It seems the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) is working faster than the city government in the wake of a Department of Justice (DOJ) report identifying a probable pattern and practice of civil rights abuses by city cops. A SWAT team shot and killed Armand Martin, who was reportedly armed, during a stand-off stemming from a domestic dispute. It was at least the fourth fatal shooting by Albuquerque police this year, and the second since the DOJ report.
Some residents in Albuquerque have had enough. While the city council president insisted the council was going to vote on "some Charter amendment dealing with the organization of the police department" at a meeting Monday night, the meeting was adjourned earlier and the city council members and police chief fled the building when protesters tried to execute an "arrest warrant" against the chief. What happened next, via KOAT in Albuquerque:
A "People's Assembly of Albuquerque" passed three resolutions while in the chambers. One was no confidence votes against [Mayor Richard] Berry, Rob Perry and for an immediate resignation of [the police chief, Gordon] Eden. Another was to have lapel cameras worn by Albuquerque police officers at all times when encountering civilians. Another was the implementation of an independent civilian oversight committee with the powers to discipline, hire and fire any officers.
The police chief said he didn't find the protest helpful. "We are working hard to make proactive improvements now and in conjunction with DOJ recommendations," he told KOAT. While the APD released some lapel video from the most recent shooting, which showed two handguns under Martin, it did not have video that showed the actual shooting. Meanwhile lapel video from the previous post-DOJ shooting, of 19-year-old Mary Hawkes, was unavailable. The police officer who fatally shot her had not turned on his camera.
While the DOJ report "determined that there is reasonable cause to believe that the Albuquerque Police Department is engaged in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including the use of unreasonable deadly force," it stressed the findings shouldn't be taken to mean that cops should "needlessly risk" their lives or safety, and that they should keep getting home safely each night. No APD officers have been charged for any of the misconduct identified in the report.