Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Brutality Claim Filed Against APD

By Megan Feldman, Journal Staff Writer

Albuquerque Police Department's Internal Affairs is investigating allegations that police officers slammed a suspect to the ground and beat him with their fists and flashlights.
Allegations of excessive force were initially reported to Independent Review Officer Jay Rowland on April 11. Rowland is sending all citizen complaints to Internal Affairs while he investigates APD's handling of problems at the evidence room.
Agustin Juarez, who lives next door to the house where Tim Chism, 28, and James Romero, 43, were arrested, filed a witness statement with Rowland on April 11.
Juarez said in an interview with the Journal that he was at home when he heard yelling and loud noises.
He said he went to the window and saw several officers ordering a man to come out and put his hands up.
After the man complied and was handcuffed, the officers threw him to the ground and struck him repeatedly with their fists and flashlights, Juarez said in a statement submitted to Rowland.
The officers were yelling obscenities, the statement said.
Police spokesman John Walsh confirmed last week that Internal Affairs is looking into accusations of excessive force.
"Given the seriousness of the allegations, IA will be investigating," he said. Walsh declined further comment.
According to a Metropolitan Court criminal complaint, Chism and Romero refused to obey officers who responded to a drug traffic call in the 1200 block of Summer NW about 9:30 p.m. on April 10.
When officers entered the home, where Chism said he and his girlfriend were staying, they found drugs, a marijuana pipe and other drug paraphernalia within reach of Chism's child, according to the complaint. The girlfriend was not charged.
The criminal complaint states that Romero tried to flee the scene.
Chism is being held on charges of eluding a police officer, possession of drug paraphernalia and child endangerment.

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