ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – “These are issues that every city deals with.”
But as Mayor RJ Berry acknowledged at a Thursday evening press conference, the controversial police shooting of a homeless man in Albuquerque’s foothills and an ongoing federal investigation into APD has put the City of Albuquerque in a very hot spotlight.
That shooting has led to protests locally, attention internationally and cyber threats.
What initially put fuel on the fire was Chief Gorden Eden’s comments last Friday that the shooting was justified. Berry condemned the comment on Monday, well after the shooting and comment went viral. Thursday he explained why it took him three days to publicly discuss the video and Eden’s remarks.
“Well when the video came out Friday I was out of town and then I was briefed,” Berry said. ” I cut [the trip] a day short, got back here, was briefed on Sunday, briefed on Monday morning and made comments Monday afternoon.”
Berry says Eden is not on the hot seat for that comment.
“I don’t see a comment that he’s agreed was premature being made as a reason to fire him,” Berry said. “So that’s, at this point, not on the table from me.”
The Boyd shooting and Department of Justice investigation into the culture and use of force at APD has some, including City Council President Ken Sanchez calling for a federal takeover of the city police force.
“I don’t agree that that would be a great idea,” Berry said. “We’ve met with national experts from around the country, including the DOJ, and nobody at this point has come to me as a mayor and said, ‘The DOJ should take over the police department of Albuquerque.'”
Berry said Eden and himself are already working on reforms to help officers better deescalate situations going forward. Specifics could be released in the next couple of weeks.
The DOJ’s findings are expected in the coming weeks as well. They could change the way APD trains and hires officers and how officers are investigated and punished.
KRQE News 13 has also learned that there could be federal criminal charges coming soon against specific officers in some cases.