Police Complaints: Pc News

February meeting of the Police Oversight Commission

Attorney Kari Morrissey gives a civil rights presentation to the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission, then is censored by city attorneys when she starts saying things they don’t like. A long 4 hour meeting with numerous public comments and review of citizen police complaints.

From the Albuquerque Journal story by Jeff Proctor, Lawyer: I was censored at POC meeting:

A local lawyer says she was “censored” by city attorneys and the independent review officer who cut short her civil rights law presentation to the Police Oversight Commission on Thursday evening.

The reason?

Kari Morrissey, who frequently handles civil rights cases against APD, was describing for commissioners what she said were contradictions between the department’s policies and federal case law regarding witness detention.

For example, she said, federal case law states that witnesses may only be detained for 90 minutes. Anything beyond that requires an arrest and probable cause. APD policies have no time limits, and she said officers frequently hold witnesses for hours at a time, take away their cellphones and lock them in the backs of police cars.

About halfway through a scheduled hour-long presentation, Morrissey said Deputy City Attorney Kathy Levy stopped the talk and asked her to step into the hallway. They were joined by City Attorney David Tourek and Robin Hammer, the city’s independent review officer.

Read the full story

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

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.

5 more paragraphs

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

Journal Story: Oversight Panel Backs Chair

From the story by Patrick Lohmann of the Journal, Oversight Panel Backs Chair

The Police Oversight Commission voted unanimously Thursday to support its chairwoman, who has been criticized in recent weeks for being a member of a police organization that opposes civilian review of law enforcement.

The commission’s decision did not sit well with some members of the audience, particularly after commissioners tried to limit public discussion on the topic. Commissioners said after their vote that discussion about a conflict of interest for POC chair Linda Martinez was, at that point, irrelevant.

Journal photo by Patrick Lohmann: Officers escort Andres Valdez, executive director of Vecinos United, from the Police Oversight Commission meeting Thursday.

Local Press Reports on our Story about a City Security Guard

Police Complaints broke the story last week of a city security guard, Andy Fitzgerald, who attacked and choked a man for filming an arrest. Many local media outlets picked up our exclusive report.

See all our coverage of the security guard attack

Journal Editorial: FOP on Police Oversight Panel is a "Disservice"

From an editorial in this morning’s Albuquerque Journal, You’re Either All-In On Police Oversight, or Not:

While Linda Martinez says she believes in police oversight, the public and police officers should be asking who, exactly, do her actions serve when she also is an official of an organization that opposes a civilian role. Her dual role is a disservice to both organizations.

Officer Frank Tillman suspended—not fired—for sex texts to teen girl

From an Albuquerque Journal story by Jeff Proctor, APD Releases Texts From Officer to Teen:

Albuquerque police officials on Tuesday released a series of text messages between an officer and an underage girl he had written up for a traffic offense, which the officer later dismissed.

The texts, dated June 10, 11 and 12, show officer Frank Tillman asking the girl whether she’s still together with her boyfriend, telling her he wants to kiss her and that her being pregnant “is hot and its (sic) a turn on.”

That probe ended with IA investigators and a deputy chief recommending Tillman be fired.

But Schultz, who has the final say on discipline for officers, chose instead to suspend Tillman for 160 hours without pay and reassign him from the traffic unit to a job where he will respond to other types of calls.

We hope the “other types of calls” Tillman will be answering in his new position never involve someone’s underage daughter, but the Chief isn’t making any promises.

Officer David Taylor's Wife Arrested for Illegal Gun Purchases

From the article by Jeff Proctor in the Albuquerque Journal, Cop’s Wife Allegedly Bought Guns For Accused Killer:

The wife of an Albuquerque police officer has been arrested on charges that she bought handguns for a convicted drug dealer and accused murderer who used one of the weapons to shoot at police during a SWAT standoff last month, the Journal has learned.

Elizabeth P. Taylor, 30, allegedly purchased at least four handguns for 32-year-old Christopher Blattner, aka Chris Blatiner, who used at least one of them to fire shots at officers who were trying to arrest him on a warrant at his Albuquerque home on Aug. 22….

Taylor’s husband, officer David M. Taylor, was placed on leave late last month, then moved to desk duty Thursday while APD criminal investigators try to sort out whether he “knew or should’ve known about his wife’s [alleged] activities,” Police Chief Ray Schultz said in an interview.

Officer David Taylor later went on participate in an illegal arrest of a man carrying weapons.

Officer Andrew Hsu Disciplined over Beating

Article by Jeff Proctor in the Albuquerque Journal, 3 APD Officers Suspended Without Pay

And on May 16, APD officer Andrew Hsu was suspended four days and required to get four hours of training on arrest procedures, de-escalation techniques and report writing. A cellphone video shows Hsu punching and trying to detain [a citizen] after a fight had broken out on Central Avenue Downtown. Hsu can be heard cursing at [the citizen].