Bring in the Feds
By Carolyn Carlson
Councilors’ ears were filled for more than two hours with pleading from activists and the family members of those shot by police. They said the Council should ask the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate city police.
Jewel Hall, president of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Multicultural Council, presented a video that showed families talking about the death of their loved ones. Albuquerque Police Department officers have shot 19 people and killed 13 since January 2010.
“We are here formally to ask the Council to request the U.S. Department of Justice to come quickly and urgently to our city to conduct a top-to-bottom complete investigation of police brutality and excessive force,” Hall said. About 20 more people made the same request.
Councilors also voted to ask Inspector General Neftali Carrasquillo Jr. to look into questions surrounding Kathleen White’s car crash. They requested the inspector examine the actions of all city employees, including top brass, at the July 6 car accident involving the wife of former Public Safety Director Darren White.
A examination by Independent Review Officer William Deaton essentially cleared Darren White of serious wrongdoing. But it did lay blame on the responding officer for not pursuing DWI charges against Kathleen White. Councilors said they do not feel Deaton was in the right position to do an impartial, independent investigation. It is up to the inspector general to decide if he will investigate because he does not answer to the Council or mayor.
The Monday, Aug. 1 meeting went into overtime and lasted until midnight, with councilors catching up on business after the July break.
As midnight neared, councilors shot down Mayor Richard Berry's proposal to put four ABQ the Plan projects on the October ballot. Instead the Council OK’d asking voters if they want to put up cash to fund two enterprises: a sports complex and the first phase of the Paseo del Norte and I-25 reconstruction. The ballot bonds would give $50 million to those undertakings if approved by voters.
Bob Murphy is chairman of the volunteer committee charged with whittling down a list of 15 potential ventures to four. Murphy said the committee recommended a river boardwalk, a Bosque rafting and kayaking area, a sports complex, and a bike loop around the city.
The next full Council meeting is set for 5 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 15, in the Council Chambers in the basement of City Hall.
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