Feds: Albuquerque Cops Use Excessive Force

Report slams department for violating civil rights
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2014 1:08 AM CDT
Feds: Albuquerque Cops Use Excessive Force
Albuquerque police face off with protesters during a protest against recent police shootings.    (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)

Police in New Mexico's biggest city routinely violate people's constitutional rights with a pattern of excessive and deadly force, a damning Justice Department report finds. The department's civil-rights investigation found that the majority of the police shootings in Albuquerque over the last few years were unjustified and that encounters between police and mentally ill people too often result in unnecessary violence, reports the Wall Street Journal. There have been 23 fatal police shootings in the city over the last four years and nine in 2010 alone—one more than happened in New York City that year. The report comes after numerous controversial incidents involving the city's police force, including the fatal shooting of a homeless man last month, which sparked an angry protest against police shootings.

“What we found was a pattern or practice of systemic deficiencies that have pervaded the Albuquerque Police Department for many years," a Justice Department spokeswoman told reporters, saying the force suffers from "inadequate oversight, inadequate investigation of incidents of force, inadequate training of officers to ensure they understand what is permissible or not." A new deputy police chief will be hired to implement the report's recommendations, which include major revisions to use-of-force policies, psychological screening of new recruits, and clearer procedures on dealing with mentally ill people, the New York Times reports. (More Albuquerque stories.)

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