The U.S. Justice Department plans a thorough investigation of the Albuquerque Police Department after a string of officer-involved shootings and a number of high-profile abuse cases alleging the use of excessive and deadly force.
Tuesday’s announcement, first reported by the Albuquerque Journal, comes months after the police department in New Mexico’s biggest city was the target of protests, lawsuits and demands for wide-scale agency overhaul from civil rights advocates amid 25 officer-involved shootings - 17 of them fatal - since 2010.
In addition, the Albuquerque Police Department has been plagued in recent months by a number of high-profile cases alleging excessive force by officers, including some cases caught on video.
One video showed officers giving each other celebratory “belly bumps” after beating a suspected car thief in a parking garage. Another clip showed an officer illegally entering an apartment and using a stun gun on one suspect, then punching another suspect after he had surrendered.
The department also was forced to change its social media policy involving officers after a detective shot and killed a man last year and listed his occupation as “human waste disposal” on his Facebook page. The detective was later suspended and transferred out of the department’s gang unit to field services.
This article doesn’t mention the Department’s Repeat Offender Project using a noose as its symbol for twenty years. Maybe because they quit doing it last June, when it became public. It also doesn’t mention that the police union was paying up to $500 to officers involved in fatal shootings. That ended in April.
I think they may have contributed to the Justice Department’s decision to launch a full-scale investigation.