Police Complaints: Pc News
Attorney Kari Morrissey gives a civil rights presentation to the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission, then is censored by city attorneys when she starts saying things they don’t like. A long 4 hour meeting with numerous public comments and review of citizen police complaints.
From the Albuquerque Journal story by Jeff Proctor, Lawyer: I was censored at POC meeting:
A local lawyer says she was “censored” by city attorneys and the independent review officer who cut short her civil rights law presentation to the Police Oversight Commission on Thursday evening.
Kari Morrissey, who frequently handles civil rights cases against APD, was describing for commissioners what she said were contradictions between the department’s policies and federal case law regarding witness detention.
For example, she said, federal case law states that witnesses may only be detained for 90 minutes. Anything beyond that requires an arrest and probable cause. APD policies have no time limits, and she said officers frequently hold witnesses for hours at a time, take away their cellphones and lock them in the backs of police cars.
About halfway through a scheduled hour-long presentation, Morrissey said Deputy City Attorney Kathy Levy stopped the talk and asked her to step into the hallway. They were joined by City Attorney David Tourek and Robin Hammer, the city’s independent review officer.
Read the full story
The Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission held a special meeting today to nullify its previous censure of Commissioner Richard Shine. The commissioners were informed by POC counsel Doris Duhigg and city attorney James Toureg that their action to censure Shine was null and void because it was done without proper public notice.
Folk declined to renew her motion to censure her fellow commissioner and instead simply read a statement about the importance of the First Amendment.
Police Complaints has obtained a copy of Folk’s original motion to censure, only a portion of which Folk read aloud at the meeting. The text she left unread, but distributed to her fellow commissioners, is rife with gratuitous, incoherent insults, such as the following peevish tirade:
Whereas, Commissioner Shine, through his unbearably long winded motions, manipulations and superior attitude, a once smooth flowing process has essentially ground the Police Oversight Function to a halt.
Whereas, Commissioner Shine has been conceited, arrogant and condescending to fellow Commissioners, IRO staff and the public.
Shine stated at the last regular meeting that Folk’s motion appeared to be motivated by personal animus.
Good riddance Bambi Folk.
Richard Shine has admitted he was wrong to tell people they could not criticize the chair of the Police Oversight Commission. Now he has been censured by his colleagues, the same colleagues who sat silently by while Chair Linda Martinez forcibly ejected her critics from last month’s meeting.
Chairperson Linda Martinez threw a man out of the December meeting of the Police Oversight Commission for objecting to her affiliation with the Fraternal Order of Police. All the other commissioners sat by and watched her do it. Only Commissioner Siegel raised any objection, and none of the commissioners exercised their right to appeal the chair’s ruling and force a vote on the matter—not even after Shine reminded them that they had that right.
The city councilor who nominated a member of the Fraternal Order of Police to the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission says he will replace her in February.
Ms [Linda] Martinez has been affiliated with the Fraternal Order of Police. She is a volunteer. And as far as I can tell, she’s served honorably. And her term is up in February and we’re going to find somebody else. And we’re going to try to find someone who is not, perhaps, with that direct affiliation. —City Councilor Don Harris
Harris’ remarks start at about 00:36:20 in the video below. Harris was replying to comments from Kenneth Ellis, who objected to allowing an FOP member to serve on the board that reviews police misconduct. Mr Ellis’ son was killed by APD officer Brett Lampiris-Tremba in 2010.
Please email Councilor Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org and thank him for doing the right thing to restore credibility to the Police Oversight Commission. The Fraternal Order of Police has no business reviewing police misconduct.
The Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission voted unanimously last night in support of chairperson Linda Martinez. But first, they re-arranged the agenda to prevent the public from speaking about Martinez’ involvement with the Fraternal Order of Police. When citizens protested, armed police officers were called and one man was ejected from the meeting.
Linda Martinez has sat on the Police Oversight Commission since 2008. She is also a national trustee and past president for the Fraternal Order of Police, a pro-cop advocacy group that specifically opposes citizen oversight of the police. This appearance of a conflict of interest was first reported by Police Complaints in October.
Police Complaints dropped a bombshell on the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission this week: Linda Martinez, chairperson of the Commission, is also a member, national trustee, and past-president of the pro-cop advocacy group, the Fraternal Order of Police—a group that opposes citizen oversight of police misconduct issues.
Our exposé was reported today on the front page of the Albuquerque Journal and has been picked up by national news services. Martinez told the Journal she didn’t know that the organization she’s served for eight years opposes citizen review boards like the Police Oversight Commission.
The newest Police Oversight Commissioners continue to make trouble for their dysfunctional colleagues. This month, they actually insisted on reading documents before approving them. Commissioner Bambi Folk was so overcome by frustration that she ended the meeting by practically shouting at her fellow commissioners, blaming them for making too much work. It was quite a scene.
Commissioner Shine moved that a citizen’s appeal be continued till the following month so that the POC could obtain detailed information from the IRO they would need to form a reasoned judgment. This motion was opposed by Bambi Folk, predictably, but passed, with the approval of the affected citizen.
Bambi Folk scheming to obstruct a committee
Commissioners resolved to form a public outreach committee to assist the IRO with preparing materials that will be used to communicate more effectively with the public about the IRO process.
Most interestingly, Bambi Folk volunteered to serve on this committee (at 2:40:17), and then voted against its creation! (at 2:40:50)
Members of the public would be quite justified in interpreting Folk’s actions as an effort to sabotage a committee she was unable to outvote. Bambi Folk should not be allowed on the public outreach committee. She voted against the formation of this committee. How can she possibly claim to be able to serve on a committee she believes serves no useful purpose?
Citizens who live in City Council District 4 should contact their councilman, Brad Winter, who sponsored Folk’s appointment to the POC, and demand she be removed from the Public Outreach Committee of the Police Oversight Commission.
By Charles Arasim, Police Oversight Activist
Having had some experience with the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission I have kept an eye on ongoing events.
During the last few meetings of the POC I have heard the commissioners refer to another board called the LTPC (Long Term Planning Commission). Being that there is no listing of the LTPC on the City of Albuquerque’s website I called the City’s 311 information number only to discover that they had no information on this group. Not letting that be a roadblock, I then made a direct call to the POC office and discovered that the LTPC is a subgroup of three of the POC commissioners (Ms. Valerie St. John, Mr. Richard Sobien, and Ms. Bambi Folk) and that they meet on the last Thursday of each month. It appears that the main purpose of the LTPC meetings is for an open (to the public) discussion between the commissioners and the staff of the POC where they discuss practices and polices.
The Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission marked an important milestone in September, meeting for the first time in a long time with a full board of nine members. Vacant positions and no-show commissioners have been a problem at the POC for years but three recently appointed commissioners— David Cameron, Jonathan Siegel and, new this month, Richard Shine —have filled the empty chairs.
And how! We wrote last month how Commissioner Jonathan Siegel shook up the board’s typical policy of rubber-stamping police exoneration letters without even reading them. This month, Commissioner Richard Shine sat on the board for the first time and demanded—successfully!—that the Independent Review Officer start producing proper reports that will enable the commissioners to make informed, intelligent decisions.
The meeting included a rather emotional appeal by a citizen who had complained that the police did not provide proper services when he was the victim of a crime. Producing a large amount of testimony and information, the investigators stood by their original evaluation of the case and the commissioners mostly accepted their findings. But if the appeal failed to change anyone’s mind about that particular case, it did open some eyes about serious problems in the oversight process.
Meetings of the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission are usually very smooth and orderly. Sure, every meeting starts with victims of police misconduct speaking out in pain and outrage, but that part is over quickly and just as quickly forgotten while the commissioners rush through their typical routine of rubber-stamping exoneration letters.
The city employees who are paid to investigate complaints against other city employees needn’t fear any difficult or probing questions from the commissioners, so they turn in vague, cursory reports, short on details and censored to eliminate officer names, disciplinary action, and other publicly available information that might embarrass the police union. Investigators insinuate that citizen complainants are attention-seeking trouble-makers, and everyone present treats the proceedings as an empty ritual, required by red tape but accomplishing nothing, to be run through as quickly and quietly as possible.
It’s a neat and well-rehearsed little farce. And all it takes is one man taking his duties seriously to screw it all up for everyone else. Recently-appointed Commissioner Jonathan Siegel made the radical move at last week’s meeting of listening and asking questions. It really shook things up.