APD Chief Medina Mockingly Tells Internal Affairs Officers And Superintendent of  Police Reform “Let’s Appease Everyone” With Outside Investigation Of His Crash; APD’S Investigation Of Medina A Sham As APD Finds Crash As “Non Preventable” And Decides Not To Charge Chief

On February 17 APD Chief Harold Medina and his wife were in a city unmarked APD truck on their way to a press conference with Mayor Tim Keller. Medina decided to stop and call APD to clear a homeless encampment   Medina witnessed two people fighting, a gun was pulled and pointed at Medina and a shot was fired. In response Medina fled from the scene and drove through a red light and he T-boned a 1966 Ford Mustang. Chief Medina admitted he ran a red light. The other driver sustained a broken collarbone, shoulder blade, eight broken ribs, and a collapsed lung and was taken to the hospital in critical condition where he underwent 7 hours of surgery for injuries. Medina referred the car crash to APD Internal Affairs and the Superintendent of Police Reform Eric Garcia for investigation.

On April 3 Superintendent Garcia gave an update to the Albuquerque City Council on the Internal Affairs investigation of Chief Medina.  He said the APD Fatal Crash unit conducted an investigation, prepared a final report and forwarded it to the Crash Review Board.  The report concluded that while Chief Medina “did enter an intersection failing to obey the traffic control devise (sic) without activating his emergency lights and sirens … resulting in a vehicle crash causing injury”  the car crash was “non preventable”.  The APD Crash Review Board voted unanimously to deem Medina’s crash “non-preventable.”  APD has now said that Chief Medina will not be charged.

In response to Superintendent Garcia’s remarks that the crash was “non-preventable” City Councilor Louie Sanchez said this:

If the chief would have made a police action and executed his police powers and made an arrest immediately, we would not have a traffic accident. We would not have an investigation. How can you say that this is not preventable?”


On Tuesday, February 20, Chief Medina did a “Chief’s Corner” video briefing which was sent to all APD personnel.  He announced that it was a “special edition” of his Chief’s corner to discuss the February 17 car crash with APD personnel and he gave his version of what happened and what lead up to the crash. Medina said on the video he thought the oncoming Mustang would pass through intersection before he got there. Medina said this in his video statement:

“I looked to my left, and the intersection was cleared. … And I thought that the car was going to pass before I got there, and it did not, and unfortunately, I struck a vehicle.”

APD lapel camera video of Chief Medina being interviewed by APD police soon after the February 18 crash has been released. In the video, Medina says this:

“The individual that was facing east through a handgun, I heard the shot go off and still had the handgun up in his. We tried to get across out of the line of fire because my wife was on the passenger side as we tried to get out of the line of fire so I could get out and try to confront the individual. As we were crossing, we struck that gold card. And I think I think I tried to slow down and still trying to clear the intersection and get away from the spot.”

The link to the quoted news source is here:


On February 21, APD released a surveillance video that shows Chief Harold Medina running a red light and crashing into the Ford Mustang seriously injuring the driver of the Mustang.   The surveillance video reveals that the intersection was not clear as Medina has proclaimed when Medina ran the red light. The surveillance video shows Medina  cutting  in front of another car before accelerating at a high rate of speed through the intersection and T-boning the other vehicle. The video shows Medina drives his truck into westbound oncoming traffic, he drives between two vehicles, one of which appears to stop to avoid a crash. Medina’s truck then accelerates at a high rate of speed and crosses the two west bound lanes of Central and crashes into the classic Mustang that was headed East.

The crash resulted in both vehicles doing a half circle turn in a counterclockwise direction. Medina’s truck came to rest against the southeast corner of the intersection with front end and rear end damage including a collapsed rear wheel reflecting an apparent broken axle. The Mustang was struck on the driver’s side with the door ripped opened and it also struck the south curb just east of the intersection and skid and rolled east for a distance before coming to rest, facing west, in the eastbound lane.


On Wednesday, April 3, the Albuquerque City Council voted on a City Council Resolution to remove and terminate APD Chief Harold Medina for cause. However, no final vote was taken and the Resolution was withdrawn by Westside City Councilor Louie Sanchez. Prior to the City Council meeting APD Chief Medina ordered all APD sworn and civilian staff to attend personnel meetings where he discussed the “No Confidence Resolution”, the APD bribery and conspiracy scandal to dismiss DWI cases and his February 17 car crash. All the meetings were held at the APD academy. According to sources, 4 meetings were ordered.

KOAT TV Target 7 obtained audio recordings of one of the meetings where  Chief Harold Medina talked  about the investigations into himself and the department.  During the meeting Chief  Medina made highly critical remarks of the city council’s attempts to remove him as Chief. He tells the assembled officers and civilian employees and makes it very clear he has no intent of going anywhere and will remain chief.

Sources have confirmed that Medina refers to himself in the third person and attacks his critics, including city councilors and even bloggers at times individually by name, and says the person “does not like Chief”.  Medina simply does not understand that it’s not an issue of people hating him as an individual, but people taking issue with his  incompetency and what he has done to APD to destroy it. Medina goes so far as to say he intends to remain as Chief until December 2025 when Mayor Tim Keller’s second term ends.

It’s common knowledge that Mayor Tim Keller is preparing to seek a third term in 2025 and Medina will without a doubt be an issue in the race for Mayor. Mayor Tim Keller has repeatedly gone to the defense of Medina, he says Medina has done a good job and has refused to terminate Medina saying with a straight face that  Chief Medina “is arguably the most important person right now in these times in our city.”

During the meeting KOAT TV reported on, Chief Medina can be heard making comments about the FBI investigation into APD’s DWI Unit. Medina said this:

“We trace it back to some of the people who have resigned who were in DWI in the early 2010s. The ongoing investigation will continue. There’s not widespread corruption within the department.”

Medina mentions concerns regarding the corruption investigation and how it will affect the DOJ consent decree and the federal oversight of the department. Medina says this:

“I worry about some paragraphs in terms of investigation, and we’ll see how this goes. ”

Chief Medina then talks about his February 17 car crash. At the meeting are Internal Affairs investigators and Superintendent of Police Reform Eric Garcia.  Some of the Internal Affairs officers in attendance are assigned to investigate whether Chief  Medina violated any policies when he ran a red light and crashed into another car. Medina says this:

“Once again, one city councilor [known to be City Councilor Louie Sanchez] decides this case should be shipped off to another agency for investigation of the traffic crash. … .  What are they going to discover? That I didn’t cause the accident. Like what is in dispute? We probably will send it off somewhere else so they can look at it, to appease everybody.”

The Chief then criticized the city council, which took a vote of no confidence later that week, saying he will be fine because he plans to retire soon.

“Am I pissed? Yes, I am pissed. But you know what? I’m fine. I’ll go through that tomorrow. I have my plan. They have their plan. We will play this game until December 2025, when I decide to retire.”

He then concludes by talking about how  years ago Superintendent of Police Reform Eric Garcia reprimanded him. Garcia was standing next to the chief during the meeting, he did not dispute anything the Chief was saying as if he had no problem with what Medina was saying to APD sworn.  Medina jokes about how Garcia is now the Superintendent of Police Reform and is in charge of disciplining the chief. Medina said this:

“The last person to discipline me was [Eric Garcia]  the day I got promoted to sergeant. Eric Garcia gave me a letter of reprimand as my lieutenant. Thanks, Eric. And hopefully, you will give me that last discipline in the course of my career.”



The Office of Internal Affairs and the Office of Superintendent of Police reform are supposed to be fair and impartial in their investigations of police misconduct. They are supposed to be above reproach and above influence of the Chief, the Mayor and City Council. No Chief can dictate nor order the outcome of any Internal Affairs Investigation, but that does not stop Medina from trying.

It is downright obscene that Chief Harold Medina would have mandatory staff meetings to discuss his car crash in front of all sworn personnel which included the very Internal Affairs officers who are investigating him as well as the Superintendent of Police Reform Eric Garcia who stood beside the Chief during his comments which was totally inappropriate.  It is clear Medina was lobbying both the Internal Affairs officers and the Superintendent for Police Reform for a favorable outcome of their investigations. Their presence at the mandatory staff meeting sent the undisputable message to all  APD sworn personnel and civilian staff they have the Chief’s  back and that the investigations are going nowhere and neither is the Chief.


It is obscene and an insult to the general public’s intelligence that the APD Crash Review Board voted unanimously to deem Chief Medina’s crash as “non-preventable.” It is an absolute farce that Chief Medina’s car crash that put another driver in the hospital in critical condition was ruled “unavoidable” by APD officers who are under his command. It’s a no brainer that an independent, outside investigation should have been ordered immediately by Mayor Tim Keller and that Medina should have been placed on administrative leave pending that investigation. Instead, we have a sham of an investigation by police officers who work for Medina and who he is clearly influencing.  (Editor’s Note: The postscript to this article provides the definitions of “preventable” and “non preventable” crashes.)

Simply put, the crash was  preventable  and could have been avoided by simply stopping at Central, or turning right to go West on Central.  Instead, Medina ran through a red light in a panic and floored the  gas pedal of his vehicle  and went forward.  The APD Crash Review Board voting unanimously to deem Medina’s crash “non-preventable” is nothing more than a cover up of a preventable accident that gives Chief Medina a defense and APD an excuse not to charge Medina with reckless driving. The finding will allow the City to argue the other driver was contributorily negligent as to crash responsibility.

Surveillance video shows Medina cutting in front of another car before accelerating at a high rate of speed through the intersection. Medina’s actions and the car crash fit the very definition of reckless driving by a person who “drives any vehicle carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others and without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger … any person or property.”  APD policy for responding to calls says when officers are responding to a call they must “exercise due regard for the safety of all persons and property.” It adds that they have right of way while responding to a call, but it does not relieve them from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all others.


Based on all the news accounts and the comments, statements and the admissions against interest and admissions of liability made by Chief Harold Medina, it is clear Medina violated one or more of APD’s Standard Operating Procedures. Medina has his wife in the vehicle as he engaged in a law enforcement call.  Chief Medina has admitted that he did not have his body camera on. Medina has admitted he did not have his police radio on in his truck which is a standard operating procedure violation.  Medina also admitted he did not turn his body camera on in a timely manner which is a violation APD Standard Operating procedures. At no point did Medina have any emergency equipment on during or after the event which is another violation.


APD has repeatedly shown it is unable to police itself.  APD’s inability to police itself is proven by the Department of Justice Court Approved Settlement agreement that mandates 271 reforms after it was found that APD engaged in a pattern of excessive use of force and deadly force and finding a culture of aggression within APD. It has been proven recently that it can not police itself by the DWI dismissal and bribery scandal that is still being investigated by the FBI and that has resulted in the resignations of 5 APD officers. And now APD has found that the February 17 crash was none preventable and that Medina will not be charged. The February 17 crash should have been investigated by another law enforcement agency to eliminate any doubt of a cover-up by APD.

Any other APD police officer involved in such a crash that caused serious bodily injury to another would have been charged and immediately placed on administrative leave and investigated and perhaps terminated. Any private citizen involved with such an accident would have been charged and arrested and hauled off to jail. APD Chief Harold Medina must be held 100% responsible for the car crash critically injuring another.  Chief Medina should be charged with Reckless Driving and be terminated “for cause” for the numerous violations of APD’s Standard Operating procedures.




It is 2-50 of APD’s Standard Operating Procedures that creates the Crash Review Board. The purpose of the Crash Review Board (CRB) is to review and classify all Albuquerque Police Department-issued vehicle crashes as preventable or non-preventable. The CRB reviews all preventable crashes for cause analysis to prevent similar types of crashes in the future

Section 2-50-3 of APD’s Standard Operating procedures that defines a crash as “An unintended event resulting in injury or damage involving one (1) or more motor vehicles as defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and defines a  Non-Crash as Damage caused by an intentional act that is not a crash, under normal driving conditions, which strikes a motor vehicle likely to cause damage this includes, but is not limited to a Pursuit Intervention (PIT) maneuver.”

Section 2-50-3 C  of APD’s Standard Operating procedures defines a “Non-Preventable” crash as  “A crash that involved a motor vehicle that could not have been averted by an act, or failure to act, by the driver when the driver exercised normal judgment and foresight and was unable to avoid it or which steps would have risked causing another kind of mishap.”

Section 2-50-3 D of APD’s Standard Operating procedures defines a “Preventable Crash” as “A crash in which the driver failed to do everything that reasonably could have been  done to avoid the crash, and if a driver, who exercises normal judgment and foresight could have foreseen the possibility of the crash, and avoided it by taking steps within their control which would not have risked causing another kind of mishap.”

Links to related blog articles are here:




This entry was posted in Opinions by . Bookmark the permalink.


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.