ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque city councilor wants to take the Albuquerque Police Department out of the equation when it comes to investigating its own deadly police shootings. He wants an outside agency to do the job, but as you can imagine, the city is against the idea.
There has been a lot of criticism in the past over how APD investigates its own shootings and then finds them justified. A city councilor thinks it’s time for a more unbiased approach.
It’s cases where lapel video clearly captures officer-involved shootings that have a lot of people asking questions about police conduct.
“If folks had questions about what [police were] going to do, it might impact the other arrests [police] might have to make in that community,” said City Councilor Pat Davis.
Currently, when it comes to investigating APD officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths, the city uses a multi-agency task force. But, “an APD detective takes the lead in these investigations.”
Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis said there is clearly a conflict of interest.
“[APD] has to investigate itself and has to come to the conclusion that one of their own may not have followed the rules appropriately,” said Councilor Davis.
So, Davis is proposing a new city ordinance that APD not be involved in the actual investigation of these incidents, in order to “better ensure both the fact and appearance of impartiality in these critical investigations.”
“The public trusts having somebody else validate that result,” said Davis.
Thomas Grover, a former APD sergeant turned attorney, now represents officers.
“Cops don’t want to get into shootings, especially now. So they want a fair, objective investigation,” said Grover.
But Grover said he still sees the value in APD being involved in these investigations.
“I don’t think you can exclude APD from having any supplemental support services for that investigation, I think it’s necessary, whether it’s criminalistics processing the crime scene,” said Grover.
Davis said there is always room for improvement.
“This is a process and every time we want to come back and see if there is a better way,” said Davis.
Also in the bill — the idea of having outside prosecutors decide if a police shooting is justified or not, and if a police officer should be charged for a shooting.
The bill will be heard in its first committee hearing Monday night.