 2017. Packman is currently working for the city as an at will employee earning upwards of $80,000 a year and can only work on Keller’s re election by taking annual leave during the work day or taking a leave of absence.

4. PATRICK BEN SAIS: No information can be found on Sais running for Mayor other than being listed as a candidate for Mayor seeking public financing. City Clerk records list a woman by the name of Jacqueline Elizabeth Molina as the Treasurer for the Sais campaign. No other information on Ms. Molina can be located.

MAYOR NOMINATING PETION SIGNATURE PERIOD AND PUBLIC FINANCE DONATIONS

Due to COVID-19, new procedures that allow the candidates to collect signatures online, while also permitting them to still gather them in person, have been implemented. The City Clerk’s office has created a new website, in collaboration with New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, that will use the Secretary of State’s voter registration database for verification purposes before allowing a signature. The clerk’s office has also established a second website that allows voters to make $5 contributions for candidates seeking public financing.” Both of the city’s web sites is a huge difference and should make things a lot easier, but only time will tell.

The city website to sign a petition for a candidate is here:

https://petitions.cabq.gov/

The City Clerk webs site to make a $5.00 qualifying donation is here:

https://cleancampaign.cabq.gov/

Candidates will be available and listed on the two sites as follows:

Publicly Financed Mayoral Candidates: April 17 – June 19
Publicly Financed City Council Candidates: May 31 – July 5

Privately Financed Mayoral Candidates: June 8 – August 10
Privately Financed City Council Candidates: July 6 – August 10

From April 17 to June 19, 2021, publicly financed candidates for Mayor must gather both 3,000 signatures from registered voters within the City and the $5.00 qualifying donations. Each name and signature on the nominating petition is reviewed and compared to the voter registration rolls. If the person who has signed the petition name is not on the voter registration rolls, it is disqualified. Therefore, far more than 3,000 signatures are needed to take into account disqualified signatures. Consequently, as many signatures above the 3,000 requirement is recommended for a “buffer” in order to ensure the minimum number of nominating signatures are secured.

From April 17 to June 19, 2021, or 64 days, is also the only time allowed to collect 3,779 qualifying donations of $5.00 for public financing of $660,000. The $5.00 donations are made directly to the City and the $5.00 donations must come from only registered city of Albuquerque city voters. In order to collect 3,779 qualifying donations over the 64 days allotted, a candidate’s campaign must collect at least 59 donations a day plus 3 more.

(64 collection days X 59 donation collected each day = 3,776 + 3 more donations = 3,779 required donations from registered city voters).

Collecting any amount of a donation to the City for a candidate sounds a lot easier than it really is, but the web sites should help.

None of the donations can come from those who do not reside within the city limits nor come from any one not a resident of the city. In 2017, there were 8 candidates for Mayor with only Tim Keller qualifying.

LATER TIMES FOR PRIVATELY FINANCE CANDIDATES FOR MAYOR

The time for privately financed candidates for Mayor to collect signatures is much later from publicly finance candidates. That time is from June 8 to August 10, 2021. Privately Finance Candidates for Mayor must also gather 3,000 signatures from registered voters within the City.

Privately financed candidates have no fundraising or spending limits. Privately financed candidates can raise and are free to accept campaign contributions from whatever legal source they want including contributions from individuals, businesses and corporations within the city, county, state or out of state and there is no city voter registration required.

There is no limit on what privately financed candidates can spend on their campaigns. However, there are limits on individual contributions privately financed candidates can accept from donors. Specifically, Article XIII, Section 4(e) limits the total contributions from any one person, with the only exception being the candidates themselves, and the private contribution cannot exceed 5% of the salary of the elected official at the time of filing the Declaration of Candidacy.
You can find the timeframes here:

http://www.cabq.gov/vote/candidate-information/privately-financed-candidates

CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES

On the November ballot this year will be the 5 odd numbered city council districts of the 9 city council seats. The council seats up for election are City Council seats 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. The time frame for City Council candidates to collect nominating petition signatures and $5.00 qualifying donations for public finance is different than those seeking the Office of mayor.

The City Council incumbents are as follows:

District City Councilor Lan Sena (Democrat): She represents Albuquerque’s Central West Side. She was appointed to the City Council in March 2020, by Mayor Tim Keller. Sources are saying she is running for a full term, but she has not as yet been listed by the City Clerk as seeking public finance.

District 3 City Councilor Klarissa Peña (Democrat): She represents the southwest part of Albuquerque. She was elected to the City Council in October, 2013. Sources are saying she is running for another 4-year term, but she has not as yet been listed by the City Clerk as seeking public finance.

District 5: City Councilor Cynthia D. Borrego (Democrat): She represents the Northwest part of Albuquerque. She was elected to City Council in November 2017. Councilor Borrego is the current President of the City Council and sources are saying she is running for a second 4-year term but she has not as yet been listed by the City Clerk as seeking public finance.

District 7 City Councilor Diane Gibson (Democrat): She represents Albuquerque’s mid-heights including uptown and parts of the near northeast heights. She was elected to the City Council in October 2013. Councilor Gibson is the Vice President of the City Council and sources are saying she is NOT running for a second term but that could change.

District 9: On February 27, City Councilor Don Harris (Republican), first elected to the City Council in 2005, announced he is not running for another term (as if anyone knew he has been on the council for 14 years). District 9 is the far Southeast Heights and Foothills.

https://www.abqjournal.com/2362329/harris-will-not-seek-fifth-city-council-term.html

DISTRICT 7

Thus far, the City Clerk’s Offices lists only one candidate running for City Council in City Council District 7, but that is likely to change with one more rumored to be running. The city clerk lists Tammy Fiebelkorn as running for the postion.

Tammy Fiebelkorn has been active in the energy industry since 1994. Currently, Ms. Fiebelkorn is the President of eSolved, Inc., an energy and environmental consulting firm. She manages alternative fuel, air quality and outreach projects for clients throughout the U.S. Areas of specialization for Ms. Fiebelkorn include project planning, economic and environmental analysis, project funding, legislative analysis and lobbying and financial management. Nancy Arenas is listed as the Treasurer, but no further information is available.

http://e-solved.com/fiebelkorn.shtml

Eli Il Yong Lee is listed as an “alternate” contact for the Fiebelkorn campaign. Eli Il Yong Lee is a well-known progressive political consultant and former Executive Director of the Center for Civic Policy. He is a former board member of the State of New Mexico Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. Commission, appointed by Governor Bill Richardson and has years of experience in issues related to elections, redistricting and ethics, and has worked on efforts to pass the “Open and Ethical Elections Code”.

https://www.cabq.gov/council/documents/charter-review-task-force/eli_il_yong_lee.pdf

DISTRICT 9

Thus far, the City Clerk’s Offices lists 2 candidates running for City Council in City Council District 9, one as a public finance candidate and one as a privately finance candidate. The 2 candidates are:

1. ANDREW LIPMAN: Andrew Lipman has resided in Albuquerque for the last 28 years. According to his campaign web page, he has “been a community activist, philanthropist, and organizer in Albuquerque’s City Council District 9 for nearly three decades. He currently is a member of the Urban Enhancement Trust Fund Committee, representing District 9 and prior to that served as Government Affairs Director for the Four Hills Village Association for three years. He is a board member of the East Gateway Coalition of Associations. He and his wife currently reside in Four Hills Village. The city clerk lists Charley Rhodes as the Treasurer and lists Garrett Swensen as an alternate contact for the campaign. No confirmed information could be found regarding Mr. Swenson nor Mr. Rhodes.

https://www.andrewforabq.com/

2. BYRON K POWDRELL: Mr. Powdrell ran 4 years ago for city council in a 3 person race. He is was born and raised in Albuquerque and he is a member of the well-known Powdrell family, the son of Willie Powdrell and related to the owner’s of Powdrell’s Bar be Que. Mr. Powdrell is the owner and manager of 99.9 The Beat LPFM, Albuquerque’s first successful non-profit, low power radio station.

Carlos McMahon is listed as the Treasurer for the Powdrell campaign. Mr. McMahon is a retired State of New Mexico Private Investigator and owner of the McMahon Agency, a private investigations firm also known as McMahon Private Investigations, LLC.

PUBLIC FINANCE CANDIDATES FOR CITY COUNCIL

From May 31 to July 5, 2021, publicly financed candidates for City Council must gather 500 qualifying signatures from registered voters within the district the candidate wishes to represent. From May 31 to July 5, 2021, or approximately 4 weeks, publicly finance candidates for City Council can collect the $5.00 donations. There are varying number of $5.00 donations for each council district.

PRIVATELY FINANCED CANDIDATES FOR CITY COUNCIL NOMINATING SIGNATURES

The time for privately financed candidates for City Council to collect signatures is from July 6 to August 10, 2021. Privately Financed Candidates for City Council must gather at least 500 signatures from registered voters within the district the candidate wishes to represent.

Privately financed candidates have no fundraising or spending limits. Privately financed candidates can raise and are free to accept campaign contributions from whatever legal source they want including contributions from individuals, businesses and corporations within the city, county, state or out of state and there is no city voter registration required.

There is no limit on what privately financed candidates can spend on their campaigns. However, there are limits on individual contributions privately financed candidates can accept from donors. Specifically, Article XIII, Section 4(e) limits the total contributions from any one person, with the only exception being the candidates themselves, and the private contribution cannot exceed 5% of the salary of the elected official at the time of filing the Declaration of Candidacy.

You can find the timeframes here:

http://www.cabq.gov/vote/candidate-information/privately-financed-candidates

2021 ELECTION MEASURED FINANCE COMMITTEES

Under the City of Albuquerque’s campaign finance laws, a Measure Finance Committee is a political action committee (PAC), person or group that supports or opposes a candidate or ballot measure within the City of Albuquerque. Measure Finance Committees are required to register with the City Clerk within five (5) days once they have raised or spent more than $250 towards their purpose.

All Measure Finance Committees must register with the Albuquerque City Clerk, regardless of the group’s registration as a political action committee (PAC) with another governmental entity, county, state or federal. Measure finance committees are allowed to commence fundraising at anytime but are required file financial statements and limits on donations are provided by law.

Measure finance committees are not bound by the individual contribution limits and business bans like candidates. However, a Measure Finance Committee that receives aggregate contributions more than 30% of the Mayor’s salary from one individual or entity, must incorporate the donor’s name into the name of the committee. No Measure Finance Committee is supposed to coordinate their activities with the individual candidates running for office, but this is a very gray area as to what constitutes coordination of activities and it is difficult to enforce.

“ELEMENTARY MY DEAR WATSON”

According to City Clerk records, 2 measured finance committees have been formed for the 2021 municipal election. It does not take Sherlock Holmes to figure who the 2 measured finance committees will be promoting and spending money on his behalf as well as the influence they will have if he is elected Mayor. The names and purposes stated as well as contacts and treasurers lead directly to Sherriff Manny Gonzales. Those measured finance committees and their purpose are listed as follows:

1. RETIRED LAW ENFORCEMENT FOR A BETTER ALBUQUERQUE

STATED PURPOSE: “SUPPORT ALBUQUERQUE MAYORAL CANDIDATE WHO WILL IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR IT’S CITIZENS AS WELL AS OPPOSE CANDIDATES THAT ARE DETRIMENTAL TO THE FUTURE GROWTH AND SAFETY OF ALBUQUERQUE”.

The chairperson of the “Retired Law Enforcement for a Better Albuquerque is Jason Katz and the Treasurer is listed as Sistine Jaramillo. Upon information and belief, Jason Katz is a former and retired Chief Deputy of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and is a longtime supporter and has worked for Gonzales. No background information could be located on Sistine Jaramillo.

2. SAVE OUR CITY

STATED PURPOSE: TO ADDRESS THE SERIOUS CRIME AND LEADERSHIP PROBLEM IN ALBUQUERQUE

The Chairperson of “Save Our City” is Sam Vigil and the Treasurer is Republican State Representative Bill Rehm.

SAM VIGIL

Sam Vigil is the husband Jacquiline Vigil who was gun down in her car backing out of the family home driveway in the early morning hours as she was leaving for the gym. She is the mother of 2 state police officers. The main suspect in Jacqueline Vigil’s murder is Luis Talamantes-Romero, was a known criminal who was in this country illegally. On January 22, 2021, it was reported that Sam Vigil filed a lawsuit blaming the city’s immigrant friendly, or sanctuary city ordinance, for APD officers not acting sooner to make an arrest potentially preventing the murder of Jacqueline Vigil. Sam Vigil also traveled to the White House last summer to attended a press conference along with Sheriff Manny Gonzales to support President Trump’s funding of law enforcement. Vigil also spoke at the 2020 Republican Convention that nominated Donald Trump.

Vigil said in an interview with the Albuquerque Journal that he is scared of Albuquerque crime, and “something has to be done.” He said he views Mayor Keller as the “leadership problem” and that unless Keller makes dramatic policy changes, Vigil sees unseating the mayor as the committee’s central purpose and said:

“I haven’t talked to the rest of the committee, but that’s my personal preference right now.”

https://www.abqjournal.com/2381547/vigil-forms-political-action-committee-to-defeat-keller.html

BILL REHM

Republican New Mexico State Representative Bill Rehm, District 31, Bernalillo County, has been a State Representative since 2006. Rehm retired in 2000 from BCSO Sheriff’s office as Captain. Rehm is considered a reliable conservative supporter of law enforcement efforts in the New Mexico Legislature. When asked by the Albuquerque Journal the things he would propose to address the state’s high crime rate he said he has proposed and sponsored legislation increasing the penalty for felons possessing firearms and those using a firearm in the commission of a crime and a 3-strikes legislation to give life sentence to criminals who injured or kill three different times. He also said we must increase mental health reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) preventing gun purchases. When it comes to crime he has said the courts must end the “catch and release of felons.” Rehm opposes the legalization of recreational marijuana, opposes New Mexico becoming a “sanctuary state” and supports “right to work” legislation. Representative Rehm is a member of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, the Courts, Corrections & Justice Committee, and the Criminal Justice Reform Committee.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1169433/nm-house-district-31-candidate-bill-rehm.html

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

Keller and Gonzales will likely qualify for the $661,309.25 in public finance by collecting 3,779 qualifying $5 donations made to the city by registered voters. The same cannot be said for Mayor candidates Nicholas Bevins and Patrick Ben Sais given the extreme difficulty it takes to collect that many $5 donations unless you have hundreds of dedicated supporters. In order to collect 3,779 qualifying donations over the 64 days allotted, a candidate’s campaign must collect at least 59 donations a day plus 3 more.

(64 collection days X 59 donations a day + 3 = 3,779)

If Bevins and Sais fail to collected the 3,779 qualifying donations of $5.00 for public financing of $660,000, they can always revert to and elect to private financing. They are still required to collect the 3,000 in nominating petition signatures.

LESSON LEARNED FROM KELLER

Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales has torn out a page from Tim Keller’s 2017 campaign for Mayor by seeking public finance and later relying on measured finance committees to raise more money and to promote his candidacy. It’s a warped and very misleading approach to campaign financing that undercuts the spirit and intent of the city’s campaign finance system. The problem is that reliance on measured finance committees is perfectly legal and one perfected by Tim Keller when he ran for Mayor the first time in 2017.

During the 2017 race for Mayor, Tim Keller was the only candidate out of 8 candidates that was able to secure public financing. In 2017, Keller was given $342,952 by the City in public finance in exchange for agreeing not to spend or raise and spend anymore. Keller made a big deal out of going the public finance road to run for Mayor saying he was opposed to dark money and collecting large donations for campaigns thereby being indebted to donors. Keller even went so far as to brag that by accepting public finance he was “walking the talk.”

The truth was, Keller’s public finance campaign was underwritten by at least 3 “measured finance committees” that raised thousands of dollars to promote Keller for Mayor. Keller did not discourage it but mislead the public when he said he was “walking the talk”.

“ABQ Forward Together” was the progressive measured finance committee that was formed specifically to raise money to promote progressive Tim Keller for Mayor. The measured finance committee chairperson was Neri Olguin a former campaign manager of Tim Keller’s when he successfully ran for State Senate and who is now an alternate contact for the 2021 Keller campaign. “ABQ Forward Together” raised over $663,000 for Keller’s 2017 bid for Mayor. The amount included cash donations or in-kind donations from the Working Families Party, Ole and the Center for Civic Action.

During the 2017 Mayor’s race, Keller received significant support in one form or another from the progressive organizations of OLÉ of New Mexico, the New Mexico Working Families Party, and Progress Now New Mexico. All 3 organizations or their membership in one form or another became very involved with the 2017 Albuquerque Mayor’s race.

When it was all said and done, a total of $1,358,254 was actually spent on Tim Keller’s 2017 successful campaign for Mayor. According to City Campaign finance reports, Keller was given $506,254 public finance money, $663,000 was raised by the measured finance committee ABQ Forward for Keller, $67,000 was spent by ABQFIREPAC on Keller’s behalf and $122,000 was spent by ABQ Working Families for Keller for a total of $1,358,254.

According to the city’s public finance laws, public finance candidates are given $1.75 cents per voter for regular elections and from 60 cents for runoff elections. In the 2021 municipal election, candidates for Mayor who qualify for public finance will be given $661,309.25. If the Mayoral candidate makes it into the runoff, they are given an additional 60 cents per registered voter.

GONZALES’S SHORTCOMINGS

Sherriff Manny Gonzales has never been involved in a high-profile race such as Mayor of Albuquerque that will require hundreds of thousands of dollars to run an effective campaign. His only hope is to qualify for public finance. The Sherriff Gonzales may have been elected twice by comfortable margins, but running for Mayor rather than Bernalillo County Sheriff is dramatically different as is the fund raising required. The measured finance committees may not be as successful as they hope to be all because of the candidate himself and his serious shortcomings.

No Bernalillo County Sheriff has gone onto to higher office. Gonzales brings to the table his law enforcement credentials, but that’s it. He is well-known for his opposition to civilian oversight and inability to work with other elected officials, often being at odds with the County Commission and the District Attorney’s Office. As mayor, Manny Gonzales will not listen to nor work with the City Council, let alone respect the Police Oversight Board and the Community Policing Councils. Gonzales is a throwback to the way law enforcement was many years ago before the Black Lives movement. He failed to keep up with the times by implementing constitutional policing practices within BCSO. He opposes many of the DOJ reforms. When Gonzales says, “I answer to the people who voted me into office,” he is saying he answers only to those who support him.

KELLER’S SHORTCOMINGS

Initially, there was no doubt amongst political city hall observers that Mayor Tim Keller would once again count on measured finance committees to raise him millions more and promote his candidacy as he did 4 years ago. Thus far, there are no measured finance committees organized for the promotion and the reelection of Mayor Tim Keller. There is good reason to believe none will be established. Those reasons include:

First: “ABQ Forward Together” raised over $663,000 for Keller’s 2017 bid for Mayor. At that time political consultant Neri Olguin was the chairperson of “ABQ Forward Together”. In 2021, Olguin is now identified as an “alternative contact” and campaign manager for the Mayor Keller campaign and as such she cannot chair a measured finance committee to raise and spend money for Keller’s promotion.

Second: In 2017, $122,000 was spent by ABQ Working Families, an affiliate of the New Mexico Working Family’ Party, for Keller. In 2017, Keller’s close political ally Eric Griego, a former city councilor and former state senator, was the state director of the Working Families Party. It has been reported within the last few weeks that Eric Griego has resigned from his position with the Working Family’s Party.

Third: Tim Keller now has a record he must run on and defend. It’s Keller’s record that likely will not generate the same enthusiasm progressive organizations had for him and that raised money to promote him. Keller’s accomplishments have been less than stellar. The city’s high murder rate is rising even further. There will be more violent crime during the hot summer as people break out of quarantine as things return to normal. Keller has not come close to the change he promised in 2017. After being elected, Keller signed a tax increase after promising not to raise taxes without a public vote.

Keller failed to make the sweeping changes to the Albuquerque Police Department, and his promised implementation of the DOJ reforms stalled so much that he fired his first chief. Keller has appointed Harold Medina – who has a nefarious past with the use of deadly force against two people suffering from psychotic episodes – permanent chief. Keller is not even close to reaching the 1,200 sworn police officers promised nor to community-based policing. Keller’s promise to bring down violent crime never materialized and four programs to bring down violent crime have failed. For three years, murders have hit an all-time record, with many still unsolved.

MEASURED FINANCE COMMITTEES WARP ELECTION PROCESS

The fact that measure finance committees are not bound by the individual contribution limits and business bans like candidates is what makes them a major threat to warping and influencing our municipal elections and the outcome. Any Measure Finance Committee can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money and can produce negative ads to destroy any candidate’s reputation and candidacy.

The influence of big money in elections allowed by the US Supreme Court decision Citizens United is destroying our democracy. Political campaign fundraising and big money influence are warping our election process. Money spent becomes equated with the final vote.

Money drives the message, affects voter turnout and ultimately the outcome. It is disingenuous for any public finance candidate to secure taxpayer money first to run their campaigns, agree in writing to a spending cap, and then have their political operatives or supporters solicit or create a measure finance committee to help them get elected and spend massive amounts of money to give them an unfair advantage in the first election and then the runoff.

Voters need to follow the money and demand to know where the outside money known as “dark money” is coming from for any Measure Finance Committee and find out exactly who is trying to influence the election for the candidates. Voters need to beware of the candidates and their political consultants who are seeking help from measured finance committees to be fully informed as to who they are indebted to once they have been elected.

FINAL COMMENT

The city is facing any number of problems that are bringing it to its knees. Those problems include the corona virus pandemic, business closures, high unemployment rates, exceptionally high violent crime and murders rates, continuing mismanagement of the Albuquerque Police Department, failed implementation of the Department of Justice reforms after a full 6 years and millions spent, declining revenues and gross receipts tax, high unemployment rates, persistent and increasing homeless numbers, a lack of mental health and counseling programs and very little economic development, just to mention a few.

The city can go no longer afford to elect a Mayor and City Council based upon promises and nothing but eternal hope for better times and for a better future. What is needed are elected officials that actually know what they are doing and will make the hard decisions without their eye on the next election or to placate their base. It is hoped that there will be more than just one candidate opposing all the incumbents. What is needed is a healthy debate on solutions and new ideas to solve our mutual problems. Such a debate can only happen with contested elections.

It is hoped far more candidates who truly care about the city will run for Mayor and City Council with far more than just one or two making the ballot and qualifying for public finance.

A link to a related blog article is here:

2021 Election For Mayor And City Council Starts March 1; 3,000 Petition Signatures For Mayor, 500 Signatures For City Council; $661,309 Public Finance For Mayor And $40,000 To $50,000 For Council; City Hall Jobs At Stake; Measured Finance Committees Will Warp 2021 Municipal

Headlines, News Stories And Editorials To Give Mayor Keller And Sheriff Gonzales Nightmares As The Lesser Of Two Evils Run For Mayor

On Thursday, the Albuquerque Journal published on its front page a story written by Journal staff reporter Matthew Reisen with the banner headline: “Killings Albuquerque Nearly Double”. Following the most relevant portions of the article along with the link to the full article:

“The Albuquerque Police Department has investigated 34 homicides this year – almost twice as many as the city had at this point in each of the past two years.

By this time in both 2020 and 2019, there were 19 killings. APD ended up with 77 homicides in 2020 and a record 80 in 2019.

Homicides often ebb and flow during the year, usually spiking in warmer months. But the first four months of 2021 have seen the highest total in the past seven years.

The next highest count was in 2018, when there were 21 homicides by mid-April.

Of the 34 homicides, APD has made an arrest in six cases and filed an arrest warrant for 15-year-old Josef Toney in the double homicide of two women.

APD Chief Harold Medina said not much has changed in the department’s focus on homicides since January, when Medina held a briefing after 14 people were killed in Albuquerque during that month – including two double homicides.

“We’re very concerned. We want to see a reduction, but we also know we’re in the midst of a pandemic, and it’s a real tangible item we’re seeing nationwide that there’s an increase in homicides,” he said. “I would hope that we could be the exception – as a chief I don’t like to see it.”

Medina said the department is trying to be proactive by targeting specific areas, looking to beef up drug and gang units, and trying to prevent those known to be involved in illegal activity from becoming homicide victims or suspects.”

The link to the full Albuquerque Journal article is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2380171/year-to-date-homicides-up-significantly.html

CHANNEL 7 NEWS REPORT

On April 17, Channel 7 news reported in part with the headline:

“ABQ murder rate continues to climb in record cases”

“The homicide rate in Albuquerque continues to climb, as police are investigating another apparent murder in the city Thursday night.
When it comes to violent crime, APD says Montgomery is getting hit especially hard, with multiple homicides since January and multiple shootings. The department is now having more officers in the area, working with residents to try and teach them crime prevention tips, and target violent suspects.

The city is on its way to the highest murder rate in history. So far this year, there have been at least 35 homicides.”

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/abq-murder-rate-continues-to-climb-in-record-cases/ar-BB1fJHcG

APD OFFICERS QUITE THE EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM

On April 14, it was reported that more than a dozen APD officers quit the Emergency Response Team (ERT) following a counter protest over the weekend. Seventeen officers, one lieutenant, and two sergeants resigned from the team that handles protests. All the resignations stem from the protest that happened on Civic Plaza over the weekend. During the protest, officers said an armed man was taunting demonstrators, so APD field officers detained him. At the time of his detainment, the man was not charged. APD officials later reversed that decision, and put an officer on leave for the day to conduct an investigation. APD said there was a breakdown in the chain of command about whether charges would be pressed against the armed man. The officers who resigned from the ERT did not resign from being an officer at the department.

Shaun Willoughby, president of the Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association had this to say about the 17 resignations:

“This comes down to a lack of trust. … [Police] don’t feel supported here, and they don’t feel trust. They feel second guessed, and they don’t feel that they can do their job, no matter how perfect they do their job, without getting in trouble. I think Mayor Keller needs to make a serious decision of what this police department’s priority structure is. … I think that he needs to carry that sentiment down to the police chief, so that your police officers feel supported. … We are seeing a dramatic increase of Albuquerque police officers applying to go to other departments. …Morale, let’s not even talk about it because it doesn’t exist. There is no morale. Your Albuquerque police officers are absolutely miserable at work— nobody’s happy.”

Aside from the Emergency Response Team, Willoughby said many people have left the department altogether. Around 20 officers have quit over the last two months.

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/more-than-a-dozen-apd-officers-resign-from-emergency-response-team-following-weekend-protest/6075665/?cat=500

https://www.abqjournal.com/2380553/officers-leave-emergency-response-team-after-sundays-protest.html

KIM JEW PHOTOGRAPHY BREAKINS

It was reported that very prominent Kim Jew Photography was twice the victim of commercial burglary. According to news reports, the company has installed security cameras. Video evidence of the April 5 break-in revealed a man broke into the studio and carried off money, $6,000 worth of camera equipment and priceless memory cards of people photographed. As a result of a crime stoppers tip, the name of a suspect, his address and a license plate of his car in front of his house was secured and given to Kim Jew, the owner. When Kim Jew tried to contact the APD officers who took the report to give them additional information, he was told they were off. He had no way to contact them except through an email. After well over a week, one finally contacted Kim Jew. Notwithstanding, the case was turned over to an impact team and no arrests were made and the APD sat on the case.

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/albuquerque-photography-studio-experiences-second-break-in-in-a-week/6075583/

JOURNAL EDITORIAL

On April 15, the Albuquerque Journal published an editorial entitled: “A picture perfect reason ABQ crime is out of control”. The editorial said in part:

APD is still short-handed and operating under a difficult oversight agreement. Substance abuse does drive crime. But that doesn’t change the bottom line. When Tim Keller campaigned for mayor, he said crime was issue No. 1. and it is the mayor’s job to get it under control. And while violent crime is up, APD Chief Harold Medina says property crime has fallen.

But you couldn’t prove it by the Kim Jew break-in, APD’s response and the repeated police no-shows in cases involving this suspect. If we really want to get a handle on crime, APD and the criminal justice system need to do a whole lot better.

The link to the full editorial is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2380237/a-pictureperfect-reason-abq-crime-is-just-out-of-control.html?paperboy=loggedin630am

BERNALILLO COUNTY SHERIFFS’ OFFICE FAILS TO REPORT TO FBI

On April 8, the Albuquerque Journal published on its front page a story written by Journal staff reporter Matthew Reisen with the banner headline “BCSO has been silent about this year’s homicides.” It was reported that BCSO waited until the week of April 5 to report on the 2 homicides that occurred in the county and being investigated by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office. Further, the BCSO waited until April to report that the December 2020 death of Francine Gonzales, 36, on the West Side was ruled a homicide after an autopsy in late March.

The link to the full report is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/2377985/sheriffs-office-was-mum-on-2021-homicides.html

According to the Journal report, in previous years, including 2020, BCSO regularly sent out email and Twitter alerts when BCSO detectives opened a homicide investigation. BCSO usually gave details on the incident and solicited tips from the public. Until April 7, BCSO had been silent on the 2021 cases, yet increased email and Twitter notifications for warrant roundup operations and “repeat offender” arrests often criticizing the actions of courts for previously releasing the suspects.

BCSO Transparency and Public Information Coordinator Jayme Fuller explained the delay in reporting on the 2 homicides as not always told about homicides, or other incidents, until reporters ask about them and they confirm them with supervisors.

The most troubling fact in the Journal report was glossed over. Buried in the article is the statement:

Last year, BCSO’s crime statistics were not included in the annual FBI report because the agency didn’t meet the March deadline to report them, and they couldn’t be certified in time.”

The problem is that the yearly FBI statistics are the best measure as to performance measures of BCSO. Further, Bernalillo County and BCSO rely upon those statistics to secure federal grant funding.

JOURNAL EDITORIAL

On April 13, the Albuquerque Journal published an editorial making its displeasure known over BCSO withholding information on the 2 homicides with the editorial headline reading “BCSO is wrong to sit on homicide info for months”. The editorial reads in part:

“The Albuquerque Police Department and N.M. State Police investigate many more homicides; each alert the public and media within hours. That’s how it should be. Waiting months to notify the public about a couple of bodies an agency found is unacceptable and raises the specter of what else is BCSO sitting on? Mayoral prospect Sheriff Manuel Gonzales should understand the public’s high interest in crime in their communities and correct this shortcoming. BCSO needs to treat the public as a partner, not an afterthought or worse, an enemy.”

https://www.abqjournal.com/2379466/bcso-is-wrong-to-sit-on-homicide-info-for-months.html

ABQ’S CRIME STATISTICS IN A NUTSHELL FOR 3 YEARS

In 2020, FBI statistics reveal that Albuquerque has the dubious distinction of having a crime rate about 194% higher than the national average.

A synopsis of the statics during Mayor Tim Keller’s 3 years in office is in order.

HOMICIDES

In 2018, during Mayor Keller’s first full year in office, there were 69 homicides.

In 2019, during Mayor Keller’s second full year in office, there were 82 homicides.

In 2020, there were 76 homicides in Albuquerque.

As April, 14 2021, there have been 34 homicides in the city, another record.

https://www.abqjournal.com/2366213/police-investigating-homicide-at-sunport.html

EDITOR’S NOTE: Albuquerque had more homicides in 2019 than in any other year in the city’s history. The previous high was 72, in 2017 under Mayor RJ Berry. Another high mark was in 1996, when the city had 70 homicides.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1405615/apd-reports-record-82-homicides-for-2019.html#:~:text=Gilbert%20Gallegos%2C%20a%20police%20spokesman,high%20was%2072%2C%20in%202017.

HOMICIDE CLEARANCE RATES

For the past two years during Mayor Keller’s tenure, the homicide clearance percentage rate has been in the 50%-60% range. According to the proposed 2018-2019 APD City Budget, in 2016 the APD homicide clearance rate was 80%. In 2017, under Mayor Berry the clearance rate was 70%. In 2018, the first year of Keller’s term, the homicide clearance rate was 56%. In 2019, the second year of Keller’s term, the homicide clearance rate was 52.5%, the lowest clearance rate in the last decade. In 2020, the APD homicide clearance rate continued to deteriorate was less than 50%.

VIOLENT CRIMES

In 2017, during Mayor RJ Berry’s last full year in office, there were 7,686 violent crimes. There were 4,213 Aggravated Assaults and 470 Non-Fatal Shootings.
In 2018 during Mayor Keller’ first full year in office, there were 6,789 violent crimes There were 3,885 Aggravated Assaults and 491 Non-Fatal Shootings.

https://www.petedinelli.com/2019/11/21/city-matches-homicide-record-high-of-72-murders-mayor-keller-forced-to-defend-policies-makes-more-promises-asks-for-more-money/

In 2019, the category of “Violent Crimes” was replaced with the category of “Crimes Against Persons” and the category includes homicide, human trafficking, kidnapping and assault. In 2019 during Keller’s second full year in office, Crimes Against Persons increased from 14,845 to 14,971, or a 1% increase. The Crimes Against Person category had the biggest rises in Aggravated Assaults increasing from 5,179 to 5,397.

In 2020 during Keller’s third full year in office, Crimes Against Persons went 2019: 14,971 in 2019 to 15,262 in 2020.

DRUG OFFENSES

“Crimes Against Society” include drug offenses, prostitution and animal cruelty.

In 2018 During Keller’s first full year in office, total Crimes Against Society were 3,365
In 2019 during Keller’s second full year in office, total Crimes Against Society increased to 3,711 for a total increase of 346 more crimes or a 9% increase.
In 2020 during Keller’s third full year in office Crimes Against Society, had 61% increase weapons law violations last year.

AUTO THEFTS

On June 26, 2019 the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released its annual list of cities with the most stolen vehicles reported. Despite a 28% reduction in auto thefts over a two-year period, Albuquerque ranked No. 1 in the nation for vehicle thefts per capita for the third year in a row.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimgorzelany/2019/06/27/these-are-the-cities-with-the-highest-car-theft-rates/#7c42e7d35146

911 EMERGENCY RESPONSE TIMES

In 2009, under Democrat Mayor Martin Chavez, the average 911 emergency response time to calls, whether it was a life-or-death emergency or a minor traffic crash was 8 minutes 50 seconds.
In 2011, under Republican Mayor RJ Berry the average response times to 911 emergency calls was 25 minutes.
In 2018 and 2019, under Democrat Mayor Tim Keller, the average response times to 911 emergency calls spiked to a full 48 minutes.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

These are the very type of headlines and statistics that no doubt give Mayor Tim Keller and Sheriff Manny Gonzales nightmares as they run against each other for Mayor. The comments by the President of the Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association also are clear evidence who the police union will likely be supporting for Mayor.

APD and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department have “concurrent jurisdiction” and both Keller and Gonzales have proclaimed they were taking action to curb violent crime. Keller has been Mayor 3 years and Gonzales has been Sheriff for 6 years. BCSO Sheriff Gonzales even did a number “sweep” actions in the SE Heights to make arrests and was 100% behind Führer Trump’s law enforcement policies. Both Keller’s and Gonzales’s initiatives and programs to bring down violent crime did very little to bring down the city’s high crime rates.

BCSO’s crime statistics not being included in the annual FBI report was likely no mistake. BCSO Sheriff Manny Gonzales has notified the City Clerk that he is running for Mayor. No doubt Gonzales wants to hide the statistics that show our out-of-control high crime rates are just as bad in the county as in the city.

The city is facing any number of problems that are bringing it to its knees. Those problems include the coronavirus pandemic, business closures, high unemployment rates, exceptionally high violent crime and murder rates, continuing mismanagement of the Albuquerque Police Department, failed implementation of the Department of Justice reforms after a full six years and millions spent, declining revenues and gross receipts tax, high unemployment rates, increasing homeless numbers, lack of mental health programs and little economic development.

The city cannot afford another mayor who makes promises and offers only eternal hope for better times that result in broken campaign promises. What is needed is a mayor who actually knows what they are doing, who will make the hard decisions without an eye on the next election, not make decisions only to placate their base and please only those who voted for them. What’s needed is a healthy debate on solutions and new ideas to solve our mutual problems, a debate that can happen only with a contested election. A highly contested race for mayor will reveal solutions to our problems. With Keller and Gonzales, we are faced with voting for the lesser of two evils, or not voting.”

At this point, city voters will have to decide between the lesser of two evils of Keller and Gonzales for Mayor. Frankly, the city needs far more candidates to run for Mayor, otherwise all we have to choose from is a lesser of two evils and just deciding not to vote.

A link to a related blog article is here:

Abq Journal Guest Column: “Abq Needs Choices for Mayor, Not lesser of 2 Evils”

APD’s “Operational Compliance” Will Not Be Achieved Until New Generation Of APD Management And Police Officer Takes Over; Court Can Dismiss Case On Its Own

For over the last 6 years, the City of Albuquerque and the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) have been struggling under a Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) to implement 271 reforms. The CASA was entered into after the Department Of Justice file suit alleging the APD had engaged in a pattern and course of conduct of excessive use of force and deadly force and a finding of a “culture of aggression” within APD.

On Friday, December 4, 2020 during an all-day status conference hearing on the 12th Compliance Audit Report of the APD reforms mandated by the CASA, it was revealed publicly for the first time that the City and the DOJ were negotiating a “stipulated order” for court approval that would create and External Force Investigations Team (EFIT).

STIPULATED ORDER APPROVED

On Friday, February 26, U.S. District Judge James Browning held a hearing and approved the Stipulated Order between the city and the DOJ to create the EFIT. According to the approved order, the city will hire a team of upwards 25 outside investigators and an Administrator. An EFIT investigator will accompany internal affairs detectives to all scenes where an APD officer uses force on a person that causes injury, hospitalization or death. The external investigators will be privy to all evidence, documents and investigative notes and will evaluate the quality of the internal investigator’s work and notify APD and attorneys if there are any deficiencies.

During the February 26 hearing, Paul Killebrew told the court the FISIT was necessary because after 6 years the police department is still not holding officers accountable for using force that is out of policy. Killebrew told Judge Browning:

“…[W]hat we have is a city that has failed to comply with that court order over and over and over again. It not an option right now to do nothing. If we sit back and wait, using all the tools that we have already been using, I don’t know why we would expect things to change on their own. The sense of the United States when we received the monitor’s report was that additional interventions were required.

When we read [the Independent Monitor’s 12th report], we believed that there were likely grounds for contempt, and that we could probably make a good case for a receivership, at least as it regards serious force investigations. This is essentially something short of a receivership, but far more extensive than what is occurring now. What we’re talking about is having external folks assisting Albuquerque investigators in each investigation to ensure that those investigations identify out-of-policy force and to ensure that there is a strong factual record available so that policy violations can be identified and that officers can be held accountable. That is simply a nonnegotiable term of the consent decree. We must have officers held accountable for out-of-policy force, and after six years, we cannot wait for that to happen any longer.”

COURT EXPLORES AUTHORITY TO DISMISS CASE

During the February 26 hearing, Judge Browning asked Assistant United States Attorney Paul Killebrew if the court had authority to dismiss the case if he wanted to in the following manner:

JUDGE BROWING:

“All right. The other question I have is that you have probably seen some of the calls from people to vacate this order. They want me to just toss this out because it’s such a bad idea, the consent decree. Two questions. Probably answer them at the same time. One is: Do I have any power to do that once the consent decree, the settlement, was entered in this case? And then B, even if it’s something that some people wanted, what are the chances of this consent decree being tossed out by me or anybody else in this case?”

MR. KILLEBREW:

“Good question, Your Honor. I think on the first question, of whether you have the authority to terminate the consent decree sua sponte [on its own], I think you do, because you have an ongoing obligation to ensure that this consent decree is fair, reasonable, adequate, and not the product of collusion. And I think if evidence came to light that this consent decree failed to meet those criteria, it would be reasonable for the Court at least to request briefing from the parties on those issues that you could make a considered ruling on it. I will say I don’t believe those grounds are present, and I believe the arguments that we made at the outset of this litigation for why the consent decree is fair, reasonable, and adequate and not the product of collusion still stand. So I would say that the chances of the Court terminating the consent decree on that basis should be low and are low. The other opportunity that the Court will have to terminate this consent decree will be once the City has met the terms of the decree, which requires coming into compliance with its requirements, and sustaining that compliance for two years, at which point the parties may seek termination.”

CASA REFORM COMPLIANCE PLACED INTO CONTEXT

The DOJ Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) was negotiated over a 6-month period after the DOJ released its investigation report finding that APD engaged in a “pattern and practice” of unconstitutional “use of force” and “deadly force.” It was on November 10, 2014 the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) was filed. The link to the full 106-page CASA containing 276 mandated reforms can be read here:

https://www.cabq.gov/mental-health-response-advisory-committee/documents/court-approved-settlement-agreement-final.pdf

The CASA was negotiated to be fully implemented over a 4-year period. It has now been over 6 full years. Under the CASA there are 3 compliance levels that must achieve a 95% compliance level and then maintained for a full 2 years before the case can be dismissed.

For the purposes of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) monitoring process, “compliance” consists of three levels: primary, secondary, and operational compliance levels.

The 3 compliance levels can be explained as follows:

1. PRIMARY COMPLIANCE: Primary compliance is the “policy” part of compliance. To attain primary compliance, APD must have in place operational policies and procedures designed to guide officers, supervisors and managers in the performance of the tasks outlined in the CASA. As a matter of course, the policies must be reflective of the requirements of the CASA; must comply with national standards for effective policing policy; and must demonstrate trainable and evaluable policy components.

2. SECONDARY COMPLIANCE: Secondary compliance is attained by implementing supervisory, managerial and executive practices designed to and be effective in implementing the policy as written, e.g., sergeants routinely enforce the policies among field personnel and are held accountable by managerial and executive levels of the department for doing so. By definition, there should be operational artifacts such as reports, disciplinary records, remands to retraining, follow-up, and even revisions to policies if necessary, indicating that the policies developed in the first stage of compliance are known to, followed by, and important to supervisory and managerial levels of the department.

3. OPERATIONAL COMPLIANCE: Operational compliance is attained at the point that the adherence to policies is apparent in the day-to-day operation of the agency e.g., line personnel are routinely held accountable for compliance, not by the monitoring staff, but by their sergeants, and sergeants are routinely held accountable for compliance by their lieutenants and command staff. In other words, the APD “owns” and enforces its policies.

Under the terms and conditions of the CASA, once APD achieves a 95% compliance rate in all 3 of the compliance areas, and maintains compliance for 2 years, the case can be dismissed.

OPERATION COMPLIANCE DECLINES IN TWO AREAS

On November 2, 2020, the Federal Monitor filed his 12th Federal Monitor’s Report that covered the time period of February 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020.

In the 12th audit reporting period that ended on July 31, 2020 the Federal Monitor found the following compliance levels:

PRIMARY COMPLIANCE: 100% with no change from 11 th report. APD continued to make progress overall, having achieved primary compliance in 100% of the applicable paragraphs of the CASA. Primary Compliance relates mostly to development and implementation of acceptable policies conforming to national practices.

SECONDARY COMPLIANCE: 91%, with a loss of -2.2% from the 11th report. APD is in 91% Secondary Compliance as of this reporting period. Secondary Compliance means that effective follow-up mechanisms have been taken to ensure that APD personnel understand the requirements of promulgated policies, e.g., training, supervising, coaching, and implementing disciplinary processes to ensure APD personnel understand the policies as promulgated and are capable of implementing them in the field.

OPERATIONAL COMPLIANCE: 64%, with a loss of -3.0%. APD is in 64% Operational Compliance with the requirements of the CASA, which means that 64% of the time, field personnel either perform tasks as required by the CASA, or that, when they fail, supervisory personnel note and correct in-field behavior that is not compliant with the requirements of the CASA

SUSPENSION AND TERMINATION PROVISIONS OF THE CASA

The CASA contains the following suspension and termination provisions:

“Termination of the Agreement

342. The City will endeavor to reach full and effective compliance with this Agreement within four years of its Effective Date. The Parties agree to jointly ask the Court to terminate this Agreement after this date, provided that the City has been in full and effective compliance with this Agreement for two years. “Full and Effective Compliance” shall be defined to require sustained compliance with all material requirements of this Agreement or sustained and continuing improvement in constitutional policing, as demonstrated pursuant to the Agreement’s outcome measures.

343. If after six years from the Effective Date the Parties disagree whether the City has been in full and effective compliance for two years, either Party may seek to terminate this Agreement. In the case of termination sought by the City, prior to filing a motion to terminate, the City agrees to notify DOJ in writing when the City has determined that it is in full and effective compliance with this Agreement and that such compliance has been maintained for no less than two years.”

The CASA does have a provision that allows suspension of the monitoring. Specifically, Paragraph 302 of the CASA provides:

“302. Where the Parties agree, the Monitor shall refrain from conducting a compliance review of a requirement previously found by the Monitor to be in sustained compliance for at least two years pursuant to audits or reviews, or where outcome assessments or other information indicate that the outcome intended by the requirement has been achieved.”

REFORMS UNDER THE CASA

As of November, 2020, over 6 years has expired since the city entered into the CASA with the DOJ. From all appearances and practical purposes, and from review of the Federal Monitor’s reports, the City and APD have completed the following mandated reforms under the Court Approved Settlement Agreement:

1. After a full year of negotiations, new “use of force” and “use of deadly force” policies have been written, implemented and all APD sworn have received training on the policies.
2. All sworn police officers have received crisis management intervention training.
3. APD has created a “Use of Force Review Board” that oversees all internal affairs investigations of use of force and deadly force.
4. The Internal Affairs Unit has been divided into two sections, one dealing with general complaints and the other dealing with use of force incidents.
5. Sweeping changes ranging from APD’s SWAT team protocols, to banning choke-holds, to auditing the use of every Taser carried by officers and re-writing and implementation of new use of force and deadly force policies have been completed.
6. “Constitutional policing” practices and methods, and mandatory crisis intervention techniques an de-escalation tactics with the mentally ill have been implemented at the APD police academy with all sworn police having received training.
7. APD has adopted a new system to hold officers and supervisors accountable for all use of force incidents with personnel procedures implemented detailing how use of force cases are investigated.
8. APD has revised and updated its policies on the mandatory use of lapel cameras by all sworn police officers.
9. The Repeat Offenders Project, known as ROP, has been abolished.
10. Civilian Police Oversight Agency has been created, funded, fully staffed and a director hired.
11. The Community Policing Counsels (CPCs) have been created in all area commands and the CPCs meet monthly.
12. The Mental Health Advisory Committee has been implemented.
13. The CASA identified that APD was understaffed. The City and APD are in the process of spending $88 million dollars, over a four-year period, with 32 million dollars of recurring expenditures, to hire 322 sworn officers and grow the department to 1,200 officers. As of January 1, 2020, APD has 949 full time police officers, up from 878 sworn police. The expansion thus far is attributed primarily to hiring from other departments and returning to work APD retirees.
14. In November, 2018 APD achieved 99.6% compliance with primary tasks, 75.4% secondary compliance and 59.5% operational compliance with APD making significant progress in overall compliance.
15. According to the Use of Force Report for the years 2017 and 2018, APD’s “use of force” and “deadly force” is down dramatically , which was one of the primary objectives of the CASA reforms.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

Operational Compliance under the settlement is attained at the point that the adherence to policies is apparent in the day-to-day operation of the agency. Operational Compliance is achieved when line personnel are routinely held accountable for compliance, not by the monitoring staff, but by their sergeants, and sergeants are routinely held accountable for compliance by their lieutenants and command staff. In other words, the APD “owns” and enforces its policies.

After review of the 12 Independent Monitors Reports, the 276 CASA mandates, and the reforms implemented, the biggest failure is implementation and training on the new policy and enforcement by APD management to achieve “Operational Compliance”. This is where the “rubber hits the road.”

COUNTER CASA EFFECT PREVENTS OPERATIONAL COMPLIANCE

“Operational Compliance” will never be fully achieved until there is a 100% elimination of the “Counter CASA” effect as identified by the Federal Monitor.

In Federal Monitor’s 10th and 11th audit reports, the “Counter CASA” effect was fully explained. According to the Federal Monitor’s 10th report:

“Sergeants and lieutenants, at times, go to extreme lengths to excuse officer behaviors that clearly violate established and trained APD policy, using excuses, deflective verbiage, de minimis comments and unsupported assertions to avoid calling out subordinates’ failures to adhere to established policies and expected practice. Supervisors (sergeants) and mid-level managers (lieutenants) routinely ignore serious violations, fail to note minor infractions, and instead, consider a given case “complete”.

…“Some members of APD continue to resist actively APD’s reform efforts, including using deliberate counter-CASA processes. For example:

• Sergeants assessed during this reporting period were “0 for 5” in some routine aspects of CASA-required field inspections;

• Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) disciplinary timelines, appear at times to be manipulated by supervisory, management and command levels at the area commands, letting known violations lie dormant until timelines for discipline cannot be met.”

In the 11th audit report, the Federal Monitor made it clear that there are many within APD that are overtly resistant to reforms. The Monitor found evidence of a “counter-CASA effect” among some at the supervisory, mid-management, and command levels at APD. Notwithstanding, both Mayor Keller and CAO Nair have refused to take aggressive action and remove those in the chain of command that are resistant to police reforms.

APD sergeants and lieutenants, even though they are part of management with supervisory authority over sworn police officers, are not “at will” employees and they are allowed to join the police union. Including sergeants and lieutenants in the union bargaining unit creates a clear conflict within management and sends mixed messages to rank and file sworn police officers.

APD police sergeants and lieutenants are on the front line to enforce personnel rules and regulations, standard operating procedures, approve and review work performed and assist in implementing DOJ reforms and standard operating procedures policies. They are where the “rubber meets the road” when it comes to Operational Compliance.

The point that has been repeatedly made by the Federal Monitor is that “until the sergeants are in harness and pulling in the same direction as the chief, things won’t get done as quickly”. In other words, without the 100% support of the sergeants and lieutenants to the CASA mandated reforms, there will be little or no progress made with Operational Compliance.

Sergeants and lieutenants need to be made at will employees and removed from the police union bargaining unit in order to get a real buy in to management’s goals of police reform and the CASA. APD Police sergeants and lieutenants cannot serve two masters of Administration Management and Union priorities. Until sergeants and lieutenants are removed from the union and made at will employees, do not expect the CASA reforms or “Operational Compliance” to be achieved any time soon.

OPERATIONAL COMPLIANCE MAY NEVER BE ACHIEVED

The biggest complaint of all the DOJ consent decrees in the country is implementation and enforcement “go on and on” for years, costing millions in taxpayer dollars.

With the implementation of the EFIT team, a 95% to 100% compliance with all the CASA primary, secondary and operational compliance goals should be achieved. But no one should expect that, especially the DOJ and when Assistant United State Attorney Paul Killebrew says in open court:

“APD has proven over and over again its agility to avoid the requirements of the CASA.”

“…[W]hat we have is a city that has failed to comply with that court order over and over and over again. … When we read [the Independent Monitor’s 12th report], we believed that there were likely grounds for contempt, and that we could probably make a good case for a receivership, at least as it regards serious force investigations. ”

NEW LEADERSHIP SAME IS OLD LEADERSHIP

When Keller ran for Mayor In 2017, he promised to implement the DOJ reforms and changed bring a new approach to APD”s management. So much for promises. From the very day Tim Keller became Mayor, he has relied upon former, long term APD Management . Keller first selected former Rio Rancho Police Chief Michael Geier as “Interim Chief” of the Albuquerque Police Department. Chief Geier retired from APD after 20 years and has extensive knowledge of APD. Mayor Keller also appointed retired APD Roger Banez, and retired APD Harold Medina, and current Deputy Eric Perez as Deputy Chief’s and each have extensive years of service with APD.

On Monday, March 8, Mayor Keller announced Harold Medina as the new APD Chief of Police. Medina had been serving as interim APD Chief since Mayor Keller fired APD Chief Michael Geier. Over 3 years, Keller’s promised implementation of the DOJ reforms until they stalled so much that he fired his first Chief Michael Geier. It was APD’s excessive use of force and deadly force against the mentally ill that was at the center of the DOJ’s finding of a culture of aggression.

Chief Harold Medina has a nefarious past with the use of deadly force against two people suffering from psychotic episodes. The first was when Medina shot and killed a 14 year old child who was having a psychotic episode, went to a westside church for help and armed with a BB gun. Medina had been dispatched to the scene and when the child brandished the BB gun, Medina shot him dead. The second shooting happened years later when then Lieutenant Medina authorized the use of deadly force against a 26-year-old veteran suffering from service connected post traumatic stress disorder who held a gun to his head, with APD shooting and killing him. A jury found that the veteran was a danger only to himself and awarded a $10.5 million judgement against the city.

During his January 23 webinar interview, Interim Chief Harold Medina said he has the “hindsight” to take the department forward. He said “How can you change a culture if you had not lived and been a part of that culture?” With these words, Medina essentially admitted he was part of the “culture of aggression” that brought the DOJ here in the first place. Anyone who helped create, knew about or did not stop the “culture of aggression” has absolutely no business being Chief of Police. Chief Medina has also blamed the DOJ consent decree for APD’s inability to concentrate on crime.

Along with his appointment of Harold Medina as permanent APD Chief, Mayor Keller also appointed Sylvester Stanley as “Interim Superintendent of Police Reform” in addition to the position of Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (DCAO). In 1982, Sylvester Stanley began his career with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department (BCSO) where he began his career as a patrolman. Over the years, he advanced through the ranks serving as a Detective, Sergeant, and Lieutenant retiring, in 2002, with the rank of Captain. Sylvester Stanley served as Police Chief for the Isleta Police Department from 2018 to 2021.

Stanley’s extensive law enforcement background and experience, although impressive as it is, is void of any work or dealing with federal consent decrees and void of any background in constitutional policing practices which are the center piece of the DOJ reforms. Two major shortcomings to the Stanly appointment is that he is “interim” meaning temporary and his background and experience is as traditional law enforcement as it gets. Lacking of experience with implementation of Federal Court Approved Settlement Agreements dealing with excessive use of force and deadly force cases is a cause of concern. Superintendent Stanley has also been given authority over disciplining police officers ostensibly for violations of the DOJ reforms. The police union has objected to Stanley having any authority to discipline asserting that the union contract gives that authority exclusively to the Chief.

APD Chief Harold Medina will not be reporting to Stanley nor Stanley to Medina, but both will be reporting to Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair who will likely be forced to resolve any disputes between the two. Medina and Stanley will essentially be acting like a “CASA Reform Tag Team” who will be reporting to political operative Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

Given the 15 major accomplishment and reforms achieved, one conclusion that can be reached is the “spirit and intent of the” CASA has been accomplished. Sooner rather than later there must come a time and realization the failure to achieve Operational Compliance is a failure of APD’s management and is based on personality and attitudes of the sworn police who resist civilian oversight. Engrained attitudes and the culture of aggression found by the DOJ will never be changed until such time there is a complete turn over within APD and all of its personnel. The turnover will happen through retirements, police officers quitting, transfers to other departments or even terminations resulting in a new generation of APD personnel.

If APD management, the union and rank and file continue with their efforts of “noncompliance”, not overtly, but in a manner to avoid detection and once again using “agility to avoid the requirements of the CASA”, the Federal Court should say enough is enough and hold them accountable and hold the city in contempt of court and order the Department of Justice receiver to take over APD’s Internal Affairs Unit and the use of force investigations.

Another option is for the court to dismiss the case on its own and declare that the spirit and intent of the CASA have been achieved. The dismissal would effectively force the Mayor, APD management, the “Use of Force Review Board, the Civilian Police Oversight Agency, the Mental Health Advisory Committee and the Community Policing Counsels to finally do their jobs as envisioned. Sweeping management changes and personnel changes could be implemented. Once the case is dismissed, the city will be free to propose necessary changes to the Union contract, including the removal of sergeants and lieutenants from the union making them at will and authorize the Chief to terminate at will officers. With the dismissal of the case, it would make it clear that no one could point to the CASA as being the reason for lack of progress or the cause of the city’s high violent crime rates.

Sooner rather than later the case must be dismissed to allow APD to get back to the basics of public safety.

All documents related to APD’s settlement agreement can be downloaded and reviewed at this city web site link:

https://www.cabq.gov/police/documents-related-to-apds-settlement-agreement

The documents include:
The Settlement Agreement between City and the DOJ
APD Progress Reports
Independent Monitor’s Reports
Compliance Reports
Use of Force Annual Reports
Use of Force Reports
Studies
Audits

APD “External Force Investigation Team” Must Be Last Chance Before APD Ordered Into Receivership; The Medina And Stanley Tag Team; April 15 Status Conference Scheduled By Court

On Friday, December 4, 2020 a status conference hearing was held on the 12th Compliance Audit Report on APD reforms mandated by the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA). One failure identified by the Federal Monitor was that APD’s Internal Affairs (IA) was not properly investigating serious use of force instances by APD police officers. During the hearing, it was revealed that the City and the Department of Justice (DO) were negotiating a “stipulated order” to create and External Force Investigations Team (EFIT).

Paul Killebrew, special counsel for the DOJ’s civil rights division, said that after the 12th Federal Monitor’s report was released on November 2, the DOJ and the City realized that something had to be done. If not agreed to by the city, the DOJ would have to take very aggressive action. Killebrew told Federal Judge Browning:

“The city agreed the problems were serious and needed to be addressed … that’s significant. If we had gone to the city and the city disagreed with our picture of reality, and had they not been willing to address the problem we identified, I think we would be in a different posture … We might have needed to seek enforcement action over the city’s objections.”

“APD has proven over and over again its agility to avoid the requirements of the CASA.”

EXTERNAL FORCE INVESTIGATION TEAM

On February 26, U.S. District Judge James Browning approved a stipulated order creating the EFIT. The EFIT team will train APD Internal Affairs (IA) investigators on how to properly investigate uses of force instances by APD police officers. The City agreed that at least 25 force investigators would be assigned to the APD Internal Affairs until APD demonstrates that fewer investigators are necessary to timely investigate uses of force by APD Officers.

GROUNDS FOR CONTEMPT

Assistant United States Attorney Paul Killebrew had this to say about EFIT:

“… [W]hat we have is a city that has failed to comply with that court order over and over and over again. It’s not an option right now to do nothing. If we sit back and wait, using all the tools that we have already been using, I don’t know why we would expect things to change on their own. The sense of the United States when we received the monitor’s report was that additional interventions were required. …
When we read [the Independent Monitor’s 12th report], we believed that there were likely grounds for contempt, and that we could probably make a good case for a receivership, at least as it regards serious force investigations.

This is essentially something short of a receivership, but far more extensive than what is occurring now. What we’re talking about is having external folks assisting Albuquerque investigators in each investigation to ensure that those investigations identify out-of-policy force and to ensure that there is a strong factual record available so that policy violations can be identified and that officers can be held accountable. That is simply a nonnegotiable term of the consent decree. We must have officers held accountable for out-of-policy force, and after six years, we cannot wait for that to happen any longer.”

THE MEDINA AND STANLEY TAG TEAM

On Monday, March 8, Mayor Keller announced Harold Medina as the new APD Chief of Police. Medina had been serving as interim APD Chief since Mayor Keller fired APD Chief Michael Geier. For over 3 years, Keller promised implementation of the DOJ reforms until they stalled so much that he fired his first Chief Michael Geier. It was APD’s excessive use of force and deadly force against the mentally ill that was at the center of the DOJ’s finding of a culture of aggression. Chief Harold Medina has a nefarious past with the use of deadly force against two people suffering from psychotic episodes. The first was when Medina shot and killed a 14 year old child who was having a psychotic episode, went to a westside church for help and armed with a BB gun. Medina had been dispatched to the scene and when the child brandished the BB gun, Medina shot him dead. The second shooting happened years later when then Lieutenant Medina authorized the use of deadly force against a 26 year old veteran suffering from service connected post traumatic stress disorder who held a gun to his head, with APD shooting and killing him. A jury found that the veteran was a danger only to himself and awarded a $10.5 million judgement against the city. During his January 23 webinar interview, Interim chief Harold Medina said he has the “hindsight” to take the department forward. He said “How can you change a culture if you had not lived and been a part of that culture?” With these words, Medina essentially said he was part of the “culture of aggression” that brought the DOJ here in the first place. Anyone who helped create, knew about or did not stop the “culture of aggression” has absolutely no business being Chief of Police. Chief Medina has also blamed the DOJ consent decree for APD’s inability to concentrate on crime.

Along with his appointment of Harold Medina as permanent APD Chief, Mayor Keller also appointed Sylvester Stanley as “Interim Superintendent of Police Reform” in addition to the position of Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (DCAO). In 1982, Sylvester Stanley began his career with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department (BCSO) where he began his career as a patrolman. Over the years, he advanced through the ranks serving as a Detective, Sergeant, and Lieutenant retiring, in 2002, with the rank of Captain. Sylvester Stanley served as Police Chief for the Isleta Police Department from 2018 to 2021. Stanley’s extensive law enforcement background and experience, although impressive as it is, is void of any work or dealing with federal consent decrees and void of any background in constitutional policing practices which are the center piece of the DOJ reforms. Superintendent Stanley has also been given authority over disciplining police officers ostensibly for violations of the DOJ reforms. The police union has objected to Stanley having any authority to discipline asserting that the union contract gives that authority exclusively to the Chief.

APD Chief Harold Medina will not be reporting to Stanley nor Stanley to Medina, but both will be reporting to Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair who will likely be forced to resolve any disputes between the two. Medina and Stanley will essentially be acting like a “CASA Reform Tag Team” who will be reporting to political operative Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

Two comments made by Paul Killebrew, Special Counsel for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, are worth repeating because of how revealing they are and just how bad APD has become:

“APD has proven over and over again its agility to avoid the requirements of the CASA.”

“…[W]hat we have is a city that has failed to comply with that court order over and over and over again.”

With these comments, Assistant United States Attorney Paul Killebrew confirmed what many knew what the City, APD and the Police Union have been doing for the last 6 years under 2 Mayors and 3 Police Chiefs. One can only wonder what the Department of Justice (DOJ) has really done over the 6 years with the city spending upwards of $35 million a year on the reform efforts. The DOJ knew what was going on, it was warned repeatedly by the Federal Monitor, and yet the DOJ did absolutely nothing.

Where there is a will to obstruct the CASA reforms, APD and the Police Union always find a way, something now admitted to by the DOJ. By approving the agreed Order to create the EFIT, Federal Judge Browning has given the City and APD one more opportunity to get their act together and get the job done on implementing the reforms. It should be the very last chance.

The very real risk is the parties will continue to flop around like fish out of water accomplishing very little, another year will pass, perhaps a new Mayor will be elected, and the engrained APD culture of resistance to the reforms will continue unabated.

It’s as if APD and its management are once again attempting to run out the clock on another Mayor, this time Mayor Tim Keller and his administration, knowing full well the municipal election is on November 2, 2021 and Keller could be out of office. The EFIT gives incumbent Mayor Tim Keller plausible deniability against the accusation that he has not taken action to implement all the DOJ reforms as he promised 4 years ago when he ran for Mayor.

Truth is Mayor Tim Keller for 3 years has allowed a sore to simply fester when it came to APD’s deliberate attempts to undermine the reform efforts while at the same time trying to lay claim that he has done a great job with APD and all the reforms. Keller has failed to make the sweeping changes to the Albuquerque Police Department, and his promised implementation of the DOJ reforms stalled so much that he fired his first chief. Keller has appointed Harold Medina, who has a nefarious past with the use of deadly force against two people suffering from psychotic episodes, permanent chief.

Keller has also appointed Sylvester Stanley “Interim Superintendent Of Police Reform” to oversee the CASA reform with little disclosure what authority he has over APD. The police union has objected to the announcement that Stanley will be imposing discipline as opposed to the APD Chief asserting that it violates the union contract with the City.

Things have only gotten worse under Keller as has crime in the city. Keller’s smile on his face and grin in his voice is a sharp contrast to the truth of what is happening with APD.

The EFIT must be the very last chance for the city and APD to make the DOJ reforms to work. If APD management, the union and rank and file continue with their efforts of “noncompliance”, not overtly, but in a manner to avoid detection and once again using “agility to avoid the requirements of the CASA”, the Federal Court should say enough is enough and hold the city in contempt of court.

Federal Judge James Browning has scheduled a “status conference” on the case for April 15. It will be the very first hearing since Mayor Tim Keller appointed Harold Medina as the permanent APD Chief and Sylvester Stanly as “Interim Superintendent Of Police Reform”.

The April 15 status conference will be held via Zoom Video/Web Conferencing. The December, 2020 status conference hearing had upwards of 150 attendees. It is hoped that during the April 15 Status Conference, the public will learn how much progress has been made in creating the EFIT and if and when it will begin to train APD and commence investigating use of force cases by APD officers. The extent of authority and control Interim Superintendent of Police Reform Sylvester Stanly will have over the EFIT should be elaborated on and discussed.

If the EFIT is not successful, the Court should order the Federal Monitor to take over APD’s Internal Affairs Unit and the use of force investigations. In the event that the EFIT fails, which is more likely than not, Federal Monitor James Ginger needs to be given full authority over Internal Affairs personnel to the extent of being given direct management and control to issue orders and commands as to how use of force investigations are to be conducted.

Then and only then will full compliance with the reforms be achieved.