Police Complaints: Pc News

Police Oversight Commission in turmoil — finally!

Meetings of the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission are usually very smooth and orderly. Sure, every meeting starts with victims of police misconduct speaking out in pain and outrage, but that part is over quickly and just as quickly forgotten while the commissioners rush through their typical routine of rubber-stamping exoneration letters.

The city employees who are paid to investigate complaints against other city employees needn’t fear any difficult or probing questions from the commissioners, so they turn in vague, cursory reports, short on details and censored to eliminate officer names, disciplinary action, and other publicly available information that might embarrass the police union. Investigators insinuate that citizen complainants are attention-seeking trouble-makers, and everyone present treats the proceedings as an empty ritual, required by red tape but accomplishing nothing, to be run through as quickly and quietly as possible.

It’s a neat and well-rehearsed little farce. And all it takes is one man taking his duties seriously to screw it all up for everyone else. Recently-appointed Commissioner Jonathan Siegel made the radical move at last week’s meeting of listening and asking questions. It really shook things up.

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Are our Police Oversight Commissioners fit for duty?

Activist Charles Arasim sat in on a meeting of the Police Oversight Commission and observed commissioners Bambi Folk and Richard Sobien, who occasionally appeared “oblivious to the proceedings” due to use of prescription drugs.

Below, Mr Arasim’s letter to the mayor and the chief of police:

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