On February 15, 2022, in almost 4-minute interview on FOX News, Albuquerque Police Officer Association President Shaun Willoughby rambled on for almost 4 minutes, without interruption, and did what only can be described as a full throttle take down of the Federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA), the mandated reforms under the settlement and the Department of Justice. The interview was nothing more than Willougby and the police union spreading their big lies about the settlement in an effort to undercut and to undermine the APD reforms. The link to view the full story and the video interview is here:
Following is a very short transcript of the news story that does not contain all the comments of the Willoughby interview:
“ALUQUERQUE, NM. Police in Albuquerque, New Mexico, told Fox News crime is surging in their city because cops are not allowed to do their jobs.
“You have high crime, you have high substance abuse, you have a weak on crime approach at the state legislature—we have since the beginning of time,” Detective Shaun Willougby, president of the Albuquerque Police Association, told Fox News in an exclusive interview.
“Couple that with a completely handcuffed police department and eight years into a consent decree … and this is what you get,” Willoughby continued.
The Albuquerque Police Department entered into a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice in November 2014 after an investigation concluded the local agency “engaged in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force.”
“That opened the door for the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., to basically almost govern and be intricately involved in everything this police department does,” Willoughby said.
Albuquerque officers involved in use of force incidents are required to go through a rigorous investigation, according to the terms of the agreement.
For example, if an officer puts a resisting suspect into handcuffs during an arrest, it could be considered use of force, Willoughby said. He told Fox News an investigation could take officers off the street for four to six hours and that it happens regularly.
“I have seen entire area commands where 50,000 people live – because of two uses of force, just two weeks ago – the whole area command was shut down,” Willoughby said. “All officers available, to include chain of command, were investigating uses of force.”
“We’re already significantly understaffed,” Willoughby continued. “Now, because of the policies that we’ve created – and some of them are really ridiculous – we have less officers on the streets protecting and serving this community simply because they’re following the policy that exists.”
In 2021, Albuquerque broke its annual homicide record with 117 killings. The city’s yearly homicide count has averaged about 45 homicides per year over the last 35 years, according to local media reports.
Consent decrees came under harsh criticism from former President Trump’s DOJ, which said they were overused and a harmful federal intrusion on law enforcement.
Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo in 2018 directing the agency to sharply limit their use.
Attorney General Merrick Garland rescinded the Trump-era memo last April, making it easier for the Biden DOJ to use consent decrees as an enforcement tool.
“The whole part of the conversation is like an open loop,” Willoughby said. “We have a bunch of politicians that think in election cycles, and they’re going to say the right talking points because they poll well.”
“They’re going to manipulate people to vote for them, but when push comes to shove, they’re not investing in the actual problem,” he added.
“We need politicians who invest in the problem, they think outside the box and not just in their four-year election cycle,” Willoughby told Fox News. “I think the whole country is plagued with that same problem.”
The Albuquerque Police Department lost more than 250 officers over the last two years due to people leaving the profession, retirement and officers going to other departments, according to the Albuquerque Police Association.”
The link to the FOX news story is here:
A summary of the DOJ investigation and the contents of the Court Approved Settlement Agreement can be found in the postscript to this blog article.
THAT LITTLE CARD LISTING MISDEMEANORS
During the FOX News interview, Willoughby made reference and exhibited a card listing misdemeanors saying APD police cannot arrest people on. His claim is a lie that APD cannot make arrests on the offenses listed. They can make arrests but simply do not want to write an offense report. Willoughby said APD cops do not want to make arrests because they must then write an offense report articulating reasons why and the circumstance why the arrest was made.
SHOOTING OF 4 POLICE OFFICERS
It was on Thursday, August 19, after four Albuquerque Police Officers were seriously injured following a shooting in northeast Albuquerque that Willougby first lied that police cannot make arrests of misdemeanors. The shooting happened as officers responded to a felony robbery by the Dutch Bros. near Mountain and Juan Tabo. He also lied saying violent crime has increased because APD has been de-policed ostensibly referring to the DOJ mandated reforms. Willoughby said this:
“We’ve been telling this community that this was going to happen. … I believe that the violent crime and the uptick of violent crime is directly related to this police department being de-policed and having policies where they are not able to do their job. … We have de-policed the city of Albuquerque to the extent where officers carry around a little card with a list of misdemeanors that they can’t even arrest people on. … It’s officers that are hesitating to do their job because they don’t want to get in trouble … It’s the brazen acts of criminals that know that Albuquerque police officers are handcuffed … We have stepped away and de-policed this city. From the very beginning our officers are carrying a card of misdemeanors that they’re not supposed to arrest on.”
The links to the quoted news source material is here:
ARRESTS VERSUS CITATIONS
It was on May 10, 2018 in a memo addressed to all sworn APD personnel by then APD Chief Gorden Eden issued Department Special Order 17-53. The Special Order states that “all officers shall issue citations when appropriate in lieu of arrests on non-violent misdemeanor offenses.” Special Order 17-53 was then made SOP 2-80 that deals with arrests on misdemeanor cases. The link is here:
The new Special Order 17-53 directive was a result of the 20-plus year McClendon Lawsuit that was settled by a federal judge. That lawsuit, filed against the city and Bernalillo County by an inmate arrested for a non-violent misdemeanor, primarily focused on the conditions within the county lockup. At the time the lawsuit was filed, the then Bernalillo County detention center had a maximum capacity of 800, but the jail was repeatedly overcrowded with as much as twice that capacity. The misdemeanor offenses affected by the special order include criminal trespass, criminal damage to property under $1,000, shoplifting under $500, shoplifting under $250, prostitution, and receiving or possessing stolen property under $100. The policy remains in place to this day.
The memo makes it clear that officers may make an arrest if it is necessary, but will have to include the reasons why in an incident report. The letter states that officers have the opportunity to take offenders wanted for non-violent misdemeanor offenses to Metropolitan Court to resolve warrants or fines instead of hauling them off to jail. However, the arrested individual must have the full amount of the fine or bond in cash. Those arrested also cannot go through a bonding agency.
At the time the Special Order was issued, City and police officials pointed out that it made no changes to police policy. APD Chief Jerry Galvin in 2001 issued a similar order, and since then department policy has been to advise officers to issue citations for such crimes where appropriate, and officers have discretion in deciding when to arrest someone. According to then City Attorney Jessica Hernandez:
“If there is any part of a situation that makes an officer think an arrest is warranted, they’ll make the arrest.”
At the time the special order was issued, then Assistant Chief Robert Huntsman also issuing a statement:
“This order in no way restricts officers’ discretion to make arrests when necessary to protect the public. Citations have always been an available option for certain non-violent misdemeanor offenses. This special order and video remind officers to issue citations ‘when appropriate’ and ‘when there are no circumstances necessitating an arrest.’ We are still aggressively pursuing repeat offenders, and this order does not change an officer’s ability to arrest.”
TWO OTHER WILLOUGHBY LIES
Another lie that Willoughby told the national FOX News is that the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., “basically [and] almost governs and [is] intricately involved in everything this police department does”. Simply put, that could only happen if APD was placed into receivership and APD has not been placed into receivership.
The Court Approved Settlement Agreement does require the appointment of a federal monitor, but the settlement provisions are very clear that the Federal Monitor has no management, nor control over APD personnel, nor over the day to day operations of APD. The Federal Monitor cannot hire or discipline APD personnel. The only authority the monitor has is to audit APD’s compliance levels and report to the court.
Paragraph 295 of the Court approved settlement agreement provides as follows:
“The Monitor shall only have the duties, responsibilities, and authority conferred by this Agreement. The Monitor shall not, and is not intended to, replace or assume the role and duties of APD, including the Chief or any other City official. The Monitor shall be subject to the supervision and orders of the Court, consistent with this Agreement and applicable law.”
It is APD management and the Mayor’s Office that is in full control of the department. The DOJ consent decree mandates the implementation of 271 reforms agreed to by the city and it is the city and APD that are required to draft policy and implement the reforms.
Another lie Willoughby has promoted is that APD has somehow been “depoliced” or “defunded”. The truth is APD is the largest budgeted department in the city’s history. APD’s approved general fund operating 2022 budget is upwards of $222 million. The City Council has approved all the APD funding the Keller Administration has ever requested over the last 4 years. In 2018, the city council enacted a tax increase without voter approval where 70% of the $55 million raise annually went to the benefit of APD and to public safety. APD Chief Harold Medina for his part has doubled the number of Deputy Chiefs, increased the Chief’s office command staff from 3 to 10 and has added a new level of management of 14 assistant commanders. The new negotiated police union contract makes APD the best-paid law enforcement agency in the region by increasing hourly pay by 8% and longevity pay by 5%, and creating a whole new category of incentive pay.
NOT THE FIRST TIME FOR WILLOUGHBY AND THE UNION TO MOUTH OFF
Willoughby’s February 15 FOX News interview is not the first time that the police union has attempted to discredit the Court Approved Settlement Agreement, the mandated reforms, the monitor and the Department of Justice. Such efforts have been a pattern and practice for the union.
On April 27, 2021, it was widely reported by local news media that the Albuquerque Police Officers Association (APOA) launched a $70,000 political ad campaign to discredit the Department of Justice (DOJ) mandated reforms saying the police reforms are preventing police officers from doing their jobs and combating crime.
POLICE UNION POLITICAL PUBLIC RELATONS CAMPAIGN
The Police Union political ad campaign consisted of billboards around the city and testimonials on TV, radio and social media from former Albuquerque Police Department officers. The public relations campaign is urging the public to tell city leaders that crime matters more than the Police reforms mandated by the settlement.
The public relations campaign included providing an email template for people to use and contact civic leaders. The template says APD has made progress with the reforms and says we are “tired of living in a city filled with murder, theft and violence. … I’m urging you to fight for this city, stand up to the DOJ, and help us save the city we love, before it’s too late. ”
APOA Police Union President Shaun Willoughby described the need for the public relations campaign this way:
“You can either have compliance with DOJ reforms or you can have lower crime. You can’t have both. We think it’s time that our city leaders hear from the public that crime matters more because it does. … They want to focus on the growing crime problem, instead of wasting millions of dollars on endless Department of Justice oversight. … This conversation of reform needs to come back to common sense. … Right now, the City of Albuquerque capitulates to everything the DOJ wants and that might not necessarily be the right direction for the City of Albuquerque. … You don’t need enemies when you have friends like the city attorney. … We believe that our community deserves better from this police department. … We believe our community deserves better from this consent decree process.
[We are asking] for the city of Albuquerque to stand up and support Albuquerque police officers and support common sense reforms that allow our officers to succeed. … . We’re talking about the bureaucracy of police officers being taken off the street because somebody that was not used force on said “ow”. And how that impacts this community, our ability to respond to the community and this community’s ability to control crime. Your Albuquerque police officers are terrified that they will lose their job for simply doing their job and it’s not fair.”
The APOA also used its FACEBOOK page to get the word out with one post saying:
“Are you tired of the growing crime problems facing the city of Albuquerque? Are you tired of break-ins, stolen cars, vandalism, theft and murder being part of everyday living in our community? Then do something! If you don’t speak up and get involved right now, things will get worse. Tell your City leaders that you care more about fighting crime then than wasting millions on endless Department of Justice oversight. Share and make your voices heard because crime matters more.”
In a February 11, 2021 Target 7 news report Shaun Willoughby had this to say:
“The whole [reform effort] system is set up to fail and the taxpayers and the people that live in this community like me and my family are the ones that are taking the brunt of [violent crime]. … Really look at this process. … It is absolutely out of control. … The entire department and the processes within it are out of control. Your officers are running out the door. Really look at every single state or agency that’s been involved in this process. … What is happening? Did it bring harmony and trust with the community? I don’t think so.”
Links to news sources quotes are here:
JUNE 9 STATUS CONFERENCE HEARING
After the police union political ad campaign, APD Police reform Advocates requested that the City and the DOJ seek to have the union held in contempt of court for interfering with the consent decree.
During the June 9, 2021 status conference hearing, presiding Federal Judge James Browning asked the Plaintiff Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Defendant City of Albuquerque if they had the “appetite” to seek and to have the Intervenor Party the Albuquerque Police Officers Association held in contempt of court and be removed as a party to the litigation. Judge Browning has previously said he would not take any action in the case unless requested by both of the parties.
During the hearing, both the City and the DOJ declined to ask for the police union to be held in contempt of court, essentially ignoring the wishes of the 3 advocacy groups that were instrumental in bringing the DOJ here in the first place. Both the DOJ and the city arrived at the conclusion that the Unions political ad campaign was protected free speech.
DOJ Assistant Attorney General Paul Killebrew said in part:
“The Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association, and indeed, the officers of the APD who are its members, have a First Amendment right to speak on a matter of public concern, and they are exercising those rights. I will say that it was not a surprise to me personally to know that the APOA would like the city to renegotiate some terms of the CASA. That has been a flavor of their position from the outset, and so I don’t take that as a surprise. I will say that at any time we are willing to hear out anyone’s proposals for how the CASA can better achieve its aims and whether modifications may be necessary.”
The DOJ essentially made all the arguments why the union should not be held in contempt of court and just ignored the Counter CASA effect and the unions activities to undermine the reforms. What should be nonnegotiable is to require accountability from the union for its obstructionist’s activities to undermine the consent decree.
When DOJ Attorney Paul Killebrew told Judge Browning “… the officers of the APD who are its members, have a First Amendment right to speak on a matter of public concern, and they are exercising those rights” Killebrew totally ignored what the union has been doing in private to undermine the reforms for the previous 6 years such as objecting to the use of deadly force and delaying the rewrite of the policy for a full year by repeatedly demanding changes. What is NOT protected free speech is the unions conduct of undermining the reforms through its membership of Sergeants and Lieutenants.
FEDERAL MONITOR’S RESPONSE TO UNION POLITICAL AD CAMPAIGN
Federal Monitor Ginger has repeatedly said that the Sergeants and Lieutenants are the “counter casa effect”. Ginger said it again in reference to the police ad campaign which is worth repeating:
“[The ad campaign is] a union canard. We’ve talked about the counter-CASA effect in Albuquerque for years and years, and it is still alive and well. This latest process from the union is just another piece of counter-CASA. The union would like us out of town, I’m sure, and remember this monitoring team – as much as we love Albuquerque – would be glad to be done with the job. But we’re not going to give passing scores unless passing scores are earned. … [if the city] will actually focus on compliance” [it could be done with the CASA in 2 to 3 years]. … We’re constantly making the same recommendations over and over and over again,” Just like this time – 190-plus recommendations. It’s a get-out-of-the-CASA-free card, those 190 recommendations. What’s dragging this out, quite frankly, your honor, is a police department not focusing its resources on complying with the CASA.”
UNION’S RESPONSE TO ALLEGATION IT WANTS TO END SETTLEMENT
During the June 9 hearing, APOA president Shaun Willoughby was asked to respond to the allegation that the goal of the union ad campaign was to end the settlement agreement or that they are “counter-CASA.”
In response to questions from Judge Browning, Willoughby gave what can only be described as an emotional and unhinged statement to the court. Willoughby freely acknowledged that he does not believe that the city can be in compliance with the CASA and simultaneously lower crime rates.
With respect to the Court Approved Settlement Agreement, Willoughby had this to say:
“Is it the No. 1 reason for the crime in Albuquerque? No, but it’s a contributing factor.”
Willoughby also told Judge Browning he stood by his comments he made to the media when he said:
“You can either have compliance with DOJ reforms or you can have lower crime. You can’t have both.”
The rest of the comments made by Willoughby to the media were:
“We think it’s time that our city leaders hear from the public that crime matters more because it does. … They want to focus on the growing crime problem, instead of wasting millions of dollars on endless Department of Justice oversight. … This conversation of reform needs to come back to common sense. … Right now, the City of Albuquerque capitulates to everything the DOJ wants and that might not necessarily be the right direction for the City of Albuquerque. … You don’t need enemies when you have friends like the city attorney. … We believe that our community deserves better from this police department. … We believe our community deserves better from this consent decree process.”
UNION DEMANDS IMMEDIATE CHANGE TO USE OF FORCE POLICY
On November 12, 2021 the Federal Court Appointed Monitor James Ginger filed with the Federal Court his 14th “Compliance Levels of the Albuquerque Police Department and the City of Albuquerque with Requirements of the Court Approved Settlement Agreement” (CASA). The report was one of the most critical and scathing to date as to the city’s intentional noncompliance and failure to investigate hundreds of police use of force cases. The report covers the time frame of February 1, 2021 to July 31, 2021. The link to review the entire 331-page report is here:
On January 22, 2022, in a Channel 4 news story, Shaun Willoughby, had this to say about the 14th Federal Monitor’s Report:
“Dr. Ginger is pointing the finger at APD, saying that they’re doing this intentionally. That’s an absolute absurd joke. It’s a lie. … The monitor was supposed to be here in Albuquerque, helping with technical assistance. He’s doing that over Zoom and over phone calls from a different state. … This needs to come down to action. … That use of force policy needs to be changed immediately. The City of Albuquerque is the plaintiff and they have the right to run this city and run this police department.”
The link to the Court Approved Settlement Agreement is here:
Willoughby’s demand that the “use of force policy needs to be changed immediately” is hypocritical seeing as he sat at the bargaining table to negotiate the policy and he contributed to the full one year delay in drafting the use of force policy. In the past, the Federal Monitor noted the reason for the one year delay was upwards of 50 amendments and changes demanded by the union. Simply put, the police union does not want any kind of a “use of force” or “deadly force policy” and wants sworn officers to have 100% total discretion to decide when to use force or deadly force and under what circumstances. The union reviews such policies as handcuffing its membership from being able to do their job and not what the policies are which is “constitutional policing practices.”
The monitor did live here for a while and it is not just him doing all the work. The monitor and his team of 10 on a regular basis, met with city officials by zoom or have come to the city. For the last 2 years, the pandemic has forced changes to the way business is done. For the last 2 years, the Federal Court has held hearings in the case by zoom and Willoughby has not complained. Ginger is an officer of the court and works for the court and should be able to do the auditing remotely. The federal monitor’s reports and the data being collected is done by a team who review data and work with APD to give them guidance. The Federal Monitor himself has met with community leaders privately and in the past attended public meetings and has made presentations to the city council on his reports.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
According to police officers, they are afraid to do their jobs for fear of being investigated, fired or disciplined. They claim their hands are tied. The police union for 7 years has obstructed the reforms.
It is clear the police union wants the DOJ gone and wants to dictate policy for the department by saying they have a right to identify things that are not working with the DOJ reforms and fix them. The police union also has considerable influence and thus control over its membership, especially sergeants and lieutenants, who are management. Yet sergeants and lieutenants allowed to join the union, and they undercut or interfere with implementation of the reforms.
What the police union feels is interfering with APD sworn from doing their jobs are the following mandated reforms:
The “use of force” and “deadly use of force” policies. The police union does not want any kind of a “use of force” or “deadly force policy” and wants sworn officers to have 100% total discretion to decide when to use force or deadly force can be used and under what circumstances.
The mandatory use of lapel cameras by APD.
APD police can no longer shoot at fleeing cars.
APD police can no longer use “choke holds” to subdue suspects.
APD police need to use less lethal force and not rely on the SWAT unit.
APD police must use de-escalating tactics.
All APD officers must be trained in crisis intervention.
APD management must now hold all subordinate police officers accountable for all levels of violations of standard operating procedures.
APD Police officers are required to intervene when they witness and are concerned about other officers use of force. “Old guard” police officers view it as a “snitch” program where officers turn on fellow officers.
Sworn police officers believing that many standard operating procedures should not be enforced as being too petty or serving no useful function.
The mandatory “paper work” associated with any degree of use of force is too cumbersome.
Mandatory notification to superiors for investigation by police officers who witness another officer’s “excessive use of force” or violations of CASA reforms.
Police reform advocacy in communities tends to ebb and flow as officer involved shooting spike, followed by public outrage only to subside after time. The elapse of time is the biggest threat to police reforms and police reform requires vigilance and aggressive enforcement.
The DOJ likely feels that the FOX News story is protected free speech. It is not at all likely the Department of Justice sees the problem with the FOX News interview and what is happening with the police union public relations antics that have gone virtually unchallenged for the last few years. The DOJ will never seek to hold the APD union responsible for undercutting, interfering and obstructing the implementation of the DOJ consent decree reforms and that is why the Department of Justice is failing in its mission to reform APD.
The DOJ lives in a vacuum not at all concerned that the public relations antics of the union has gone along way to undercut public support to reform APD where it found a culture of aggression 7 years ago.
Below is a nutshell explanation of the DOJ Investigation of APD as well as the Consent dcree.
THE DOJ INVESTGATION
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). You can read the entire report here:
Based on the investigation and the review of excessive use of force and deadly force cases, 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 … . and [the] investigation included a comprehensive review of APD’s operations and the City’s oversight systems.”
The investigative report found a pattern or practice of use of “deadly force” or “excessive use of force” in 4 major areas:
1. The DOJ reviewed all fatal shootings by officers between 2009 and 2012 and found that officers were not justified under federal law in using deadly force in the majority of those incidents. Albuquerque police officers too often used deadly force in an unconstitutional manner in their use of firearms. Officers used deadly force against people who posed a minimal threat, including individuals who posed a threat only to themselves or who were unarmed. Officers also used deadly force in situations where the conduct of the officers heightened the danger and contributed to the need to use force.
2. Albuquerque police officers often used less lethal force in an unconstitutional manner, often used unreasonable physical force without regard for the subject’s safety or the level of threat encountered. The investigation found APD Officers frequently used take-down procedures in ways that unnecessarily increased the harm to the person. Finally, APD officers escalated situations in which force could have been avoided had they instead used de-escalation measures.
3. A significant number of the use of force cases reviewed 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.
4. The investigation found the use of excessive force by APD officers was not isolated or sporadic. The pattern or practice of excessive force stemmed from systemic deficiencies in oversight, training, and policy. Chief among these deficiencies was the department’s failure to implement an objective and rigorous internal accountability system. Force incidents were not properly investigated, documented, or addressed with corrective measures by the command staff.
What differentiates the DOJ’s investigation of APD from the other federal investigations of police departments and consent decrees is that the other consent decrees involve in one form or another the finding of “racial profiling” and use of excessive force or deadly force against minorities. The DOJ’s finding of a “culture of aggression” within APD dealt with APD’s interactions and responses to suspects that were mentally ill and that were having psychotic episodes.
THE COURT APPROVED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
After a full year of negotiations, the 106-page negotiated CASA agreement was filed on November 10, 2014. Under the CASA, the assigned Federal Judge is given the power to enforce terms of the agreement and issue orders for compliance and issue sanctions for noncompliance. The CASA also mandated the hiring of a Federal Court Approved Monitor to audit and prepare compliance reports. The Federal Monitor has no management not control over APD in the day to day operations of the department.
Major reform mandates under the settlement include:
1. 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 implement new use of force and deadly force policies.
2. The CASA mandates the teaching of “constitutional policing” practices and methods as well as mandatory crisis intervention techniques and de-escalation tactics with the mentally ill.
3. The City agreed that APD would overhaul and rewrite all of its “use of force policies” and “deadly force” policies, recruitment procedures, training, internal affairs procedures and implement field supervision of officers.
4. Stricter training and restrictions on the use of nonlethal force is required under the CASA, and it requires more training and controls over the use of Tasers by officers along with quarterly audits of their use.
5. The city agreed to the creation of a Police Oversight Board (POB) as a civilian review agency that independently reviews citizen complaints, serious uses of force and officer-involved shootings by APD. The civilian agency also monitors, reviews and make recommended changes to APD policy on use of force.
6. Under the CASA, the city agreed to the creation of Police Civilian Advisory Councils (CPCs), one in each of the 6 APD area commands, designed to increase community interaction.
7. The CASA broadens and removes obstacles to the types of civilian complaints Internal Affairs and the civilian oversight agency can review.
8. The CASA provides for the appointment of a Federal Court Monitor selected by agreement of the parties with the City to pay for the auditing services of the federal monitor. The primary duties and responsibilities of the federal monitor is to report directly to the federal judge on APD’s compliance with the mandatory reforms.
9. The agreement mandates that APD adopt a new system to hold officers and supervisors accountable for all use of force incidents with personnel procedures implemented and outlining details how use of force cases would be investigated. It requires far more reporting by officers and field supervisors and also requires detailed reviews of those reports up the chain of command within the department. Sergeants and lieutenants are required to be much more involved in field supervision and review of use of force by officers.
10. Under the agreement, officers who point their firearms at a person, but don’t fire, must fill out a use of force report that will be reviewed by field supervisors. That review is separate from a city civilian police oversight agency that will be independent of the department and will review police use of force incidents as well as civilian complaints.
11. The City agreed to create a new “Use of Force Review Board” to oversee all internal affairs investigations of use of force and deadly force. A new chain of command for the review of Internal Affairs reports of officer-involved shootings was created that reviews the Internal Affairs Reports and makes recommendations on discipline or asks for further investigation of an incident, and the board makes recommendations on discipline to the APD Chief. The Use of Force Board is required to make quarterly reports after reviewing all use of force reports to identify trends and policy changes.
12. APD agreed to revise and update its policies on the mandatory use of lapel cameras by all police officers.
13. Under the CASA, the City agreed to abolish the Repeat Offenders Project, known as ROP, within three months of signing the agreement for the reason that members of the unit were involved in a number of the controversial shootings investigated by the DOJ.
14. The agreement provides that if the city fails to implement the reforms or shows bad faith in the implementation of the CASA, the DOJ has the option of filing a federal lawsuit against the city over the city’s unconstitutional policing practices found by the DOJ investigation.
15. Certain types of hand-to-hand techniques are barred under the CASA unless the officer is in a situation that require the use of lethal force if it were available. Neck holds, sometimes called choke-holds, are explicitly forbidden to be used by officers except in situations where lethal force would be authorized.
16. A major change in the CASA bans APD officers from firing their weapons at moving vehicles in all but life-threatening situations.
The CASA provides that it is “designed to ensure police integrity, protect officer safety, and prevent use of excessive force, including unreasonable use of deadly force, by APD.” The settlement agreement requires APD to strive and use its best efforts to come in compliance with all requirements within four years, and if that were to occur, the case would be dismissed.
All documents related to APD’s settlement agreement can be downloaded and reviewed at this city web site link:
The documents include:
The Settlement Agreement between City and the DOJ
APD Progress Reports
Independent Monitor’s Reports
Use of Force Annual Reports
Use of Force Reports