Police Complaints: Pc News

Our official complaint about Trey Flynt's unprofessional behavior

Last week, we broke the story about city investigator Trey Flynt’s website, which publishes hateful jokes about rape, pedophilia and domestic abuse.

Below is the letter we sent to Trey’s supervisor, Independent Review Officer Robin Hammer.

The morning after we sent this email, Trey Flynt’s website was taken offline. Robin Hammer later confirmed that Flynt is under investigation.

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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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Trey Flynt's Other Side Job: Website with Jokes about Rape and Domestic Abuse

Trey Flynt isn’t just a scam artist. He’s also an adolescent pig.

That’s the picture that emerges from a website Flynt has owned and operated since at least 2008, the Albuquerque Fantasy Football League. The site is ostensibly a sports fan site but it’s also filled with crude, soft-porn photos of skinny women in bikinis and thongs. is linked from the bottom of each page.

Note: The links to Trey Flynt’s website are no longer working. See the comments for info.

Like selling counterfeit merchandise, hosting a spank-ware site is a pretty disreputable side job for a city investigator. But things go from unprofessional to downright revolting in the ‘humor’ section. Flynt warns that “Some of it might be offensive (the best humor usually is),” but even that disclaimer couldn’t prepare us for the truly hateful, sexist jokes we found on Trey Flynt’s website.

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Citizens object to Trey Flynt investigating their complaints

We have several clients with pending complaints against APD officers. Three of those complaints have been assigned to investigator Trey Flynt. Our clients have all requested that a different investigator be assigned. If you have a CPC assigned to Trey Flynt, we recommend that you do the same. Here is the text of the objection we sent to IRO on behalf of our clients:

We showed our client the media coverage of Trey Flynt’s illegal counterfeit business and, as a result, our client does not want Mr Flynt investigating his complaint. Everyone in Albuquerque saw Mr Flynt lie on camera when he said he “didn’t know” whether his jerseys were real or fake. It was an outright lie. Granted, lying to a TV reporter hardly constitutes perjury, but it does say something about Mr Flynt’s honesty and integrity. We do not believe Mr Flynt can be trusted to conduct a fair and honest investigation. If you do not re-assign this complaint to another investigator, our client will likely appeal to the POC any finding he disagrees with at least partly on the grounds of Mr Flynt’s shaky credibility. Then the POC can discuss Mr Flynt’s integrity in a public, televised forum.

"Unfounded" vs "Not Sustained" (corrected)

At last week’s POC meeting, commissioners reviewed a citizen complaint alleging that an APD officer had behaved rudely. The IRO called the complaint “unfounded” because the preponderance of evidence did not support the claim. Commissioner Siegel suggested a more appropriate finding would be “Not Sustained” but IRO Hammer repeated that “Unfounded” was the correct finding.

We believe that Mr Siegel had the better of that disagreement. In fact, a proper finding might even be “Exonerated”.

Calling a complaint “Unfounded” is only appropriate (Correction: See comments below) when a citizen makes a claim that, even if true, would not be a violation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). For example, a complaint that an officer was chewing gum would be unfounded since there is no SOP (that we know of) that prohibits gum-chewing. In this case, the citizen claimed rudeness, which is a violation of SOP (1-04-1-F), but the evidence disproved the claim.

Therefore, the finding should have been “Exonerated”.

(UPDATE: This story has been corrected. See comments.)

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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New Independent Review Officer Confirmed

The Albuquerque City Council has confirmed Robin Hammer’s appointment to the position of Internal Review Officer. Hammer will be responsible for investigating all citizen complaints against local police officers.

During the confirmation proceedings, Hammer promised that, if confirmed, she would lead the Police Oversight Commission to take more proactive measures looking at trends and identifying improvements that can be proposed to the Albuquerque Police Department. She pointed out that the current ordinance permitted the Police Oversight Commission only to make recommendations, not mandate any specific discipline, but that it would be worthwhile to examine the ordinance itself to see if it could be improved.

Councilman Ken Sanchez expressed his concern that real change was needed in the entire police oversight process and asked Hammer to consider setting up a special meeting in the near future with the public and with all affected branches of government to plan out future goals and progress.

On the search for an new IRO

Carolyn Clarkson’s article Wanted: Police Investigator, just published in the Alibi, explains the role of the IRO, Independent Review Officer, who investigates all citizen complaints against Albuquerque Police Officers. Mayor Berry has nominated Robin Hammer for the position and the City Council will consider approving her nomination at their August 6 meeting.

Changes at the Police Oversight Commission

New commissioners and a tough new nominee for the position of Independent Review Officer may presage improvements in store for the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission.

For months, the Police Oversight Commission has been short-staffed with several vacancies on their board. At least two new commissioners have been appointed recently to fill these long-standing vacancies. The new additions have already changed the tenor of recent meetings just by asking more questions than their predecessors do.

Meanwhile, Mayor Richard Berry has nominated prosecutor Robin Hammer to be the next Independent Review Officer. The Independent Review Officer investigates all complaints filed by Albuquerque citizens against Albuquerque police officers. Based on her interview with the Police Oversight Commission, she appears to be a strong candidate who can claim the support of citizens concerned about police accountability.

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POC Meeting, June 2012

Includes interviews of applicants for the position of Internal Review Officer and approval of a shooting case.

Interview of Mayor Berry’s nominee Robin Hammer begins at 37:27