APD Use of Force Investigations Criticized
Court-appointed independent monitor James Ginger filed his third report on the Albuquerque Police Department's efforts to comply with the Department of Justice's required policy changes on July 1. According to the report—which tracked the department's progress through March of this year, APD failed to properly review use of force cases. One case in particular was mentioned by the review team—the alleged kneeing of a suspect in the head by an officer in October 2015—and involved every level of the department's oversight system. According to the report, although the unnamed officer involved in the incident violated at least one policy, their supervisor waited more than two weeks to report it. City officials say the department's higher-ranking officers have been trained in the new use of force policies since March, and any problems found in the report have already been remedied. The report did however point out improvements made by SWAT teams in the use of de-escalation techniques during standoffs and other high-stress situations.
Griego Corruption Hearings Begin
Former State Senator Phil Griego faces charges including fraud, bribery and tampering with public records in a four-day New Mexico District Court hearing that began Tuesday. Griego plead not guilty to the charges brought against him by prosecutors in Attorney General Hector Balderas’ office. Prosecutors allege the former senator received a $50,000 dollar broker's fee as part of a real estate deal involving the sale of a state historic site, and that he neglected to disclose this information while state lawmakers voted on the sale in 2014. In March 2015, rather than face disciplinary actions resulting from an ethics investigation of the deal, Griegos resigned from the Senate after holding office for more than 18 years. The case has been plagued with delays—eight judges excused themselves from the proceedings, citing possible conflicts of interest, but only specifying “other good cause” on court recusal forms. Delays also occurred after the Legislative Council Service—the administrative arm of the New Mexico Legislature—questioned whether legislative staffers should have to testify and whether the findings of an internal Senate ethics probe of Griego should have to be turned over to prosecutors. But State District Judge Brett Loveless ordered state lawmakers and their staff at the Legislative Finance Committee to testify at the hearings this week. If convicted of all counts, Griego could face up to 28 years in prison and more than $40,000 in fines.
Martinez Not Speaking at Convention
Governor Susana Martinez has said she will not be speaking at next month's Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Donald Trump, who is expected to receive the Republican nomination for presidential candidate, told the New York Times that any members of the party who did not endorse him would not be speaking at the convention, and it is unlikely that Martinez will be invited. During Trump's Albuquerque rally, he criticized Martinez, saying she was “not doing the job,” and the governor has previously denounced Trump's positions and candidacy.