ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A monitor has said the Albuquerque Police Department is making considerable progress toward reform but has also displayed a lack of cooperation.
Albuquerque police are about two years into a process brought on by a Department of Justice investigation that found officers had a pattern of excessive force and a “culture of aggression.”
Throughout the process, independent monitor James Ginger has been analyzing how the police are complying with the reform, the Albuquerque Journal reported (http://bit.ly/2qY8EEH ).
The city, Department of Justice attorneys, Ginger, the police union and stakeholders gathered Wednesday for a hearing on Ginger’s latest progress report. The report from last month shows considerable progress has been made but also states cases of “deliberate non-compliance” have been found.
Ginger noticed a “palpable shift” in the department leadership’s attitude toward reforming, he said.
U.S. District Judge Robert Brack said at the hearing that he finds the negative note by Ginger troubling. He questioned why the “elephant in the room” hadn’t been addressed.
“It speaks to an attitude,” Brack said. “And I can’t have that attitude.”
Brack also asked whether the federal agency is changing its approach to the reform effort in Albuquerque given that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said the department plans to back off from consent decrees that about 20 police departments around the country, including Albuquerque, are under.
Department of Justice Civil Rights Attorney Luis Saucedo said the department remains committed to the reform effort. He did not address Brack’s question regarding the monitor’s criticisms.
“We appreciate the Department of Justice acknowledging the significant progress that has been made and we agree that there is still a significant amount of work to do and we will work together toward that goal,” City Attorney Jessica Hernandez said. “We hope that as we really start to focus on this next phase of operational compliance that there is a shared common goal of really making sure everyone understands the data and has all their questions answered.”
Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com