A report by independent police reform monitor James Ginger was published last Friday that contradicts statements given by city officials that ABQ police department is on its way to meeting Department of Justice requirements. According to Ginger, APD has achieved “operational compliance” with only 8 of 277 reforms and compliance with 22 of 277 primary tasks laid out by the DOJ. The creation of new policies has stumbled, with many of APD's submissions receiving up to 80 changes from DOJ officials. APD has managed to produce a new use-of-force policy, but Ginger said that the process was arduous and unsustainable. The situation might improve, however, now that the city has hired former U.S. Magistrate Judge Lorenzo Garcia to lead policy writing. Garcia has years of experience in police policy in the wake of lawsuits, which city officials hope will help get the ball rolling. City councilors have asked that the frequency of Ginger's reports be increased to make it easier to hold police administrators accountable for their failings.
Discussion on Rights for Transgender Students Gets Heated
The Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education hosted a public meeting on the rights of transgender students Wednesday night. Forthcoming APS policy changes will add gender identity to the list of things that cannot be targeted for discrimination, along with ethnic identity, religion, race, color and sexual orientation. Disciplinary actions will also be established for students who commit persistent discriminatory acts, as well as a new policy for students to declare the gender they identify with before any physical searches are conducted. A handful of APS parents are worried about the changes, many stating concerns over student bathroom habits. Peggy Muller-Aragón, Finance Chair of the School Board, recounted a time she was trapped with a transgender person. “I went into a restroom and there was a transgender person that was in there. I was in there alone and they didn’t let me come out. I don’t want that for any child.” She was assured by local advocates that transgender people are not trying to expose themselves when they are using the lavatory.
NM Becomes Abortion Hotspot of the SW
According to a report by the Albuquerque Journal, state Health Department data indicates that while abortion rates are dramatically down among New Mexican women since 2010, a significant rise has occurred in abortions for out-of-state patients traveling to NM in 2014—nearly 20 percent of close to 4,500 procedures. This could be due to the heightened restrictions put in place by Texas, Arizona and Oklahoma between 2011 and 2015. Texas has seen almost 9,000 fewer abortions since 2013, due to intense restrictions put into place requiring clinics to maintain admitting privileges to a nearby hospital as well as housing facilities that meet hospital surgical standards. The closing of 23 of Texas' 40 abortion clinics can also be attributed to the law. In comparison, NM hasn't made a new abortion law since partial-birth abortions were banned in 2000, and in 2013 Albuquerque voted down a measure that would place a 20-week gestational limit on all operations.