Albuquerque Journal Pete Dinelli Guest Opinion Column “Chief Medina Should Be Fired And Prosecuted In Connection to Crash”

On March 8, the Albuquerque Journal published the following guest opinion column by Pete Dinelli entitled “Chief Medina should be fired and prosecuted in connection to crash”:

“On Feb. 17, APD Chief Harold Medina and his wife were in an unmarked APD truck on their way to participate in a press conference with Mayor Keller when Medina decided to stop and call for APD to clear a homeless encampment.

Medina reported two people getting into a fight, a gun was pulled and pointed toward Medina and his wife, and a shot was fired.

Chief Medina admitted taking off driving through a red light saying there was no oncoming traffic. Medina drove south through three lanes of traffic on Central and T-Boned a gold-colored Ford Mustang. The driver of the Mustang was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Both vehicles were likely totaled.

Medina admitted he did not have his lapel camera on and referred the accident to the superintendent of police reform for investigation. Medina has yet to be charged with any traffic violations.

On the day of the accident, Mayor Keller immediately went to the defense of Chief Medina and said in part:

“This is actually (Medina) … disrupting an altercation, a shooting, trying to do what’s right. (His actions were) above and beyond what you expect from a chief, and I’m grateful for Harold Medina. … (Chief Medina is) arguably the most important person right now in these times in our city.”

On Feb. 20, Medina did an APD personnel video briefing and essentially admitted guilt and said in part “I was the victim of this traffic accident, and it’s a direct impact of what gun violence is doing to our community.” Medina said he thought the Mustang would pass through the intersection and said “I looked to my left, and the intersection was cleared. … (A)nd I thought that the car was going to pass before I got there, and it did not, and unfortunately, I struck a vehicle.”

A released surveillance totally contradicts Medina, revealing oncoming traffic and Medina slowly creeping between two vehicles with Medina then accelerating to cross Central at a high rate of speed and crashing into the Mustang.

Medina violated the following APD Standard Operating Procedures:

  • Medina failed to activate his lapel camera in a timely manner.
  • Chief Medina’s wife is not authorized for police ride-along. He involved his wife in a patrol and enforcement action when he decided to report for removal a homeless encampment and it escalated into a felony incident with Medina’s wife being placed in harm’s way.
  • Chief Medina failed to take his wife to a safe, convenient location before he attempted to take action and investigate.
  • Chief Medina did not have his vehicle’s emergency warning equipment engaged when he made the initiate stop to investigate, nor when he took off to flee from the scene.
  • Chief Medina did not drive his vehicle with “due regard for the safety of others.” He drove with reckless disregard for the safety of others and ran a red light driving his vehicle without the vehicle’s emergency equipment on.
  • Chief Medina did not follow Standard Operating Procedures dealing with the investigation of “Crashes Involving Department Issued Vehicles.”

APD Chief Harold Medina must be held 100% responsible for the car crash critically injuring a private citizen. Chief Medina should be charged with reckless driving and be terminated “for cause” for the violations of APD’s Standard Operating procedures.”

Pete Dinelli is a former Albuquerque city councilor, former chief public safety officer for the city, and former chief deputy district attorney.

The link to the Albuquerque Journal guest column with photos is here:

The headlines and links to 3 related Dinelli blog articles are here:

APD Chief Medina And Wife In Car Crash While Fleeing Gunfire In City Vehicle; Driver Of Other Car Sent to Hospital In Critical Condition; Chief Medina Likely Violated Numerous Standard Operating Procedures; Mayor Tim Keller Should  Place Medina On Administrative Leave And Request BCSO Or State Police To Investigate Incident

Released Video Of Chief Medina’s Car Crash Contradicts Medina’s Version Of Events; Medina And Keller Claim Medina Victim; APD Launches Internal Affairs Investigation And Motor Unit Investigation;  Place Medina On Administrative Leave And Request BCSO Or State Police To Investigate Incident

Mayor Keller Proclaims Critically Injured Driver Involved In Chief’s Accident “Wrong Place At The Wrong Time”; APD Family Ride Policy Under Scrutiny After Chief Medina’s Weekend Crash; Both Keller And Medina Are Embarrassment With Their Words And Actions

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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.