Who watches the watchmen? The Fraternal Order of Police!

An exclusive exposé by Police Complaints of Albuquerque

The woman who runs Albuquerque’s Police Oversight Commission is also active in the Fraternal Order of Police, a group that opposes citizen review of police misconduct. We reported it here first. Our story has since gotten national attention.

Our full coverage appears below. Summary of the story so far:

  • Police Complaints first broke the exclusive, original story on October 18, 2012
  • Concerned citizens sent complaints to city councilors and mayor’s staff. No response ever received.
  • Representatives from Police Complaints announced the news at the last POC meeting —and were rebuked by commissioners for springing unwelcome news on them without advance warning.
  • Martinez confirmed by a unanimous vote of confidence at December 2012 meeting. Martinez disallows public comment and threatens protesters with forcible removal by the police.

Councilor says Police Oversight Commissioner will be Replaced

The city councilor who nominated a member of the Fraternal Order of Police to the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission says he will replace her in February.

Ms [Linda] Martinez has been affiliated with the Fraternal Order of Police. She is a volunteer. And as far as I can tell, she’s served honorably. And her term is up in February and we’re going to find somebody else. And we’re going to try to find someone who is not, perhaps, with that direct affiliation. —City Councilor Don Harris

Harris’ remarks start at about 00:36:20 in the video below. Harris was replying to comments from Kenneth Ellis, who objected to allowing an FOP member to serve on the board that reviews police misconduct. Mr Ellis’ son was killed by APD officer Brett Lampiris-Tremba in 2010.

Please email Councilor Harris at and thank him for doing the right thing to restore credibility to the Police Oversight Commission. The Fraternal Order of Police has no business reviewing police misconduct.

Alibi: Police Oversight Commission Snuffs Dissent

The Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission just keeps getting more and more bad press for their outrageous actions at last month’s meeting. From an editorial by Evan Rohar published in today’s Alibi, Police Oversight Commission Snuffs Dissent

Before public comment, Martinez limited discussion during the period to a single new agenda item and “general comments,” anticipating dissenting views from the public over the resolution adopted earlier in the session. She strayed from her usual instructions to testifiers, which in the past included only a ban on discussing pending cases or mentioning officers’ names.

On cue, Commissioner Richard Shine interrupted Valdez, the first speaker, as he drew attention to the commission’s lack of scruples in handling the issue. “You do not have a right…to say anything you want during public comment period,” said Shine. The crowd was livid, insisting that under the constitution they have the right to address the commission’s integrity.

Shine hypocritically cited the first amendment’s freedom of association provision as justification for keeping Martinez on the commission. In his next breath he asked for the removal of a dissenting citizen who had every right to speak before the commission and the public. Commissioner Jonathan Siegel offered the only voice opposing the body’s handling of the situation.

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 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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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.

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