April 10, 2014
The Department of Justice (DOJ), which opened an investigation into the use of force at the Albuquerque, New Mexico, police department in late 2012, announced today that its “exhaustive review” has “determined that there is reasonable cause to believe that the Albuquerque Police Department is engaged in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including the use of unreasonable deadly force.”
That conduct, Acting Assistant General Jocelyn Samuels explained in remarks on the findings earlier today, would violate the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which she described as “a powerful civil rights law that has allowed us to reform troubled police departments across the country,” noting work the DOJ has done in Pittsburgh (its first case), Cincinnati (opened in 2001 after the fatal police shooting of Timmy Thomas led to riots), and Los Angeles (which it investigated more than a decade ago but could probably investigate again). Samuels also noted ongoing reviews and partnerships with departments in places like Portland, Oregon (where the DOJ reached an agreement on reform with cops and the city last year) and Puerto Rico (with whose police department the DOJ entered into an agreement on reform in 2012).
In Albuquerque the DOJ blamed “organizational deficiencies” for causing a systemic pattern or practice of abuse, specifically finding that:
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