Thursday, January 29, 2015

Albuquerque Police Department Culture Called Out in Rolling Stone Article

Illustration by Patrick Concepciîn. Images in illustration: Albuquerque Police Department/AP; © Pat Vasquez-Cunningham/Albuquerque Journal/ZUMA
"In the past five years, the police department of Albuquerque, a city of just 550,000, has managed to kill 28 people — a per-capita kill rate nearly double that of the Chicago police and eight times that of the NYPD. Until now, not one of the officers in those 28 killings had been charged with any crime." 
 (Read more: 
 The article by Nick Pinto is well researched and accurately captures the culture of the APD and how it rolls, especially under the "hands off" leadership of the city of Albuquerque.  The people of Albuquerque have been the losers.  Between 2010 and 2014, over $23 million have been awarded by juries to families of victims of deadly and unlawful police force.  That money comes from the taxpayers.

Now that the Department of Justice is involved, many of Albuquerque's citizens do not feel much will change.  Then the D.A. filed charges against two cops who killed James Boyd, a schizophrenic homeless man,  during an encounter with him for  a  possible misdemeanor of "illegal camping":

"Then this year, on January 12th, Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg made the announcement that her office was pursuing murder charges against officers Perez and Sandy for the death of James Boyd."
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Taken from a video camera worn by an Albuquerque Police Department officer, shows police in a standoff with James Boyd in the Albuquerque foothills just before they fired six shots at him on March 16th, 2014. AP
The Rolling Stone article goes into some detail about what happens when fellow police officers and/or politicians challenge police department ethics and criminal behavior by "bad cops". Such opponents receive immediate retaliation.  D.A. Brandenburg  is now the subject of police protests and political smears.

The "Blue Wall of Silence" that exists within police departments is very much present within the APD. Can the Department of Justice, the District Attorney, or the public hope to pierce that wall?   The Albuquerque public has many questions about the shooting of an undercover APD police officer, Jacob Grant, after he was shot by his lieutenant during a drug bust on January 9th.  What is the real story here?  We have no word at all from the APD as to what happened.  Detective Jacob Grant is still in critical condition after multiple surgeries.  Is a cover up going on to protect police malfeasance? Detective Jacob Grant, before his undercover drug informant role, seems to have been a "stand up" officer serving the public as seen in this January, 2012 news video.  I hope that Officer Jacob Grant survives and gets justice.

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