Police Complaints: Pc News

Volunteer Opportunity: Redacting Citizen Complaint Files

We are building a Registry of all citizen complaints against the Albuquerque police department. Now we need your help so we can publish more info about more bad cops.

Police Complaints has a backlog of about 80 citizen complaint files. These files document numerous cases of misconduct by Albuquerque Police Officers. Before we can publish them on our website, we need to redact them, blocking out the personal information of the citizens who filed the complaints in order to protect their privacy.

Can you volunteer to redact just five or ten citizen police complaints? It is easy work, but very detail-oriented. You need to be computer- and internet-literate and you need a passion for exposing police misconduct. We will email you the files in PDF format. You can upload each file to a website we give you. There you can use simple point-and-click tools to cover up all the personal info you find in the document. Then you just email the document back to us for publishing in the Complaints Registry.

Please email if you can help. Thank you!

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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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 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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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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Exclusive Video: City Employee Attacks Man with Video Camera

Tune in Tuesday for another exclusive story from Police Complaints.

Is it legal to video-record city employees? A city security guard attacks a man for filming him. And an Albuquerque police officer tries to cover it up. An exclusive report this Tuesday at www.policecomplaints.info

Don’t miss our next exclusive story. Please “like” our Facebook page for all the latest. And please share our page with your friends. Our fans hear it first!

City Employees Prevent Citizens from Communicating with the POC

At last month’s meeting of the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission, one of the commissioners complained when we made an announcement during public comments. All the commissioners (except one) were quite surprised when we told them that their colleague Linda Martinez is also active in the Fraternal Order of Police. Commissioner Shine asked why we didn’t tell them about it sooner instead of announcing unexpectedly it during public comments.

It sounds like a great idea. If we could have told them sooner, it might have enabled them to address the problem at that meeting, instead of postponing it to the next one. Certainly we’d have been happy to get the information to them sooner. But exactly how were we supposed to do that?

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