Department of Justice report outlines APD issues

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) –  The rosy picture painted by Mayor Tim Keller that former Albuquerque Police Chief Mike Geier simply wanted to retire seems to be falling apart. In a new Department of Justice report released Monday, investigators say APD has completely failed to police itself, pointing to major problems with the former police chief and training academy commander.

The latest DOJ report outlines multiple cases where officers failed to accurately report use of force cases. The report says leadership is to blame, though when Geier was forced out in September he claimed he had no idea why.

The Department of Justice’s 350-page progress report continuously asserts that all of the problems laid out in it can be traced back to leadership. In one instance, an officer with his lapel camera on it repeatedly tried to close a cruiser door on a handcuffed suspect’s head. Investigators say in the video, it’s clear the suspect was suffering from mental health issues and called the officer’s behavior borderline “sadistic.”

Investigators also say despite a monitoring team reviewing the video, no one did anything to further investigate it. Another big issue the report outlines is the lack of training for APD cadets.

Investigators again blamed those issues on the former academy commander Angela Byrd who was fired on Friday. The Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association says this is a fresh start.

“There is no doubt in my mind that parting ways with Mike Geier and Angela Byrd are great things, they’re good things for the Albuquerque Police Department so we can move forward we’ve said that from the very beginning. We had questions about his leadership and ability to move his department forward,” said Shaun Willoughby, President of Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association.

Willoughby does believe the rank and file are doing a much better job than the report lays out and believes officers understand the importance of reporting excessive force. In a statement, Interim Chief Harold Medina says Mayor Keller already addressed the number one criticism in the report by replacing Chief Geier.

Read Full DOJ Report

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