The Albuquerque Police Department has officially thrown its hat in the ring – for most violent police force in the country.
While two APD officers were being charged with murder, APD officials announced last week that another APD cop had shot an undercover narcotics officer during a $60 meth deal – but the APD has refused to explain how or why the shooting occurred. In fact, the APD reportedly confiscated a witness’s cell phone after he had recorded some of the incident.
The criminal complaint states that [undercover officer Holly] Garcia met a suspect, Damien Bailey, whose name is also spelled Damian Bailey in jail records, near Dunes and Whispering Sands SE to buy $60 worth of “shards,” which is a slang term for meth. She arrived with [undercover officer Jacob] Grant, who was assisting her in the investigation.
Nearby narcotics detectives watched Bailey get in the front passenger seat of the car Garcia was driving and another man, Edmond Vester, get in the rear passenger seat, according to the complaint.
Garcia drove them to the Econo Lodge near Central and Tramway. Vester went into a room at the motel and came back to the vehicle with the meth, according to the complaint.
Garcia then drove to the McDonald’s nearby and gave the bust signal. It was then that the shooting took place. Witnesses said they heard around five shots. Police said the officer was shot multiple times, but the exact number wasn’t known.
In the aftermath of the shooting, the car doors where Bailey and Vester were sitting were open, but police haven’t released details about any perceived threat or why the lieutenant opened fire. The complaint makes no mention of the suspects having a gun at the scene.”
Meanwhile, attorneys for the two Albuquerque police officers charged with the murder of James Boyd – who was camping in the Sandia Foothills last March – filed a court motion to disqualify District Attorney Kari Brandenburg and her entire staff from the case, so they can investigate themselves without any petty interference from the county prosecutor, who has broken all protocol by indicting two cops.
Brandenburg herself was the focus of a recent APD investigation. That probe concluded last year that probable cause exists to charge the four-term DA with bribery or intimidation of a witness for allegedly attempting to pay off the victims of her son’s burglaries in exchange for not pursuing charges against him.
Brandenburg was not charged with a crime, and the idea of a conflict of interest is strongly offset by a written agreement she signed last fall with city of Albuquerque officials and several law enforcement leaders that mandates her to prosecute officers if it is warranted.
Despite the written agreement, when APD officials and others gathered to discuss the developments of another fatal police shooting – a day after Brandenburg charged the two APD officers with murder – Brandenburg’s Chief Deputy DA Sylvia Martinez was shut out of the briefing by Deputy City Attorney Kathryn Levy in an “unprecedented move.”
The Boyd case marks the first time an Albuquerque DA has prosecuted an officer for murder after a police shooting, despite approximately 100 APD shooting cases in Brandenburg’s time alone.
With only 500,000 residents, Albuquerque has seen almost the same number of deadly officer-involved shootings as New York City.
On Thursday, Albuquerque cops killed another man, capturing part of the incident on camera (video below), but not the actual shooting as the camera was pointed in another direction. So far, they haven’t released any other cameras that might have captured a better angle of the shooting.
Police said Thursday that officers Michael Oates and Matthew Fisher shot and killed John Edward Okeefe following a foot chase that ended up in an exchange of gunfire.
According to police, the 34-year-old Okeefe was wearing stolen body armor late Tuesday when he fired a stolen handgun at officers. Police were responding to a call about two suspicious suspects.
Police later said the gun and bulletproof vest were stolen from a Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputy.
Authorities say Okeefe had previously been arrested for narcotics charges and armed robbery in Missouri.
It was the department’s third shooting this year and the third time an officer has faced gunfire.
Shaun Willoughby, the vice president of Albuquerque’s police union, says some officers are thinking about leaving the department because, “They are scared to do their job.”
For any police officer that thinks their job is to shoot an unarmed civilian after vowing to “shoot him in the penis with a shotgun,” PINAC encourages you to resign from law enforcement.