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.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

APD Racial Profiling Allegations Continue

aturday, December 11, 2004

APD Racial Profiling Allegations Continue

By Jeff Proctor
Journal Staff Writer
The Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission says accusations of racial profiling have not ceased.
The commission voted unanimously Thursday to direct the city's Independent Review Office to send a letter to APD Chief Gilbert Gallegos, asking him to look closely at whether biased-based policing is practiced by the department.
According to APD's procedures, officers are not to target individuals based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation or economic status.
"If APD does not practice it, we need to find a way for them to not be accused of it so often," said the Rev. J. L'Keith Jones, a commission member. "Their standard needs to be upheld, and the mayor's task force needs to be upheld."
Mayor Martin Chávez created the 18-member task force in March to determine whether biased-based policing occurs within the city.
The commission has dealt with numerous instances of alleged profiling, most recently on Thursday, when it considered a complaint filed on behalf of Essa Dalloul.
In May, Albuquerque police detained Dalloul, then 20, for more than two hours at Coronado Center after mall security guards saw two Middle Eastern men praying outside. However, Dalloul was not one of the men praying, according to an Independent Review Office investigation.
The officers didn't arrest Dalloul, but when they checked his identification against a national database, a notice appeared to contact the FBI, the investigation shows.
Officers also detained several "Arab" people inside the mall who said they knew Dalloul and asked them for ID, the investigation states.
Initially, Gallegos told the officers not to talk about the reasons they called the FBI, and he also refused to be interviewed by the Independent Review Office. Gallegos and the officers later cooperated.
Gallegos and Independent Review Officer Jay Rowland determined there was not enough evidence to say the officers used racial profiling, so they did not sustain the complaint. Dalloul could not be reached for comment.
"I agree that racial profiling takes place, but, in this case, it sounds like the officers got it straightened out after they discovered they had the wrong guy," said Commissioner Michael Cook, who along with five other commissioners upheld Rowland's decision.
And though Jones also agreed to not sustain the complaint, he issued a stern warning: "We need to address this, and the chief needs to address this, or as long as our military is in Iraq, we're going to have a steady stream of cases coming before us with members of the Arab community."