Saturday, January 15, 2005

APD Chief Stands by Officer; Racial Profiling Accusation Made

By T.J. Wilham, Journal Staff Writer

Police Chief Gilbert Gallegos is claiming a Police Oversight Commissioner overstepped his bounds when he accused one of his officers of racial profiling.
The accused officer has called for commissioner J. L'Keith Jones, an Albuquerque minister, to resign.
Jones, who is black, said Friday he has no intention to resign from the commission and he still believes the white officer, Gerald Roach, was guilty of racial profiling.
"Racial profiling occurs every day, and I am a victim along with thousands of other people," Jones said. "There is not a day that goes by where a cop doesn't run my license plate or give me a look."
Gallegos said Friday he does not share Roach's opinion that Jones should resign. Gallegos stood behind his officer saying he has known Roach for 20 years and he is not biased.
"He continues to believe that this officer is a racist, and I believe that is wrong," Gallegos said.
During a November commission meeting, Jones said he was racially profiled when Roach stopped him for speeding and then arrested him on an outstanding warrant from Guadalupe County.
The warrant proved to be issued in error and the bond money Jones paid was returned to him.
Gallegos said the traffic stop was never officially investigated because Jones never filed a complaint with the department.
At a commission meeting Thursday, Roach and Gallegos attacked Jones, claiming he had made false accusations.
"Mr. Jones' comments have the potential of ruining my career, my family and family reputation," Roach told the commission. "It hurts more than just me being the target of his accusation. Mr. Jones slandered me in the media. I have been convicted of being a racist without so much of due process for our little incident."
Roach claimed he was not given an opportunity to comment in the Journal article, which was published Dec. 5.
Before publishing the article, the Journal made four attempts to contact Roach. He did not return phone calls.
After the story appeared, a letter from Roach was published.
On Friday, Roach could not be reached for comment. A message for Roach was also left with an APD public information officer.
After Thursday's meeting, Roach told KOAT-TV that he thought Jones should resign.
After Roach and Gallegos made their remarks to the commission, Joe Gutierrez, commission chairman, apologized to Roach.
Gutierrez said no other commissioner had anything to do with Jones' remarks.
Jones said he felt it was inappropriate for Gallegos and Roach to address the issue during a public meeting. He said Gallegos rarely attends the meetings.

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