Police Complaints: Pc News

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

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.

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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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.

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.

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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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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News about Fraternal Order of Police shocks Police Oversight Commissioners

Police Complaints dropped a bombshell on the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission this week: Linda Martinez, chairperson of the Commission, is also a member, national trustee, and past-president of the pro-cop advocacy group, the Fraternal Order of Police—a group that opposes citizen oversight of police misconduct issues.

Our exposé was reported today on the front page of the Albuquerque Journal and has been picked up by national news services. Martinez told the Journal she didn’t know that the organization she’s served for eight years opposes citizen review boards like the Police Oversight Commission.

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Report from the Police Oversight Commission's Long-Term Planning Committee

By Charles Arasim, Police Oversight Activist

Having had some experience with the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission I have kept an eye on ongoing events.

During the last few meetings of the POC I have heard the commissioners refer to another board called the LTPC (Long Term Planning Commission). Being that there is no listing of the LTPC on the City of Albuquerque’s website I called the City’s 311 information number only to discover that they had no information on this group. Not letting that be a roadblock, I then made a direct call to the POC office and discovered that the LTPC is a subgroup of three of the POC commissioners (Ms. Valerie St. John, Mr. Richard Sobien, and Ms. Bambi Folk) and that they meet on the last Thursday of each month. It appears that the main purpose of the LTPC meetings is for an open (to the public) discussion between the commissioners and the staff of the POC where they discuss practices and polices.

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Police Oversight Commissioners demand more details (with meeting video)

The Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission marked an important milestone in September, meeting for the first time in a long time with a full board of nine members. Vacant positions and no-show commissioners have been a problem at the POC for years but three recently appointed commissioners— David Cameron, Jonathan Siegel and, new this month, Richard Shine —have filled the empty chairs.

And how! We wrote last month how Commissioner Jonathan Siegel shook up the board’s typical policy of rubber-stamping police exoneration letters without even reading them. This month, Commissioner Richard Shine sat on the board for the first time and demanded—successfully!—that the Independent Review Officer start producing proper reports that will enable the commissioners to make informed, intelligent decisions.

The meeting included a rather emotional appeal by a citizen who had complained that the police did not provide proper services when he was the victim of a crime. Producing a large amount of testimony and information, the investigators stood by their original evaluation of the case and the commissioners mostly accepted their findings. But if the appeal failed to change anyone’s mind about that particular case, it did open some eyes about serious problems in the oversight process.

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