Police Complaints: Pc News

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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Police use force to suppress comment at Police Oversight Commission

The Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission voted unanimously last night in support of chairperson Linda Martinez. But first, they re-arranged the agenda to prevent the public from speaking about Martinez’ involvement with the Fraternal Order of Police. When citizens protested, armed police officers were called and one man was ejected from the meeting.

Linda Martinez has sat on the Police Oversight Commission since 2008. She is also a national trustee and past president for the Fraternal Order of Police, a pro-cop advocacy group that specifically opposes citizen oversight of the police. This appearance of a conflict of interest was first reported by Police Complaints in October.

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Bambi Folk leaving the Police Oversight Commission

Bambi Folk has been a member of the Police Oversight Commission since 2007. At least in recent months, she has been an almost exclusively destructive presence on the commission, acting rudely to her fellow commissioners, refusing to review evidence in complaint cases, raising personal objections to motions before the board, and throwing bizarre temper tantrums.

She’s finally leaving. Councilor Brad Winter is seeking a candidate to replace Folk on the commission when her term expires this February.

See some of the complaints we have filed against Bambi Folk, which undoubtedly influenced Winter’s decision not to re-appoint her.

Please share this news with your friends and neighbors in city council district 4. A qualified commissioner can make a big difference for police accountability in Albuquerque.

Open Letter to City Councilor Brad Winter regarding Bambi Folk, his appointee to the POC

Brad Winter is the city councilor for Albuquerque District 4. He nominated Bambi Folk in 2007 to represent his district on the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission. We believe Folk’s conduct on the commission has become increasingly unprofessional and obstructive. We sent Winter the following letter earlier this week asking him to look into the matter.

Councilor Winter,

I am very concerned about some of the behavior by your POC appointee Bambi Folk, which I witnessed at last week’s POC meeting. I found much of Ms Folk’s behavior to be unprofessional and to reflect poorly on the Commission, but I was especially disturbed and confused by one particular thing she did.

Commissioners were discussing the creation of a public outreach subcommittee and Folk expressed her disagreement with a good deal of visible annoyance. She ultimately voted against the formation of the committee. Of course, it is her right and duty to vote against any motion that she disagrees with. But it seemed very strange to me that she first volunteered to serve on the committee. Why would she volunteer to serve on a committee that she later voted against? It seemed to me that she knew the vote would go against her and the committee would be created, as indeed it was. I believe she volunteered to serve on the committee because she hopes to be able to subvert it as a member in case she couldn’t out-vote it as a commissioner.

You can see it all here:

http://youtu.be/V9umNXln8ek?t=2h40m5s

Perhaps she has another explanation and she should be asked to give it. To me, though, her behavior has every appearance of being deliberately obstructive.

I hope you will look into this.

Sincerely yours,

Mike Moya

Another letter to Councilor Winter about Commissioner Bambi Folk

Police Oversight activist Charles Arasim sent us this letter, which he sent to Councilor Brad Winter and read aloud at last night’s City Council Meeting.

Councilor Winter,

I demand that you ask for the immediate resignation of your appointee, Ms. Bambi Folk from her position on the Police Oversight Commission.

Ms. Folk’s appalling on air display (currently video documented on the city’s website) at the October 11, 2012 POC meeting clearly revealed her contempt not only for her fellow volunteer commissioners, but also for fair appeal hearings and the constitutional protections due the citizenry at large. Her bullying of her fellow commissioners to approve unseen minutes from the previous month’s Commission meeting clearly demonstrated her lack of knowledge in matters that will become public record.

Additionally, her offer to volunteer as a member and then to later vote against the establishment of a proposed subcommittee, whose task would be to assist the newly hired IRO (Ms. Robin Hammer) in the development of materials for a POC Community Outreach Program, is an unmistakable example of her obstructive nature to the efforts of her fellow Commissioners who are diligently working to restore honor to the disgraceful shambles this Commission has become under her supervision as vice-chair.

Ms. Folk’s on the record statements and actions bear out her failure to her duty and stated mission of her office “to promote a spirit of accountability and communication between the citizens and the Albuquerque Police Department while improving community relations and enhancing public confidence”.

Simply put, the longer Ms. Folk remains on this legally binding Commission, the greater of a legal liability and embarrassment she becomes to not only the city of Albuquerque, but also to the taxpayers you have sworn to protect.

Respectfully Submitted,

Charles R. Arasim

Police Oversight Commission, October 2102 meeting

The newest Police Oversight Commissioners continue to make trouble for their dysfunctional colleagues. This month, they actually insisted on reading documents before approving them. Commissioner Bambi Folk was so overcome by frustration that she ended the meeting by practically shouting at her fellow commissioners, blaming them for making too much work. It was quite a scene.

Commissioner Shine moved that a citizen’s appeal be continued till the following month so that the POC could obtain detailed information from the IRO they would need to form a reasoned judgment. This motion was opposed by Bambi Folk, predictably, but passed, with the approval of the affected citizen.

Bambi Folk scheming to obstruct a committee

Commissioners resolved to form a public outreach committee to assist the IRO with preparing materials that will be used to communicate more effectively with the public about the IRO process.

Most interestingly, Bambi Folk volunteered to serve on this committee (at 2:40:17), and then voted against its creation! (at 2:40:50)

Members of the public would be quite justified in interpreting Folk’s actions as an effort to sabotage a committee she was unable to outvote. Bambi Folk should not be allowed on the public outreach committee. She voted against the formation of this committee. How can she possibly claim to be able to serve on a committee she believes serves no useful purpose?

Citizens who live in City Council District 4 should contact their councilman, Brad Winter, who sponsored Folk’s appointment to the POC, and demand she be removed from the Public Outreach Committee of the Police Oversight Commission.

Report from the Police Oversight Commission's Long-Term Planning Committee

By Charles Arasim, Police Oversight Activist

Having had some experience with the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission I have kept an eye on ongoing events.

During the last few meetings of the POC I have heard the commissioners refer to another board called the LTPC (Long Term Planning Commission). Being that there is no listing of the LTPC on the City of Albuquerque’s website I called the City’s 311 information number only to discover that they had no information on this group. Not letting that be a roadblock, I then made a direct call to the POC office and discovered that the LTPC is a subgroup of three of the POC commissioners (Ms. Valerie St. John, Mr. Richard Sobien, and Ms. Bambi Folk) and that they meet on the last Thursday of each month. It appears that the main purpose of the LTPC meetings is for an open (to the public) discussion between the commissioners and the staff of the POC where they discuss practices and polices.

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Police Oversight Commissioners demand more details (with meeting video)

The Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission marked an important milestone in September, meeting for the first time in a long time with a full board of nine members. Vacant positions and no-show commissioners have been a problem at the POC for years but three recently appointed commissioners— David Cameron, Jonathan Siegel and, new this month, Richard Shine —have filled the empty chairs.

And how! We wrote last month how Commissioner Jonathan Siegel shook up the board’s typical policy of rubber-stamping police exoneration letters without even reading them. This month, Commissioner Richard Shine sat on the board for the first time and demanded—successfully!—that the Independent Review Officer start producing proper reports that will enable the commissioners to make informed, intelligent decisions.

The meeting included a rather emotional appeal by a citizen who had complained that the police did not provide proper services when he was the victim of a crime. Producing a large amount of testimony and information, the investigators stood by their original evaluation of the case and the commissioners mostly accepted their findings. But if the appeal failed to change anyone’s mind about that particular case, it did open some eyes about serious problems in the oversight process.

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