Albuquerque Police News

Police Complaints Sues City for Withholding Public Records

Police Complaints has filed a civil complaint against the City of Albuquerque for illegally suppressing information about police misconduct.

We reported last month how the city has begun censoring citizen complaints against police officers. Citizen police complaints are public records in New Mexico and the public has the right to inspect them. The city continues to provide the records on request, but removes virtually all the specific information. The nearly blank pages are completely useless to anyone investigating police misconduct.

Now Police Complaints brought suit against the city to force them to provide proper records. From the KOAT News story by Anna Velasquez, City faces suit over document redacting:

The city is the subject of a lawsuit that claims officials are withholding information the public has the right to see.

Online watchdog group Policecomplaints.info, which investigates law enforcement departments and officers across the country, said that despite repeated complaints, the city continues to improperly withhold public information.

Anna Martinez has filed a lawsuit against the city on behalf of the watchdog group.

“Everything is redacted other than the officer’s name, and it’s not even a full name there that you can see,” she said, looking at one of the documents in question. “There is no other information within this citizen’s complaint.”

Albuquerque Cop Caught Undressing in Public

An Albuquerque cop has been caught on video changing his clothes in public, right behind his police car. A citizen took a video of the spectacle and posted it on YouTube.

According to a citizen police complaint, the officer stood behind his marked police car one afternoon last November and stripped down to his boxer shorts in full view of the public, including women and children. The police car, which is identified in the complaint by ID number and license plate, is assigned to Steven Arias of the APD SWAT team. Arias was recently the subject of an internal affairs investigation.

Journal Editorial: APD Oversight Enters the World of Farce

From today’s Albuquerque Journal:

The new lows reached by Albuquerque’s Police Oversight Commission would be funny if the stakes didn’t involve life and death.

How else to describe a commission that proposes censuring a member, then spends around 20 minutes looking up the word “censure”? Or reads thoughts in a dead man’s head and surmises he wanted to commit “suicide by cop” because while he was dying he told an officer “the gun wasn’t loaded. I wouldn’t have shot you guys”?

But then, this is the same commission that threw out a citizen who wanted to comment on an item on its public meeting agenda. The same commission that unanimously endorsed its chairwoman, who belongs to a police support group that opposes citizen review of law enforcement.

Cue the calliope and the clown car.

Read the entire editorial

Oversight Commissioner Bambi Folk Breaks the Law One Last Time

The Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission held a special meeting today to nullify its previous censure of Commissioner Richard Shine. The commissioners were informed by POC counsel Doris Duhigg and city attorney James Toureg that their action to censure Shine was null and void because it was done without proper public notice.

The motion to censure was made by outgoing Commissioner Bambi Folk. Folk’s term is expiring this month and her sponsoring councilmember has announced she will not be re-appointed.

Folk declined to renew her motion to censure her fellow commissioner and instead simply read a statement about the importance of the First Amendment.

Police Complaints has obtained a copy of Folk’s original motion to censure, only a portion of which Folk read aloud at the meeting. The text she left unread, but distributed to her fellow commissioners, is rife with gratuitous, incoherent insults, such as the following peevish tirade:

Whereas, Commissioner Shine, through his unbearably long winded motions, manipulations and superior attitude, a once smooth flowing process has essentially ground the Police Oversight Function to a halt.

Whereas, Commissioner Shine has been conceited, arrogant and condescending to fellow Commissioners, IRO staff and the public.

Shine stated at the last regular meeting that Folk’s motion appeared to be motivated by personal animus.

Good riddance Bambi Folk.

Police Oversight Commission More Dysfunctional than Ever

Richard Shine has admitted he was wrong to tell people they could not criticize the chair of the Police Oversight Commission. Now he has been censured by his colleagues, the same colleagues who sat silently by while Chair Linda Martinez forcibly ejected her critics from last month’s meeting.

Chairperson Linda Martinez threw a man out of the December meeting of the Police Oversight Commission for objecting to her affiliation with the Fraternal Order of Police. All the other commissioners sat by and watched her do it. Only Commissioner Siegel raised any objection, and none of the commissioners exercised their right to appeal the chair’s ruling and force a vote on the matter—not even after Shine reminded them that they had that right.

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Retired Marine William Barker Named to Replace Martinez on POC

Councilor Dan Lewis has nominated educator and retired Marine William Barker for a position on the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission. If Barker’s nomination is approved by the Mayor, he will take the position being vacated by Linda Martinez of the Fraternal Order of Police.

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IRO Trey Flynt resigns under investigation

Albuquerque city employee Trey Flynt has resigned after KRQE News caught him selling counterfeit merchandise and Police Complaints exposed his hateful, sexist website

Alibi: Police Oversight Commission Snuffs Dissent

The Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission just keeps getting more and more bad press for their outrageous actions at last month’s meeting. From an editorial by Evan Rohar published in today’s Alibi, Police Oversight Commission Snuffs Dissent

Before public comment, Martinez limited discussion during the period to a single new agenda item and “general comments,” anticipating dissenting views from the public over the resolution adopted earlier in the session. She strayed from her usual instructions to testifiers, which in the past included only a ban on discussing pending cases or mentioning officers’ names.

On cue, Commissioner Richard Shine interrupted Valdez, the first speaker, as he drew attention to the commission’s lack of scruples in handling the issue. “You do not have a right…to say anything you want during public comment period,” said Shine. The crowd was livid, insisting that under the constitution they have the right to address the commission’s integrity.

Shine hypocritically cited the first amendment’s freedom of association provision as justification for keeping Martinez on the commission. In his next breath he asked for the removal of a dissenting citizen who had every right to speak before the commission and the public. Commissioner Jonathan Siegel offered the only voice opposing the body’s handling of the situation.

Councilor says Police Oversight Commissioner will be Replaced

The city councilor who nominated a member of the Fraternal Order of Police to the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission says he will replace her in February.

Ms [Linda] Martinez has been affiliated with the Fraternal Order of Police. She is a volunteer. And as far as I can tell, she’s served honorably. And her term is up in February and we’re going to find somebody else. And we’re going to try to find someone who is not, perhaps, with that direct affiliation. —City Councilor Don Harris

Harris’ remarks start at about 00:36:20 in the video below. Harris was replying to comments from Kenneth Ellis, who objected to allowing an FOP member to serve on the board that reviews police misconduct. Mr Ellis’ son was killed by APD officer Brett Lampiris-Tremba in 2010.

Please email Councilor Harris at and thank him for doing the right thing to restore credibility to the Police Oversight Commission. The Fraternal Order of Police has no business reviewing police misconduct.

Journal editorial: Police Oversight Commission loses all credibility

From the editorial in today’s Albuquerque Journal:

[Police Oversight C]ommissioners failed on all counts regarding a clear-cut complaint against themselves. If Martinez truly “believe(d) in police oversight,” she would have resigned from one position or the other. If her eight fellow board members did, they would have counseled her to step down from the city panel.

With comments like this, how can it not be obvious that Linda Martinez has a public appearance of bias that lessens public trust in the work of the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission ?

Read the complete editorial, Police Oversight Commission loses all credibility