Police Abuse

Albuquerque Police's Grim Record of Shooting Citizens

Rolling Stone reports on the huge costs, in citizen lives and taxpayer dollars, of out-of-control cops.

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Rolling Stone features a detailed and infuriating report on how the city of Albuquerque's police force, via lowering recruitment standards and a general culture of disdain for the lives of a citizenry who the cops see in part as "human waste" and "oxygen thieves" (and that's the stuff they say in public on social network sites), has been involved in 28 killings by gunshot of citizens in just the past five years, with the shooting of mentally ill camper James Boyd perhaps drawing the most attention.

It's voice- and story-filled reporting of good caliber, and worth reading in its entirety. Readers of Reason will certainly be familiar with the all-too-oft-told story of rogue cops shooting citizens without just cause and largely getting away with it, with added details like cops leaking damning information about the D.A. when she dared try criminal prosecutions in the Boyd shooting, and cops shooting each other during drug busts.

For those not temperamentally inclined to feel too bad about anyone who they see in any way stepping over the line and getting shot by cops for it, I like to spell out that on strict cold-blooded grounds of fiscal conservatism, out of control local cops are something cities just can't afford.

So, I will merely quote all the details involving cash payouts on the part of the citizens of the city of Albuquerque for the honor of being protected and served by often trigger-happy nuts:

when [Sean] Wallace shot [Alan] Gomez to death as he stood in the doorway, Gomez's hands were either empty or, according to some accounts, holding a plastic spoon. Wallace claimed he thought he saw a gun. It was his third shooting in seven years, the second in which he'd killed someone. Prosecutors ruled the shooting justified. The Gomez family sued the city and settled for $900,000…..

After Detective Trey Economidy shot Jacob Mitschelen, 29, during a traffic- stop in 2011, it became clear that Economidy hadn't qualified on the department's range with the Kimber .45 he used to kill Mitschelen. (Economidy, who said Mitschelen had picked up a gun, was not charged, and the victim's family settled with the city for $300,000.)….

[Former officer Sam] Costales [who dared speak out against misconduct by fellow cops and was harassed for it] sued [then APD chief] Schultz and the APD in federal court, and in 2009 a jury found that Schultz had violated Costales' civil rights. The city eventually reached an almost $1 million settlement with Costales.

Two days before the DOJ singled out the city's SWAT team for special criticism in its blistering report, [new police chief Gordon] Eden announced that his deputy chief would be Robert Huntsman, who had spent 10 years as the APD lieutenant in charge of special units, including SWAT. A month later, Eden made another top-level appointment, promoting Tim Gonterman to major. Eight years earlier, a federal jury had awarded a homeless African-American man named Jerome Hall $300,000 in a suit alleging that Gonterman, then a patrol officer, had applied a Taser to the unarmed Hall so relentlessly that Hall was eventually hospitalized with burns to his face, stomach, back, neck, shoulders and calf. According to his lawyer, Hall also lost part of his ear to the Taser burns.

In the past day or so, Ed Krayewski has reported here on out-of-control shooting cops in Denver, and on federal calls for the use of special prosecutors to investigate their local potential crimes.

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  1. Wait – Rolling Stone?

    The National Enquirer has better journalistic standards. No joke.

    1. Those jokers fooled me once, I’m going to need a lot of convincing before I swallow their stuff again.

    2. That’s exactly what I was thinking.

      Hopefully this article wasn’t authored by Sabrina Erdely.

  2. Rolling Stone features-

    Stop right there.

  3. Rolling Stone ? No credibility.

    1. Brian Williams next gig?

      1. Probably. At least RS really did get shot down.

  4. Bigger dickhead:
    1) Oliver from The Brady Bunch
    2) Sam from Diff’rent Strokes
    3) Brian from NBC nightly News

    1. This might be in the wrong thread.

    2. Seven from Married With Children, who was so bad they dropped him.

    3. Sloopy, that list isn’t nearly long enough.

  5. Dictators don’t need money or religion… they just need a cause. Evidently New Mexico cops have found their cause like the medieval religion called brutal Catholicism. Bet most of these cops are Catholics? Makes sense actually…

    1. Dictators don’t need money or religion

      Bet most of these cops are Catholics? Makes sense actually…

      Okaaaaaaayyyyy……

      1. They might also be fucking horrible fucking sleazebags which has nothing to do with being Catholic…

        Fukin sorry about offending you bro….

      2. It’s Agile Cyborg. He’s probably on one of his acid trips right now, and is about to make the comments thread a total wasteland.

  6. It’s a shame Rolling Stone sacrificed all of their credibility by trying to badger Bob Dylan into confessing his love for Dear Leader and then incredulously falling for an obvious SJW huckster, because this is actually a worthy report.

    1. Pushing agendas and SJW bullshit matters far more to the schmucks who write for and run RS than their credibility does.

      1. Stopped clocks, etc.

  7. cops shooting each other during drug busts.

    Heh, just the mental image warms my cold heart.

    But, you notice they never shoot each other when investigating murders or car thefts? Just during drug busts, prostitution busts, gambling busts.

    I wonder what if there’s a causal mechanism behind this correlation.

  8. Albuquerque has a pretty toxic crime/law enforcement culture. The city has a huge crime rate, which in turn hardens the cops even further and leads them to treat citizen encounters with extreme prejudice, which further exacerbates criminal behavior. It’s an absolutely vicious cycle.

    There’s a neighborhood strip by the Air Force base called the War Zone that the city designated as the “International District” (celebrate diversity!) in order to lessen the stigma for people living there. The irony is that the crime rate is largely confined to pretty strict sectors of the city–areas along Central Avenue (the old Route 66) on the east side, around the highways, and parts of the southwest quadrant. Once you get north of Menaul, it’s mostly middle-class neighborhoods and the crime rate drops precipitously. the problem is that the cops spend so much time and effort tamping down all the bullshit that happens in the bad parts of town that they’ve adopted a combat mentality that is essentially a cultural component now. It’s basically Balko’s thesis applied at an organic level.

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