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Case Name U.S. v. City of Albuquerque PN-NM-0002
Docket / Court 1:14-CV-1025-RB-SMV ( D.N.M. )
State/Territory New Mexico
Case Type(s) Policing
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On November 12, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed this lawsuit against the city of Albuquerque in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico. The DOJ brought this action under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 14141, alleging that ... read more >
On November 12, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed this lawsuit against the city of Albuquerque in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico. The DOJ brought this action under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. § 14141, alleging that officers of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) were engaging in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment and § 14141. Specifically, the DOJ claimed that the APD used excessive force unreasonable deadly force during arrests and detentions, posing an unacceptable risk to the Albuquerque community, and that the city and the APD had failed to address these issues. The DOJ requested declaratory and injunctive relief against the APD to enjoin them from this unlawful conduct. This lawsuit resulted from a civil investigation conducted by the DOJ beginning in 2012, documented in a findings letter sent to the Albuquerque city government on April 10, 2014.

On November 14, 2014, the parties filed a joint motion notifying the court that a settlement had been reached. The agreement required the APD to revise and implement force policies, training, and accountability systems to ensure compliance with the Fourth Amendment and other applicable law. In addition, the agreement established a new Civilian Police Oversight Agency to receives and investigates complaints of misconduct against the APD. The agreement called for the appointment of an independent monitor to assess and report on the implementation of the agreement. Finally, the parties also moved for an opportunity for community members and other stakeholders to express their views as amici curiae to assist the court in the development and execution of the agreement.

On January 21, 2015, District Judge Robert C. Brack held a fairness hearing for interested parties to express their views on the proposed agreement. Seven groups presented their arguments, among them the Albuquerque Police Officers' Association (APOA), the exclusive bargaining representative of the police force. Prior to the hearing, the APOA and 23 concerned citizens filed motions to intervene in this action. Of the 23 individual motions, 14 were eventually withdrawn. On February 19, 2015, Judge Brack granted the APOA's motion to intervene, finding that the APOA had a sufficient interest in this action for intervention as of right. Judge Brack denied the individual motions to intervene, finding that the government (through the DOJ) adequately represented the individuals' interests. In a separate order also filed on February 19, Judge Brack appointed Dr. James D. Ginger as independent monitor to assess and report on whether the APD was fulfilling its obligations under the agreement.

On March 6, 2015, Disabilities Rights New Mexico, the ACLU of New Mexico, and the Native American Voters Alliance Education Project filed a motion to intervene. On June 2, 2015, Judge Brack denied the motion to avoid delays in the implementation of the agreement and the litigation of the current parties' rights. In a separate order also filed on June 2, Judge Brack approved the settlement agreement and entered it as a consent decree. Reviewing amici submitted by community organizations, Judge Brack found that amendments to the agreement adequately addressed the community's concerns. In addition, Judge Brack found no conflicts in the agreement with the APOA's collective bargaining agreement, state, or federal law. Regarding the duration of the consent decree, the parties said that if after six years from the effective date the parties disagree whether the City has been in full and effective compliance for two years, either party may seek to terminate the settlement agreement.

On August 21, 2015, the parties filed a joint stipulation to modify certain deadlines set forth in the consent decree. The independent monitoring team determined that while the APD had made significant progress, an extension of certain deadlines would be beneficial. On September 24, Judge Brack granted the motion.

Since the settlement began, numerous status reports have been filed without indication of significant noncompliance. As of May, 2017, the ADP had accomplished most of the "low-hanging fruit" required by the consent decree, such as writing and approving policies and designing and initiating training programs. However, Dr. Ginger identified eight specific actions by the ADP that had substantially slowed compliance achievement, such as extended delays in revising the department’s use of force policy and use of covert “Special Orders” to subvert policies agreed upon by the parties and Dr. Ginger. Dr. Ginger also issued over 300 recommendations for the ADP.

As of November 3, 2018, implementation of the consent decree is ongoing. According to Dr. Ginger's latest report, ADP leadership (which has undergone some changes in personnel over the past few years) has been fully committed to complying with the consent decree. Dr. Ginger has noted that the current leadership grasps key issues involved in the compliance process and are quickly building effective problem-solving mechanisms.

John He - 12/22/2015
Jake Parker - 07/11/2018
Eva Richardson - 11/03/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Unreasonable search and seizure
Content of Injunction
Auditing
Follow recruitment, hiring, or promotion protocols
Hire
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Required disclosure
Retaliation Prohibition
Training
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
Disability
Mental impairment
General
Excessive force
Failure to discipline
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Pattern or Practice
Record-keeping
Mental Disability
Mental Illness, Unspecified
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 14141
Defendant(s) Albuquerque Police Department
Plaintiff Description U.S. Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2015 - 2021
Filing Year 2014
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Data examining the Department of Justice's civil rights investigations of local and state police departments
Marshall Project
Date: Jan. 17, 2017
By: Tom Meagher (Marshall Project)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  The Civil Rights Division’s Pattern and Practice Police Reform Work: 1994-Present
https://www.justice.gov/
Date: Jan. 4, 2017
By: U.S. Department of Justice
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  An Interactive Guide to the Civil Rights Division’s Police Reforms
https://www.justice.gov/
Date: Jan. 4, 2017
By: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  What Happens When Police Are Forced to Reform?
Date: Nov. 13, 2015
By: Kimbriell Kelly, Sarah Childress and Steven Rich (Frontline/Post)
Citation: Washington Post (Nov. 13, 2015)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Federal Enforcement of Police Reform
Date: 2014
By: Stephen Rushin (University of Illinois College of Law, University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program Faculty)
Citation: 82 Fordham Law Review 3189 (2014)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:14-CV-1025-RB-SMV (D.N.M.)
PN-NM-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/21/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Re: Albuquerque Police Department [Findings Letter]
PN-NM-0002-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 04/10/2014
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Justice Department Releases Investigative Findings on Albuquerque Police Department
PN-NM-0002-0016.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 04/10/2014
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Joint Statement of Principles by the United States Department of Justice and the City of Albuquerque Regarding the Albuquerque Police Department
PN-NM-0002-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 07/24/2014
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Re: Albuquerque Police Department Settlement Agreement
PN-NM-0002-0003.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 10/29/2014
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Request for Information [From the Independent Monitor]
PN-NM-0002-0006.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 10/31/2014
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PN-NM-0002-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/12/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Summary of Settlement Agreement with the City of Albuquerque Regarding Albuquerque Police Department
PN-NM-0002-0005.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 11/14/2014
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Settlement Agreement [ECF# 9-1]
PN-NM-0002-0004.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 11/14/2014
Joint Motion Requesting Approval and Entry of the Settlement Agreement as an Order [ECF# 9]
PN-NM-0002-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/14/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Proposed Order Inviting the Submission of Briefs by Amicus Curiae [ECF# 35] (D.N.M.)
PN-NM-0002-0007.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 12/17/2014
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Memorandum Opinion and Order [Granting Albuquerque Police Officers' Association Motion to Intervene] [ECF# 102] (D.N.M.)
PN-NM-0002-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/19/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Appointing an Independent Monitor] [ECF# 103] (D.N.M.)
PN-NM-0002-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/19/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [Approving Settlement Agreement] [ECF# 134] (D.N.M.)
PN-NM-0002-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/02/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [Denying American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico's Motion to Intervene] [ECF# 135] (D.N.M.)
PN-NM-0002-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/02/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [Accepting Joint Stipulation Modifying Certain Deadlines in the Settlement Agreement] [ECF# 143] (D.N.M.)
PN-NM-0002-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/24/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Progress/Status Summary of the USDOJ Settlement Agreement Entered Into By the United States of America and the City of Albuquerque Regarding the Albuquerque Police Department [ECF# 150]
PN-NM-0002-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/02/2015
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Progress/Status Summary of the USDOJ Settlement Agreement Entered Into By the United States of America and the City of Albuquerque Regarding the Albuquerque Police Department [ECF# 159]
PN-NM-0002-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/02/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Progress / Status Summary of the USDOJ Settlement Agreement Entered Into By the United States of America and the City of Albuquerque Regarding the Albuquerque Police Department [ECF# 176]
PN-NM-0002-0019.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/02/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Compliance Levels of the Albuquerque Police Department and the City of Albuquerque with Requirements of the Court-Approved Settlement Agreement [ECF# 183]
PN-NM-0002-0020.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/01/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Progress / Status Summary of the USDOJ Settlement Agreement Entered Into By the United States of America and the City of Albuquerque Regarding the Albuquerque Police Department [ECF# 199]
PN-NM-0002-0021.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/02/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Special Report of the Independent Monitor [ECF# 205]
PN-NM-0002-0023.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/16/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Monitor's Fourth Report [ECF# 223]
PN-NM-0002-0022.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/01/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Brack, Robert C. (D.N.M.)
PN-NM-0002-0007 | PN-NM-0002-0011 | PN-NM-0002-0012 | PN-NM-0002-0013 | PN-NM-0002-0014 | PN-NM-0002-0015 | PN-NM-0002-9000
Monitors/Masters Coyne, Phil (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-0023
Ginger, James D. (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-0020 | PN-NM-0002-0022 | PN-NM-0002-0023
Slauson, William (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-0017 | PN-NM-0002-0018 | PN-NM-0002-0019 | PN-NM-0002-0021
Plaintiff's Lawyers Boyd, John W. (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Davis, Nicholas T. (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Davis, Philip B. (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Freedman, David A. (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Gupta, Vanita (District of Columbia)
PN-NM-0002-0003 | PN-NM-0002-0004 | PN-NM-0002-0007 | PN-NM-0002-0008 | PN-NM-0002-0009
Hoses, Michael H. (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-0004 | PN-NM-0002-0007 | PN-NM-0002-0008 | PN-NM-0002-0009 | PN-NM-0002-9000
Kappelhoff, Mark (District of Columbia)
PN-NM-0002-0004 | PN-NM-0002-0007 | PN-NM-0002-0009
Keegan, Ruth Fuess (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-0004 | PN-NM-0002-0007 | PN-NM-0002-0008 | PN-NM-0002-0009 | PN-NM-0002-9000
Killebrew, Paul (District of Columbia)
PN-NM-0002-0004 | PN-NM-0002-0006 | PN-NM-0002-0007 | PN-NM-0002-0008 | PN-NM-0002-0009 | PN-NM-0002-9000
Koenigsberg, Nancy (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Martinez, Damon P. (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-0001 | PN-NM-0002-0002 | PN-NM-0002-0003 | PN-NM-0002-0004 | PN-NM-0002-0007 | PN-NM-0002-0008 | PN-NM-0002-0009 | PN-NM-0002-0016
Martinez, Elizabeth (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-0004 | PN-NM-0002-0007 | PN-NM-0002-0008 | PN-NM-0002-0009 | PN-NM-0002-9000
Ryals, Stephen (District of Columbia)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Samuels, Jocelyn (District of Columbia)
PN-NM-0002-0001 | PN-NM-0002-0002 | PN-NM-0002-0016
Sanders, Corey M. (District of Columbia)
PN-NM-0002-0004 | PN-NM-0002-0007 | PN-NM-0002-0008 | PN-NM-0002-9000
Saucedo, Luis E. (District of Columbia)
PN-NM-0002-0004 | PN-NM-0002-0007 | PN-NM-0002-0008 | PN-NM-0002-0009 | PN-NM-0002-9000
Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)
PN-NM-0002-0004 | PN-NM-0002-0007 | PN-NM-0002-0008 | PN-NM-0002-0009
Smith, Alexandra Freedman (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Urias, David (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Aguilar, Esteban Angel Jr. (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Greenwood, Scott T. (Ohio)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Greenwood, Scott T. (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-0002 | PN-NM-0002-0003 | PN-NM-0002-0004 | PN-NM-0002-0006 | PN-NM-0002-0007 | PN-NM-0002-0009
Hernandez, Jessica M. (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Hults, Samantha M. (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Jacobi, Jenica Lynn (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Schmehl, Jeramy (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Tebo, Christopher J. (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Tourek, David K (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-0003 | PN-NM-0002-0004 | PN-NM-0002-0007 | PN-NM-0002-0009 | PN-NM-0002-9000
Van Meter, Lindsay Fay (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Walz, Jerry A. (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Zarr, William W. (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Other Lawyers Allen, Steven Robert (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Bechtold, Elisabeth V. (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Colon, Taina Linda (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
D'Amato, John James Jr. (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Howard, Leon F. III (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Maestas, Antonio (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Mathewson, Alfred D. (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Mowrer, Frederick M. (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Sanchez, Maria Martinez (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000
Torres, Stephen M. (New Mexico)
PN-NM-0002-9000

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