DA’s Office changes approach to providing records online

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office is revamping its website.

As part of that update, it’s also changing the way it provides information on officer-involved shootings.

In the face of criticism and controversy over officer-involved shootings in Albuquerque, the former DA used to post a lot of the evidence in each case online for the public to see.

Despite a string of Albuquerque police shootings, some later deemed unconstitutional by the Department of Justice, former DA Kari Brandenburg didn’t charge any officers until Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez toward the end of her tenure.

To show the evidence that led to those decisions, the DA website included tons of public records from lapel video to evidence pictures, autopsy reports and, in some cases, officer interviews.

As the new District Attorney Raul Torrez updates the website, he’s decided not to share that information online, only posting his reports on whether to prosecute or not.

“The information is available upon request under the Inspection of Public Records Act, but we didn’t want the website to be a source of graphic material that is available to kids, people of all ages in our community,” said Adolfo Mendez, chief of policy and planning in the District Attorney’s Office.

KRQE News 13 asked for the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government’s take on it.

“Well, certainly you know the parents have the ability to purchase or use cyber patrol software and technology to monitor and control and filter what their children are seeing and maybe in the long-term the government shouldn’t be filtering or censoring information that should be available to the public,” said NMFOG Executive Director Peter St. Cyr.

Civil rights Attorney Frances Crockett Carpenter supports the change, saying posting things like autopsy reports online is insensitive to victims’ families.

“A lot of family members, they don’t want to know a lot of the information that’s contained in the OMI reports and they’re forced to see it because it’s plastered all over the internet,” she said.

The DA’s Office says the change is consistent with what DA offices across the country are doing.

NMFOG also points out that the DA’s Office has been taking its input, looking into reducing the cost per page that the public has to pay for a copy of records and making electronic copies free.

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