A Recording Reflecting Failed Leadership By APD Chief Harold “Pity Me” Medina; A Defective Criminal Complaint Filed By APD; ERT Team Reacted Professionally And As Trained

On Sunday, April 11, hundreds of people went to downtown Civic Plaza as “counter protesters” in response to rumors that the white supremacist group “Proud Boys had planned to hold a rally. As a precaution, APD’s Emergency Response Team, which are police officers trained to deal with protests and unrest, were dispatched.

White supremist and the Proud Boys never showed up. However, 26-year-old Deyontae Williams did show up. He was armed with a rifle and a handgun and accompanied by a woman and two young children. Williams stood across the street of Civic Plaza in front of the convention center holding a sign that said “all guns matter.” ERT Officers approached Williams who told the officers he was not planning to enter Civic Plaza where firearms are banned.

Williams caught the attention of the protesters with his carrying of a rifle and handgun and a sign saying “all guns matter”. Soon upwards of 100 protesters crossed the street and surrounded him and confronted him. Seeing what was happening, the ERT Officers determine “that imminent danger” existed for Williams and the woman and the two children that were with him. The ERT officers removed Williams safely from the area and away from the crowd.

An APD Incident Commander ostensibly witnessing what what going on from the APD “Real Time Crime Center” had ordered Williams to be detained at the scene for questioning and dispatched a detective to interview him. However, the ERT officers on the scene released Williams without citing him. APD filed a criminal complaint against Deyontae Williams charging him with misdemeanor abandonment or cruelty to a child and a summons was issued.

APD launched an Internal Affairs investigation into the decision to release Deyontae Williams. The ERT sergeant who ordered the release of Williams was put on leave with the sergeant’s gun and badge immediately taken. APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said the command staff was concerned that Williams had been given preferential treatment by ERT when he was released. According to Gallegos, after review of what happened, it was found there was no indication of preferential treatment. The ERT sergeant was released to return to duty within 24 hours after the suspension. However, Gallegos said:

“The internal investigation into whether policies were violated is still ongoing.”



On April 19, a Criminal Complaint was filed in Metropolitan Court against Deyontae Williams by APD Detective Conrad Griego charging Williams with misdemeanor “Abandonment or Cruelty to a Child” in violation of City Ordinance 12-05-01b2A. According to the complaint, Detective Griego is a secondary, on call West Side Impact Detective, he is not a ERT police officer, but was called out to investigate the incident after it occurred. The complaint was telephonically approved by APD Lt. Legendre the supervisor of Det. Griego. The complaint was not reviewed nor approved by the District Attorney’s Office.

The complaint is a mere one-page document and provides a very, very short narrative of facts of what happened. The complaint was filed by an APD Detective that sources have verified was not present and who did not witness the events but filed the complaint “based upon information and belief.”

City Ordinance 12-05-01b2A as charged in the complaint provides as follows:


(A) Abandonment of child consists of the parent of a child, ten years old or less, or any person who has been entrusted with or who has assumed the care of such child who intentionally leaves the child or abandons him under circumstances where the child may suffer from neglect, but which does not result in the death of or great bodily harm to the child.

(B) Cruelty to children consists of any parent, guardian or other person having care or custody of any child either:
(1) Intentionally causing or permitting:
(a) The life of such child to be endangered
… “


The charge of “Abandonment and Cruelty to Children” is a criminal misdemeanor charge under a city ordinance, not a felony state charge. The criminal complaint states in pertinent part:

“… a man … identified as Deyontae Williams, was seen by police open carrying a rifle and firearm. He was accompanied by a female and two young children, one whom was about a 7-year-old boy. Police contacted the man and advised that the civic plaza forbids the carrying firearms. He replied he intended not to enter the Civic Plaza.

Soon his open carry of the rifle and handgun drew the attention of the protesters. The protesters surrounded him and were about 100 in number. They confronted him.

Police determined that imminent danger was present for [Deyontae Williams], his female companion, but moreover for the two minors; a reasonable fear that the man would use the firearms in order to protect the children was imminent. This lead the on scene police to remove him safely from the contentious crowd.”

It’s a real stretch of the facts and the imagination to charge Williams with “cruelty to children” consisting of “intentionally causing or permitting … the life of … a child to be endangered”. What is speculation is for the affiant Detective Griego to proclaim “Police determined that imminent danger was present for [Deyontae Williams], his female companion, but moreover for the two minors; a reasonable fear that the man would use the firearms in order to protect the children was imminent” seeing as Greigo was not the one to make the judgement call and Williams was removed by the ERT Officers for his safety.

Removing Williams from the scene was what any reasonable police officer would do under the facts and circumstances and it was totally appropriate to diffuse the situation. The removal was a judgement call totally within the discretion of the ERT police officers, as was the decision to release Williams without charging him. By all accounts the ERT police officers acted professionally, reasonably and as trained and within the scope and course of their authority.

The charge requires proof of intent of “beyond a reasonable doubt”. The facts charged are devoid of anything that indicate intent to endanger the children or to put them in harms way. One example would be using the children as human shields from the crowd. There are no allegations to what extent and how the crowd “confronted him”. Further the complaint supports that the on-scene ERT Police Officers removed him from the scene, but no mention is made of the children and the woman being removed for their safety.

What complicates the case is the fact that Deyontae Williams was totally within his Second Amendment rights with the open carry of firearms which is legal in New Mexico and contained in the state constitution. The fact that he opened carried a rifle and firearm would only escalate and be a criminal offense if he used it to threaten the crowd, which he did not based on the complaint.

The criminal complaint filed by APD against Deyontae Williams is defective on its face. The complaint lacks sufficient factual allegations to support the charge. It should have never been filed as alleged and written. APD would be wise to dismiss the charge. Otherwise APD risks the allegation and the defense of “malicious prosecution” by Mr. Williams.


As a direct result of the suspension of the ERT Sargent and the Internal Affairs Investigation into whether police policies were violated, upwards of 20 Emergency Response Team members resigned in protest and in solidarity saying they did not want to staff protests any longer.

Shaun Willoughby, president of the Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association, took to the media for interviews, called the suspension of the APD Sergeant “a knee jerk reaction,” and had this to say about the resignations:

“Why would you want to be at the tip of the spear of one of the most highly volatile political footballs ever, to volunteer for this extracurricular duty called ERT and then to be second-guessed about decisions that were made on the ground … It just doesn’t make you feel supported as a police officer.”

“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.”




APD Chief Harold Medina called for a meeting with the ERT officers after he learned 20 officers were resigning from the unit stemming from the protest on Civic Plaza. The resignations included one APD Lieutenant, and 2 sergeants from the team that handles protests.

According to APD Spokesman Gilbert Gallegos, Chief Medina wanted to meet with the unit “after learning the union was providing incomplete information about the incident”, no doubt referring to the Union President Shaun Willoughby’s media blitz and interviews. Willoughby has always been attracted to the light of TV news cameras like a miller moth to bright lights in the summer night.

Following is a link to an audio of APD Chief Harold Medina addressing APD’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) to give an explanation as to what happened and why the officer was placed on leave.



Throughout the recording, Chief Medina seems to berate and then sympathize with the officers at the same time. He also shows self-pity. Medina makes more than a few amazing disclosures. Those disclosures include the following:

1. Medina explains to the officers and sergeants that the decision to charge the man carrying a firearm across from Civic Plaza with his children during the protest came after consultation with Albuquerque City Attorney’s Office. The problem is that Assistant City Attorneys are not criminal prosecutors like Assistant District Attorneys and are civil attorney’s with very little or no criminal prosecution background nor of criminal offenses.

2. Police officers complained that they are afraid that if they do their jobs properly, they’ll be disciplined and fired.

3. Chief Medina told police officers during the meeting:

“I don’t know about anybody here, but any armed person who is outside displaying their firearms, to me, are also part of the problem. I’m not saying they are doing anything illegal. I am saying they are adding more and more fuel and gas to the problem.”

The problem with this statement is that “open carry” of firearms in New Mexico is legal and open carrying of a firearm in and of itself should not be taken as any grounds to make criminal charges, which is exactly what happened.

4. Chief Medina laments that rank-and-file police offers are not the only ones who are under extensive public and media scrutiny. Medina laments that he and his family are under intense scrutiny. Medina tells the ERT officers that it was he who saved the historic KIMO theater from being burned down during a summer protest on Central. He complained that he and his family have taken abuse for his killing of a 14-year-old child in 2002. Medina said he sacrificed himself and took “the hits” for the June Onate protest last year when he was in fact off duty and at home enjoying the holiday with his family. Medina discloses that he was a finalist for other jobs he could have taken but decided to stay with APD.

5.Two ERT sergeants tell Medina the real problems are with APD. One sergeant tells Medina that being a police officer is her chosen profession but that she is terrified of being disciplined or retaliated against for doing what she thinks is right. Medina denied accusations of retaliation but said that if there is retaliation, it’s sergeants and lieutenants who are accused of doing it.

6.A sergeant with over twenty-five years of experience tells Medina:

“I left [the ERT Team] three weeks ago based on the discipline policy and the additional exposure ERT gets for being out there and doing what we are told to do … It’s my understanding that we haven’t even reviewed the incidents … from last summer … After twenty years of doing this … the discipline policy has to change. That’s the reason I left because I don’t want to expose myself to that kind of discipline.”

“We are hemorrhaging officers because of this discipline policy. I have no desire to leave, but I have called PERA [Public Employee Retirement Association] … [to find out] where we are at now. I am not interested in disciplining my kids [my officers under my command] nor head hunting [to recruit other officers]. … [One officer] just spent $55K to retire. [Another officer] spent over $100K to retire. When people are … [buying time to retire] there is an issue. The current issue, that overshadows the DOJ, it is the discipline policy. If you are telling me there is a fix on the way, then fantastic. When will it get here?”

Medina promised that he is on the verge of getting a new disciplinary process in place, but when pressed by the sergeant he could not give a timeline.

Medina responded to the sergeant by saying:

“If we don’t navigate the path forward with discipline and the DOJ, we will be in receivership. … That’s what they want. That’s what all the community groups want. I would be under a DOJ person. The DOJ would have their own people reviewing cases. This is what we have to avoid. I didn’t create this.”

7.Medina asks a sergeant “… I do not agree with the amount of video review [as unreasonable]. What’s the biggest problem, sergeant?” The sergeant replies, “Twelve hours to do a three-second show of force [investigation and the reporting requirements].”


After listening to the 34-minute recording of Chief Harold Medina talking to APD’s Emergency Response Team (ERT), there should be little or no doubt that Mayor Tim Keller’s appointment of Medina as permanent Chief is so very wrong on too many levels. Many of Medina’s remarks were self-pity or bragging about himself. The remarks were not a reflection of a true leader during a crisis and a crisis his command staff created out of pettiness and obvious retaliation.

What Chief Medina said to the ERT is worth repeating:

“If we don’t navigate the path forward with discipline and the DOJ, we will be in receivership. … That’s what they want. That’s what all the community groups want. I would be under a DOJ person. The DOJ would have their own people reviewing cases. This is what we have to avoid. I didn’t create this.”

The only take away is that Medina really is more concerned about himself and holding on to his job avoiding DOJ oversight rather than dealing with what he is faced with which is a disintegrating department under his command. Medina speaks as if he is doing the city a big favor by being APD Chief. Medina clearly has inflated opinion as to his effectiveness. The problem is that the City’s police force sees right through him. Once a chief loses the respect of sworn police officers, you lose your ability to lead, presuming if you ever had it to begin with.


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.

APD Chief Harold Medina successfully convinced Mayor Tim Keller and CAO Sarita 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. During the April 15 status conference with Judge Browning, Medina essentially told Judge Browning the very same thing. However, in the recording Medina expresses more concern about a DOJ takeover of APD as opposed to working out and improving the approach APD is using to implement the reforms when it comes to use of force investigations.


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 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. Medina has shown he possesses none of the desired traits.

If APD Chief Harold Medina really wants to do the city and APD a big favor, he should just step down and take his self-pity elsewhere and see if any of those other jobs are still available, if they ever were.

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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.