Thursday, December 16, 2004

City: Former APD Officer Stole $700 From Man He Arrested

By Jeff Proctor, Journal Staff Writer

A former Albuquerque police officer stole $700 from a man he arrested for drunken driving, according to an investigation conducted by the city's Independent Review Office.
The officer, who has not been named, initially agreed to cooperate with the office's investigation. But on the day he was to take a polygraph, the officer resigned.
"It is my finding that this officer stole the money, then lied about it in a statement," Independent Review Officer Jay Rowland told the Police Oversight Commission last week.
The commission voted unanimously Dec. 9 to uphold Rowland's findings and sustain the complaint filed against the former officer.
But APD Chief Gilbert Gallegos disagrees, saying there wasn't enough evidence to say the former officer was guilty.
APD Deputy Chief Paul Chavez could not be reached for comment on the case.
The allegation stems from a Feb. 28 traffic stop, according to the investigation. During the stop, the officer took $700 from the driver's pocket and threw it in his squad car, the investigation found.
"There was another officer present, and that officer did see some money," Rowland said.
The former officer arrested the man and took him to the now-closed Prisoner Transfer Station— a building Downtown where police took offenders to be processed before taking them to the Metropolitan Detention Center on the West Side.
When he was released from the West Side jail, the man refused to sign a property list because it did not contain his $700, the investigation shows.
The man filed a complaint with the POC in April, and investigators found he had cashed a check on the day he was arrested for about $3,000.
He spent money on attorney's fees, a paint job for his car and liquor at an Albuquerque bar, the investigation shows. The leftover $700 was money he owed his mother.
The man passed a polygraph test that asked whether he had money on him when he was stopped, the investigation shows.
In an interview, the officer denied stealing any money and agreed to take a polygraph. Shortly after the interview— sometime in May— the officer resigned.

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