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 lapel cameras 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.

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About

Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.