ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The circumstances behind APD’s officer-involved shootings since 2010 have all been different, but there are three things that tie them all together.
APD led the investigation into the incidents, didn’t find any of the shootings unjustified and didn’t punish any of the officers involved. All of that, even in cases where the city has later had to pay out multi-million dollar settlements.
Under the current policy, BCSO and New Mexico State Police assist in investigating APD officer-involved shooting cases, but APD is the one in charge.
“It shouldn’t be APD officers conducting the investigation of their own officers,” said Peter Simonson, executive director of ACLU’s New Mexico branch.
In a press release Wednesday, the ACLU along with other civil rights groups as part of police reform campaign APD Forward, called for those officer-involved shooting investigations to be conducted entirely by an independent agency.
“We think that in the interest of impartiality and objectivity there really should be an outside agency,” Simonson said.
Earlier this year the Department of Justice found APD’s oversight lacking when it came to use of force cases.
“Improper force incidents were not properly investigated, documented, or addressed with corrective measures,” said Jocelyn Samuels with the DOJ civil rights division at a press conference in April.
While APD is not the only department that investigates its own shootings, there are many who don’t.
In April, Wisconsin lawmakers approved a law that requires every police shooting in the state be investigated by an outside agency. Chicago and Orlando’s city police departments already do the same thing.
News 13 asked APD whether the department is considering changing how its officer-involved shootings are investigated. APD spokesperson Janet Blair said she couldn’t get News 13 a response in time for this story.