Police Complaints in the News

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.”

IRO Trey Flynt resigns under investigation

Albuquerque city employee Trey Flynt has resigned after KRQE News caught him selling counterfeit merchandise and Police Complaints exposed his hateful, sexist website

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.

Journal editorial: Police Oversight Commission loses all credibility

From the editorial in today’s Albuquerque Journal:

[Police Oversight C]ommissioners failed on all counts regarding a clear-cut complaint against themselves. If Martinez truly “believe(d) in police oversight,” she would have resigned from one position or the other. If her eight fellow board members did, they would have counseled her to step down from the city panel.

With comments like this, how can it not be obvious that Linda Martinez has a public appearance of bias that lessens public trust in the work of the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission ?

Read the complete editorial, Police Oversight Commission loses all credibility

Critics of Police Oversight Commission silenced

KRQE did a great story last night about the Police Oversight Commission. How can the commissioners hope to build public trust in the police oversight process when they behave like this? They have betrayed the public trust and gained nothing. They certainly haven’t stopped the people from talking about the obvious pro-cop bias at the POC.

From the KRQE News story by Alex Tomlin:

Albuquerque police have come under a lot of scrutiny lately, so you could see why there’d be some upset people when it surfaced that a group charged with policing the police is headed by a woman who is quite friendly with APD.

On Thursday critics took their complaints to the POC but Police Oversight Commission Chair Linda Martinez had one of those critics kicked out of the meeting.

Moments earlier commissioners, who are named by the City Council and the Mayor, decided to allow Martinez to stay on the board even though it was revealed last month that she is also part of the Fraternal Order of Police—a group that opposes the Police Oversight Commission.

See all our coverage of the Fraternal Order of Police conflict.

Journal Story: Oversight Panel Backs Chair

From the story by Patrick Lohmann of the Journal, Oversight Panel Backs Chair

The Police Oversight Commission voted unanimously Thursday to support its chairwoman, who has been criticized in recent weeks for being a member of a police organization that opposes civilian review of law enforcement.

The commission’s decision did not sit well with some members of the audience, particularly after commissioners tried to limit public discussion on the topic. Commissioners said after their vote that discussion about a conflict of interest for POC chair Linda Martinez was, at that point, irrelevant.

Journal photo by Patrick Lohmann: Officers escort Andres Valdez, executive director of Vecinos United, from the Police Oversight Commission meeting Thursday.

Local Press Reports on our Story about a City Security Guard

Police Complaints broke the story last week of a city security guard, Andy Fitzgerald, who attacked and choked a man for filming an arrest. Many local media outlets picked up our exclusive report.

See all our coverage of the security guard attack

Press Coverage on Investigator Trey Flynt's Website

We exposed the hateful, sexist website of a city employee who investigates citizen complaints against police officers. Here’s some of the media coverage our story received.

The screenshots shown in both newscasts were captured exclusively by Police Complaints before the website was taken offline.

Police Complaints on the nightly news again

Royale Da at KOAT did a great story about Police Complaints. From the story, Website seeks to monitor Albuquerque police:

A website calls for citizens to document police activity in order to hold the Albuquerque Police Department accountable.

Policecomplaints.info offers information gathered from public records, with things like formal complaints filed against officers and lapel camera video of arrests.

The web site even asks citizens to “adopt” a police officer.

Remember, we are always looking for people to adopt a cop and help us hold them accountable. And please like our Facebook page and share our stories with your Facebook friends.

Journal Editorial: FOP on Police Oversight Panel is a "Disservice"

From an editorial in this morning’s Albuquerque Journal, You’re Either All-In On Police Oversight, or Not:

While Linda Martinez says she believes in police oversight, the public and police officers should be asking who, exactly, do her actions serve when she also is an official of an organization that opposes a civilian role. Her dual role is a disservice to both organizations.