Police Complaints: Pc News

Shooting Of Mentally Disabled Man Spurs Lawsuit

From the Journal story by Jeff Proctor, Shooting Of Mentally Disabled Man Spurs Lawsuit

Hilda Valdez called 911 in November 2010, hoping Albuquerque police officers could help calm down her mentally disabled brother-in-law, who had been drinking and was threatening to harm himself with a knife.

It’s a decision she says she regrets.

Within a few minutes of officers arriving, Russell Tenorio had been shot in his home by APD officer Brian Pitzer, who had announced before entering the residence that he was “going lethal.” Immediately after the bullet struck Tenorio, he was Tasered by officer Doug Moore.

Read the entire article

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.”

Decade of Police Misconduct Costs City $30,000,000

From a story by Jeff Proctor of the Albuquerque Journal, Police Misconduct Costly

The city’s total cost for police misconduct cases during the past decade is more than $30 million when City Hall’s legal bills are included.

The Journal previously reported a tab of roughly $18 million from 2002 to 2011. About $8 million of that total has been charged to city taxpayers since Mayor Richard Berry took office in December 2009 and scrapped his predecessor’s policy of taking nearly all cases against officers to trial.

Officials last week released figures showing another $12.5 million spent on the city’s own legal costs, including staff attorneys, contract attorneys, paralegals, expert witnesses and other costs since 2002.

City paid $8 million to settle lawsuits against police in 2010 and 2011

From a front-page story in the Albuquerque Journal by Jeff Proctor, Police Payouts Soar:

Police misconduct cost Albuquerque taxpayers more than $8 million in 2010 and 2011 combined.

That’s compared with just shy of $10 million paid out in cop cases over the course of the eight years prior.

Shortly after taking office in December 2009, Mayor Richard Berry did away with his predecessor Martin Chávez’s general policy of not settling police misconduct cases — a practice harshly criticized by a federal judge. The change was condemned by the police union, but praised by lawyers who represent plaintiffs.

Read the whole article at The Albuquerque Journal (subscription or ad-supported viewing options available)

Family sues city for hiring cop with history of excessive force complaints

The family of Alan Gomez, shot in 2011 by Sean Wallace, has filed suit against the City of Albuquerque, saying the city knew that Wallace had a history of problems and never should have hired him. From the Albuquerque Journal article by Jeff Proctor:

The Albuquerque Police Department should never have hired Sean Wallace as an officer, because his previous career in law enforcement was “marred by fraud and by excessive force claims, including deadly force,” according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of an unarmed man Wallace fatally shot in May.

Shooter cop's record leads to lawsuit over APD hiring practices

From the Albuquerque Journal article, Lawsuit puts APD hiring on trial by Jeff Proctor

It took two attempts for Brett Lampiris-Tremba to become an Albuquerque police officer.

In 1992, he was unsuccessful even though he lied to APD screeners about whether he had ever smoked marijuana, according to court documents.

Five years later, he admitted to being untruthful in his response to the drug question in the 1992 interview, and Lampiris-Tremba became a cop, the court records state.

During his 14 years with APD, Lampiris-Tremba used an electronic stun gun on a man during a traffic stop but didn’t properly document the incident, fired four shots from his rifle at a suspect’s car, crashed his squad car three times and was twice disciplined for failing to report leave time, the court records state.

For those and other reasons, Lampiris-Tremba shouldn’t have been hired or kept on at the department, according to attorneys for the family of an Iraq war vet who Lampiris-Tremba fatally shot outside a Northeast Heights convenience store in January 2010.

Deceased Lawyer’s Estate To Sue Police

From KOAT News:

The estate of prominent lawyer Mary Han plans to sue over her death, according to [KOAT’s] media partners at the Albuquerque Journal.