ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - News 13 has filed a lawsuit against the Albuquerque Police Department, demanding it release lapel camera video of two incidents we requested last month.
According to sources, the video shows officers who may have roughed up some suspects, then celebrated after the suspect's arrest. Sources also said it shows officers misusing their Tasers.
News 13 Special Assignments Reporter Kim Holland got a tip and requested the video on July 10. For weeks, the Albuquerque Police Department did not respond, which is a violation of the Inspection of Public Records Act.
Under the law, any agency is required to respond within 15 days.
On Aug. 2, APD and the city said it would not hand over the video because the officers involved are now the subject of a criminal investigation.
The first of two incidents happened May 30, when police were trying to arrest a man accused of stealing his girlfriend's car. The suspect ran away and ended up hiding under a car, according to the criminal complaint. The officers had to use Tasers to get him out.
The very next day on May 31, the same trio of officers busted suspects selling pot at a park near Marquette Avenue NE and Tennessee Street. The suspects also fled on food, and again, officers used tasers to subdue one of them, according to documents.
What exactly the officers might have done wrong in either of the incidents isn't clear because APD refuses to release the video. But whatever happened, an APD spokesperson confirmed it was enough to prompt an Internal Affairs investigation.
The city also said it's launched a criminal investigation. The three officers involved have been placed on administrative assignment, which means they have been removed from their regular duties but have not been placed on leave.
An APD spokesperson also said the officers' written reports about the incidents don't match what's see on the video.
Late Friday, City Attorney David Tourek released this statement to KRQE:
"The City has every intention of releasing the requested video to KRQE and other news outlets simultaneously. The City is withholding the video at this time under the law enforcement records exception of the Inspection of Public Records Act due to the fact that law enforcement is currently interviewing witnesses in a criminal case. The release of the video prior to their statements being taken could compromise what they say and the integrity of the investigation. Upon completion of the investigation, the full video will be released."
News 13 filed the lawsuit as a matter of transparency because the lapel videos are public records and our requests were well before any investigation. Our lawsuit does not accuse the officers of doing anything wrong. It simply is about the public's right to see the video.
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