The Justice Department announced today that it has opened a civil investigation into use of force by the city of Albuquerque Police Department (APD). The investigation will focus on allegations that APD officers engage in use of excessive force, including use of unreasonable deadly force, in their encounters with civilians.
Through the investigation the department will seek to determine whether APD engages in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force in violation of the Constitution and federal law. The investigation will include a comprehensive review of the police department’s policies, training and systems of accountability. The investigation will also examine the police department’s engagement with the community and external oversight of officer-involved shootings and other force incidents.
Prior to the announcement, department officials met with Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry and APD Chief Ray Schultz, who pledged their full cooperation with the investigation.
The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 prohibits state and local governments from engaging in a pattern or practice of misconduct by law enforcement officers that deprives individuals of federally-protected rights. The department has conducted similar investigations into use of force by law enforcement agencies, both large and small, across the country.
Attorneys and staff from the Special Litigation Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division will conduct the investigation, assisted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico. Individuals who may have relevant information are encouraged to contact the department via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the department’s toll free number at 885-544-5134 which is available in both English and Spanish.