ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A former Albuquerque Police Department commander turned lieutenant, is now suing the city for demoting him. He claims after writing up a report on APD’s handling of the Trump protest in 2016, he was retaliated against.
When Donald Trump came to downtown Albuquerque on the campaign trail in 2016, trouble followed. Rioters threw rocks and barricades and started fires. APD was then under fire for its handling of the situation.
More than a year after the Trump rally, one-time commander with APD Steve Altman submitted an “after-action report” on what transpired that night. It was 29 pages and was sent over to Mayor Berry’s legal department; but a few months later when Mayor Tim Keller took office, Altman was suddenly demoted to lieutenant.
“They basically said he was over-promoted, which is basically a made-up reason from what we can see, and they demoted him in order so that they could put one of their political buddies it seems, into that position,” said attorney A. Blair Dunn.
Dunn is representing Altman in his lawsuit filed against the department. In it, Altman says he addressed new Police Chief Micheal Geier after being demoted, to ask him why. He said Geier told him it had to do with his report on the Trump rally.
“He did his job, he did a very good job reviewing that, he wasn’t responsible for what happened at the rally, he was just responsible for reviewing it. And there’s no deficiencies that have ever been outlined to him with that report,” said Dunn.
Dunn said they want to hold APD accountable for demoting a good cop.
“That’s really possibly what this is too, is that there’s some sensitivity from other officers or other higher-ups in the department that are saying, ‘hey, you were critical of us, you didn’t have our backs and you didn’t just whitewash this for us,'” he said.
Before Altman was demoted, he was the commander overseeing the airport. When he asked about why he was demoted, he says he was also told he was not capable of handling major incidents.
As a policy, the city doesn’t comment on pending litigation. KRQE News 13 has reached out and is waiting to hear back.