Police Complaints: Pc News

Cop in deadly collision has history covering up fellow cop's car wreck

Sergeant Adam Casaus of the Albuquerque Police Department is being investigated for his role in a fatal car accident. He’s probably hoping for a quick and casual investigation. Something like the quick and casual investigation he made two years ago when he responded to a five-car accident caused by another Albuquerque Police Officer.

According to public records obtained by Police Complaints, Officer Spencer Guillory was speeding recklessly through a residential Albuquerque neighborhood in November 2011. Guillory tore through an intersection, without emergency lights or sirens, at speeds as high as 80 MPH. He collided with a citizen’s car, lost control of his vehicle, then smashed into three more cars, cutting a swath of destruction 300 feet long. Miraculously, there were no serious injuries.

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City withholding locations of surveillance cameras

The Albuquerque Police are bragging about a new tool that lets them spy on law-abiding citizens through a city-wide network of more than 100 video cameras. But they refuse to tell us where all these cameras are located.

From the Albuquerque Journal story by Jeff Proctor, APD video crime center debuts:

For nearly two years, the Albuquerque Police Department has quietly been at work on a controversial law enforcement strategy in which live camera feeds are piped from more than 100 cameras around the city into a video command center at police headquarters to provide officers in the field with real-time information…. Each of the cameras, which have been in place to aid city traffic engineers for years, records on a 24-hour loop.

APD’s shiny new panopticon incorporates facial recognition software and real-time integration with numerous public and private databases. Concerns for privacy and civil rights are obvious to everyone except, of course, the police.

But there’s one kind of privacy, the police are always willing to protect: their own. We’ve been trying to learn the locations of all the spy cameras that the police can tap into, but so far, they’ve refused to disclose this information in full.

We submitted the following request for this data more than four months ago:

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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.

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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.”

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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New Cover-Up: Albuquerque Police Illegally Suppressing Public Complaints

Complaints against police officers are public records in New Mexico. At PoliceComplaints.info, we have published hundreds of pages of citizen police complaints. We have never had any difficulty obtaining these public records.

Until now.

The Albuquerque Police Department is the records custodian of citizen police complaints. They recently instituted a new policy of censoring these public records. They still send them out on demand, but not before redacting them, blocking out virtually all the relevant information. This new APD policy makes a complete mockery of the citizens’ right to inspect records and hold police officers accountable for misconduct.

Last year, Police Complaints requested and received citizen complaints against APD officer Steve Hindi, one of Albuquerque’s most complained-about cops. And last month, a journalist from KUNM radio requested the same documents.

The sample documents below illustrate APD’s new public records policy.

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Albuquerque man choked and handcuffed for filming an arrest

A City of Albuquerque security guard attacked and beat a man for filming him. And it’s all on tape in this exclusive story from Police Complaints.

Andy Fitzgerald works out of the Alvarado Transportation Center, downtown Albuquerque’s main bus and train station. He’s not a police officer, just a city-employed security guard. Last August, he arrested a man who, he says, was intoxicated. When another man began filming the arrest, things got ugly.

Police Complaints interviewed the second man and obtained the video footage he captured with his smart phone. He says he was just a bystander and doesn’t even know the man Fitzgerald had arrested. But when he walked to this bus stop after work, something looked suspicious, so he started filming it.

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APD claims to have lost every single video from the Prisoner Transport Center

A local police oversight activist was recently researching a citizen’s claim of excessive force. The activist made an IPRA demand to inspect the surveillance video taken on a particular day at the Prisoner Transport Unit, where arrestees are processed before being transported to the jail. He had hoped to see video evidence supporting or disproving the citizen’s claims.

The police department claims to have lost that video. Incredibly, they claim to have lost every single video taken at the PTU before August 8, 2012. Here is their response:

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