FBI approval not required for APD video release

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – News 13 has been asking the Albuquerque Police Department repeatedly for the lapel cam video from the officer who fired at James Boyd first.

That’s because there is something about that video that has the FBI’s attention.

APD keeps insisting the public can’t see it because the Feds say so, but an FBI letter tells a different story.

“Lapel videos from the police are public record,” said Greg Williams of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government.

That is why Albuquerque Police released the video from the helmet camera of one of two officers who fatally shot a homeless camper in the Foothills.

However, when pressed for lapel video from Keith Sandy, the other officer, Mayor R.J. Berry defers to APD.

“I leave the release of that information up to the police department,” Mayor Berry said.

APD defers to the Feds.

“The Department of Justice has asked us not to provide any more information to the media or make any public comment about the Boyd case, and I have to honor that agreement,” Chief Gorden Eden said on Wednesday.

In other words, APD needs permission from the FBI.

“We are not going to release anything until we get proper authorization from the Department of Justice,” he said.

However, KRQE has obtained the letter the FBI sent to Chief Eden, and it never says APD needs the Feds’ permission to release evidence.

It only requests that APD’s release of evidence “be delayed, if possible, under the law enforcement exemption of the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act.”

Williams with NMFOG said that basically means APD needs to follow state law and can only withhold records that reveal confidential information or people accused but not charged with a crime.

“It is a very narrow exception that is only intended to protect a very limited range of confidential materials,” he said. “Nothing in a lapel video is typically confidential.”

Williams said state law is clear.

“For APD to delay in any way or hold off on producing these videos in this case where it is police conduct at issue is a real problem,” Williams said.

In a letter to KRQE, a city attorney did deny our request for the lapel video, citing the law enforcement exemption.

The FBI is investigating the Boyd shooting.

The DOJ’s findings on the culture at APD and its use of force could be out any day, possibly along with federal criminal charges against individual officers in some of the cases that were reviewed.

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