Summary of Findings from the Department of Justice Investigation of the Albuquerque Police

The 46 page report from the Department of Justice quite damning of the Albuquerque Police and the City of Albuquerque.  the report list a very long laundry list of civil rights violations by the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).  

There have been a few protests of APD’s excessive and unnecessary use of force. One was met with tear gas.

Judge for Yourself:  Read the Report

There are of course supporters of APD. Some of these supporters, like the Chief of Police and the Mayor of Albuquerque (until the last hours before the report was issued), will support the police no matter what (which is in fact among the problems identified in the report). Others may support them in good faith but without knowing the full degree of wrongdoing.

The report is extensive and is worth reading for anyone interested in the many detailed accounts and examples of APD’s excessive and unnecessary use of both deadly and non-lethal force. To pique your interest, here is a list of findings, verbatim from the DOJ report. Upon reading these, it should be clear to most that change is needed and long past due.

There has been a lot of media coverage with allegation of bias on both sides.  The Report is not subtle and it is not confusing.  And it is publicly available.

In any event, a reader can judge for himself or herself whether there needs to be change at APD and the City of Albuquerque.  The pending lawsuits as well as the ones to come will most certainly suggest that change is needed.  It is interesting to note that these suits have and will continue to allege many of the same findings from the report.

Naturally, for litigation purposes, the allegations will continue to be met with denial.  On the other hand, hopefully, this report will move these cases to a more reasonable and timely resolution than in the past.

DOJ Findings

The DOJ findings include 31 pages of detailed incident reviews legal analysis and conclusions on the constitutionality of APD’s history and culture of excessive and unnecessary use of force. The following are simply the paragraph captions. Each has extensive support behind them in the report which is again worth reviewing in its entirety.

One thing worth noting from the outset is the definition and range of non-lethal force to which the report refers extensively. Less than lethal force includes, according to the report, the use of Tasers, batons, bean bags, kicks, arm-bars, strikes and so on. Though these are not necessary lethal, they can be and they can most definitely result in serious and sometimes permanent injuries

Without further delay, here are the findings (verbatim from the paragraph captions):

“A. APD Engages in a Pattern or Practice of Unconstitutional Use of Deadly Force.

1. Albuquerque police officers shot and killed civilians who did not pose an imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death to the officers or others.

2. Albuquerque police officers used deadly force on individuals in crisis who posed no threat to anyone but themselves.

3. Albuquerque police officers’ own recklessness sometimes led to their use of deadly force.

B. APD Engages in a Pattern or Practice of Unconstitutional Use of Less Lethal Force.

1. Albuquerque police officers used force against individuals who were passively resisting and posed a minimal threat.

2. Albuquerque police officers used excessive force against individuals with mental illness, against individuals with impaired faculties, and against individuals who require medical treatment.

C. Systemic Deficiencies Cause or Contribute to the Use of Excessive Force.

1. The Department’s Inadequate Internal Accountability Measures Contribute to the Pattern or Practice of Excessive Force.

a. Supervisory reviews do not address excessive uses of force.

b. Force incidents are not properly documented.

c. Shooting investigations are inadequate.

d. Internal review mechanisms are not implemented.

2. The Department’s Training Deficiencies Contribute to the Pattern or Practice of Unreasonable Use of Force.

3. The Department’s Deficient Policies Contribute to the Pattern or Practice of Unreasonable Use of Force.

4. Under-Use of the Crisis Intervention Team Contributes to the Pattern or Practice of Unconstitutional Force.

5. The Department’s Ineffective Use of Its Tactical Deployments Contributes to the Use of Excessive Force.

6. The Department’s Aggressive Organizational Culture Contributes to Excessive Force Incidents.

7. The Department’s Limited External Oversight Contributes to the Pattern or Practice of Unconstitutional Uses of Force.

8. Inadequate Community Policing Contributes to the Department’s Pattern or Practice of Unconstitutional Force.”

Read the full report on the DOJ Website.

Albuquerque Personal Injury Attorneys