Police Reform

Ty Bannerman

 

Protests against racial injustice have taken place in communities across the country this year, some focusing on calls to remove monuments to racist figures. Last week, on Indigenous People’s Day, an obelisk in the Santa Fe plaza that commemorated colonial violence against Indigenous people was pulled down by demonstrators. As part of our Voices Behind The Vote series, Santa Fe writer Darryl Lorenzo Wellington spoke with KUNM about what that community action meant to him in an election cycle that has seen racism take center stage.  

Nash Jones / KUNM

As protests against police brutality and racism continue across the nation, police reform has become a top issue in this year’s election. Former Albuquerque police officer Debbie Kuidis spoke with KUNM about the changes to policing she wants to see politicians affect, and why she’s paying attention to races from the national to the local level.

Tony Webster via Wikimedia Commons CC


In the wake of continued police violence, people across the country are calling for greater accountability for police officers. Some reformers are targeting a legal doctrine called qualified immunity that makes it nearly impossible for people to successfully sue officers for civil rights violations. New Mexico lawmakers are expected to take up the issue in January’s legislative session. State lawmakers on the Criminal Justice Reform Subcommittee discussed qualified immunity with experts during an interim meeting Monday

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New Mexico Reinstitutes Some Restrictions As COVID Cases SpikeAlbuquerque Journal, Associated Press

Indoor dining in restaurants and breweries will once again be prohibited under a revised public health order by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Tony Webster via Flickr / Creative Commons

A bill that requires all law enforcement officers in New Mexico to wear body cameras passed out of the state legislature Monday and now awaits Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s signature. Research out of George Mason University last year, which reviewed 70 studies on the body-worn cameras, found that the devices don’t have a significant or consistent impact on most officer behavior, or how community members view the police. KUNM’s Nash Jones spoke with Barron Jones, Senior Policy Analyst with the ACLU of New Mexico, about whether mandating police body cameras statewide is a meaningful step for New Mexico to take as it seeks to reform policing in response to renewed calls for change here and across the country. 

YNMG & COVID: The Doors Are Locked

Jun 19, 2020

In episode 78 we discuss what’s happening in Santa Fe at the legislative special session. It’s a unique situation up there; COVID-19 precautions have led to a locked-in session with no opportunity for citizens to attend in person. But first, we hear from organizers of the Albuquerque Juneteenth celebration commemorating 155 years since the official end of slavery in Texas, with the entire United States following soon after. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM


Let's Talk New Mexico 6/18, 8a: With protests against systemic racism and violence continuing around the country, many people are questioning the role of law enforcement and imagining different ways of ensuring public safety. This week on Let’s Talk New Mexico, we’ll discuss a spectrum of changes to New Mexico’s police forces that folks are calling for, from reform efforts like banning chokeholds and training officers differently, to more radical proposals that seek to eliminate traditional policing altogether. 

Tony Webster via Wikimedia Commons CC

For years, Albuquerque and Bernalillo County have been working on strategies so police officers aren’t the primary people responding to 911 mental health calls. After weeks of Black Lives Matter protests in Albuquerque—and just days after police shot a man in crisis, hospitalizing him—Mayor Tim Keller announced today that the city will create a separate Community Safety Department to handle these kinds of call-outs by the end of the year—without taking funding from the police department. It’s unclear what the city will do to respond to the rest of the protesters’ demands around over-policing, and calls to defund and demilitarize the police.

YNMG & COVID: Demilitarize Defund Dismantle

Jun 11, 2020
Nash Jones / KUNM


The country is grappling with practical steps for ending police brutality and racism in policing. We explore some local ideas in episode 74, from completely burning down the system to moderate reform to minor policy changes. Community and Black Lives Matter organizers, Albuquerque’s mayor and City Councilor Lan Sena, and activists who work with and against police weigh in on what the future of public safety could look like.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

 

Every day for over a week, masses of people in Albuquerque have showed up in public to condemn state violence against black people and call for systemic change. Though national narratives have characterized Black Lives Matter protests as volatile and prone to violence, Albuquerque saw thousands of people all week peacefully marching, mourning individuals killed by police, celebrating black culture and speaking out. The events this weekend had different organizers and drew different crowds. City administration made it harder to get to many of them, blocking access to most of the Downtown area with concrete barricades starting Friday.

Coalition Says APD Site Clouds The Real Issues

Nov 1, 2017

The city of Albuquerque says the monitor charged with overseeing reform of the police department is not neutral and has an ax to grind. James Ginger released his sixth report on APD’s progress. The Albuquerque Police Department also just last week  rolled out its own website: APDreform.com. A coalition of community groups called APD Forward says the site is little more than spin meant to hide lingering problems on the police force. 

APD Rolls Out Reform Website

Oct 31, 2017
APDreform.com

The Albuquerque Police Department has been involved in a reform process for years after federal investigators pointed to a pattern of officers using excessive force. The monitor charged with overseeing progress released the sixth report on Wednesday, and has been critical of the department’s willingness to make real changes. 

Candidates Gear Up For ABQ Mayoral Race

Jan 9, 2017
Wikimedia Commons via CC (User: Debernardi)

After last year’s fatiguing election cycle, candidates in Albuquerque are gearing up for another one: The 2017 race for mayor. 

Monitor: Fatal Flaws In Draft APD Policies

Dec 4, 2015
Rita Daniels

The independent monitor responsible for overseeing reform of the Albuquerque Police Department said the new policies APD has drafted so far have been poorly organized and difficult to understand.

Heated Meeting With APD Monitor

Nov 6, 2015
Rita Daniels

The monitor tasked with overseeing reform of the Albuquerque Police Department only gave partial answers to questions from the public Thursday night. The community pressed James Ginger about his large salary, policy changes and the need for healing in the community.

APD Monitor Cancels Meeting With Oversight Board

Nov 5, 2015
Daniels Kulinski via Flickr

The independent monitor, James Ginger, tasked with overseeing reform of the Albuquerque Police Department had two public meetings scheduled Thursday. Ginger’s first one with the Police Oversight Board was canceled at the last minute.

At about one this afternoon, when the meeting was scheduled to commence, David Ring, a member of the oversight board, delivered his apologies to the mostly vacant room.

Rita Daniels

Members of the board tasked with overseeing policy changes for the Albuquerque Police Department are concerned that public trust in the department is eroding.

APD Reform Monitor Asks For Patience

Jun 26, 2015
Rita Daniels / KUNM

The federal monitor overseeing reform of the Albuquerque Police Department held his first public meeting in town this week.

James Ginger responded to skeptics who questioned his take on what successful police reform will look like and criticized him for not including anyone from New Mexico on his 10-person team.

“Cut us a little bit of slack,” Ginger said. “Let us get our feet on the ground. Let us do a reconnoiter. Let us figure out what it is we need to do, and then we’ll have meetings like this periodically throughout the year.”

APD Critics Hopeful About Reform Agreement

Jun 3, 2015
Rita Daniels

A federal judge approved the U.S. Department of Justice’s agreement with Albuquerque to reform the city’s police department this week, which has made some critics of APD hopeful. An investigation revealed that APD engaged in a pattern of unconstitutional policing and use of excessive force.

District Judge Robert C. Brack said the months of negotiations between the city and the Department of Justice were fair and honest.

Rita Daniels

Three groups called for homeless people and people with mental illnesses to be represented in the process to reform the Albuquerque Police Department. Last week the groups filed a motion in federal court.

The ACLU joined forces with Disability Rights New Mexico and the Native American Voters Alliance to intervene in the settlement agreement between the U.S. Department of Justice and the city of Albuquerque.