ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque police officer is suing the department, claiming they’ve made life rough for him after he came forward with a complaint about inappropriate behavior by one of his bosses. Jared Vander Dussen is representing APD Officer Jonathan Sanchez. The lawsuit claims after reporting an inappropriate relationship between an officer and sergeant in 2020, he was punished.
Vander Dussen explained, “They accused him of insubordination. They then moved him from patrol and moved him into what they called a temporary assignment where they put him inside the building in the robbery department.” According to court documents, the sergeant told Sanchez, “I’m going to do everything I can to get you fired.”
Vander Dussen said, “What they were doing with him is they were saying ‘you’re blowing the whistle, we’re going to retaliate against you and see what we can dig up, do any investigation that we can to try and make it where we can make your life harder.’”
The city recently settled a retaliation lawsuit from 2019 agreeing to pay former Commander Steve Altman $116,000 after he wrote a report on the department’s problems handling the 2016 Trump protest, which his attorney says got him demoted.
Attorneys for Officer Sanchez say they’re hoping for a similar outcome. “Settlement is always possible and we hope for settlement just because that makes it where everybody can go their separate ways and usually we can get it settled to the mutual satisfaction of the parties, that’s always the goal.”
APD won’t comment on pending lawsuits but a spokesperson said since Harold Medina became the chief last year, the department has added the position of superintendent of police reform to strive for a more accountable discipline process.