37 shootings, some justified, some likely not. Everyone has an opinion and everyone agrees: it’s time for a different approach.
UPDATE, Thu. Apr 10, 2014: 10:05am: The US Department of Justice announced this morning that it’s 500 day investigation into the pattern and practice of use of force violations had ended and found “serious Constitutional problems” in the Albuquerque Police Department. 46 page report concludes majority of use of force incidents they reviewed used unnecessary force.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocyln Samuels reports that since opening the investigation in 2012, the review team has conducted an “exhaustive” review of the department. Their examination sought out facts and reasons underlying the problems identified.
“We have determined that structural and systemic deficiencies — including insufficient oversight, inadequate training and ineffective policies — contributed to the use of unreasonable force,” says the report. The pattern and practice of use of force violates federal law.
She also cites a “culture of acceptance of the use of excessive force.”
From the USDOJ findings report: “The pattern or practice of excessive force stems from systemic deficiencies in oversight, training, and policy. Chief among these deficiencies is the department’s failure to implement an objective and rigorous internal accountability system.”
Many New Mexicans believe this is not just an Albuquerque issue. Big issues like the eroding of behavioral health services and family support programs like CYFD, new “shoot first” training for all New Mexico cops and “smaller is better” government policies that cut holes in social safety nets all impact people, many of whom ultimately end up encountering officers in a time of crisis.
It’s time for our state and city to start healing, to come together to acknowledge the problems, suggest solutions and move forward together. Doing that starts with dialogue.
That’s why we’re teaming up with community groups and community leaders to start a public dialogue between our community, APD and city hall.
This new campaign, #ProtectAndServeAPD, helps you share your stories, good and bad, about police interactions and share what you think it means to protect and serve our amazing city.
Here’s KOB Eyewitness News 4’s story on the launch:
Here’s how it works: Visit the campaign’s Facebook page (or website if you aren’t on Facebook). Read and watch some of the stories from Albuquerquians who are ready for dialogue, and react to some of the DOJ’s findings as they are released. Share your comments (keep them constructive) and help our city move towards a solution.
Have a story you’d like to share? Record a short video and submit it so we can share it with the world.
Albuquerque is too special to become a city divided. We’re committed to a positive dialogue that gets action. Are you?
It’s not us versus them. We’re all in this together.
Pat, Marsha, Alex, Nathan & Rachael
The ProgressNowNM Team