ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As the city prepares to ask a federal judge to loosen the strings of the Department of Justice agreement on reforming the Albuquerque Police Department, one man says he’s going to do anything he can to stop that.
Kenneth Ellis has been a vocal critic of APD since 2010 after his son was killed by an officer. Once he heard Mayor Tim Keller’s announcement at the State of the City Address on Saturday, he says it’s now his priority to put an end to Keller’s plan.
“I’m going to make sure that I can say and do all that I can do to make sure that doesn’t happen because we absolutely need police accountability. They need to be held accountable for their actions,” says Ellis.
Ellis’ son was an Iraq war vet. He was shot dead by APD at a 7-Eleven parking lot as he was holding a gun to his own head. That controversial shooting cost the city $8 million.
On Saturday, the mayor announced his office will ask a federal judge to let the city out of its contract with the DOJ appointed monitor by saying APD has already satisfied three-quarters of the mandated changes from the agreement and has a plan in place for the rest.
“For about 60-70 paragraphs, we are either at that two-mile marker where we’re ready to take off the training wheels and go on our own, or we’re actually at the finish line where we don’t think we need outside monitoring anymore,” says Sarita Nair, the Chief Administrative Officer.
The city says there will be a public hearing next month in federal court. That’s where they will ask a judge to hear their motion to let them do the last 70 items from the agreement on their own without the monitor.
The city has spent more than $5.5 million on that monitor over the past five years. The city says it would like to free up money and manpower to continue the fight on crime.
In a statement, the mayor’s office responded to Ellis’ criticism by saying this administration has worked with the DOJ, not against them. Even without a monitor, they’ve made lasting and positive changes.