Mayor, police chief respond to DOJ findings

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Mayor R.J. Berry and Police Chief Gorden Eden learned of the Department of Justice findings on Thursday when the public did.

When asked why the city didn’t make changes before the DOJ stepped in, the mayor said a lot of the findings were new to him.

Then, he dodged a lot of questions.

“I think we have a shared vision here,” Mayor Berry said.

He said the city and the DOJ are on the same page moving forward, but looking back, through the pages of DOJ’s report, it contradicts what the mayor has been saying since he took office four years ago.

Mayor Berry has consistently said APD does not have a serious problem.

Thursday, KRQE News 13 asked him, who was wrong?

“Well, look, we have a lot more information today than we had yesterday and some of it frankly we couldn’t get without DOJ’s involvement,” Berry said.

In 2011, the city hired a law enforcement think tank to look at APD’s use of force, but the DOJ said that nine-month study didn’t do it right.

Now, Mayor Berry said he is embracing what he calls, the sometimes “difficult” findings of the DOJ report.

“We haven’t done enough,” he said. “They looked at cases, both during and before my administration. It doesn’t matter. I’m the mayor of the city today. We have taken efforts and made efforts in the last four years. We have had some positive movement, but we need to do more. We recognize that.”

Chief Gorden Eden, who took the reigns in February, said he is looking forward to working with DOJ.

“As a new chief, for me, this is new road map,” Eden said.

But even as new chief, he is not off the hook.

The DOJ report mentions the chief’s comments after the deadly police shooting of James Boyd in the Foothills.

KRQE’s Chris McKee asked, “Do you believe this was a justified shooting?”

Chief Eden answered, “Do I believe it was a justified shooting? Yes, if you follow case law, Garner v. Tennessee.”

DOJ said that just shows more work is needed to change the culture of APD.

In response the chief said Thursday, “I said after that press conference, those comments were premature and should not have even addressed that question until after the investigation had been completed and that investigation had a thorough analysis by proper legal authority to make that determination.”

The chief and his command staff had a meeting Thursday afternoon with DOJ to talk more specifically about the report and changes for the department.

The mayor said the city will look at outside consultants to help implement those changes.

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