City officials file motion to release APD from some DOJ requirements | KOB 4

City officials file motion to release APD from some DOJ requirements

Brittany Costello
Updated: January 14, 2020 07:20 AM
Created: January 13, 2020 10:30 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and other city leaders are hoping a judge will release APD from some of its commitments to the Department of Justice.

It is one giant step closer to freeing up additional officers and tax payer funding to focus back on crime,” Mayor Keller said during his State of the City address Saturday.

In November 2014, the City with the Department of Justice entered into the CASA (Court Approved Settlement Agreement) with 276 mandated reforms.

“Next month we are walking into court and asking to end the outside monitoring of nearly a quarter of those requirements,” said Mayor Tim Keller in his State of the City address.

A motion was filed in federal court Friday asking a judge move some of the mandated paragraphs into “sustained monitoring” or “suspended monitoring.”

It details a number of areas the city said has been in compliance for two years. Suspended monitoring would include areas: Multi-Agency Task Force, Mental Health Response Advisory Committee, Behavioral Health Training, Field Training Officer Program, Staffing Study, Recruitment and Selection, Performance Evaluations and Promotional Policies.

Paragraphs that would be moved to “Sustained Compliance” include: Special Operations Division, Special Investigations Division, Public information on Civilian Complaints, Promotions, Officer Assistance and Support.

That caught the attention of a man who had a big hand in bringing the DOJ to Albuquerque to begin with, Kenneth Ellis. His son Kenneth Ellis III was a 25-year-old veteran who returned to Albuquerque from the military with PTSD.

Ten years ago on Monday he had a deadly confrontation with an officer outside a 7-Eleven. After Ellis put a gun to his head, an APD officer shot and killed him.

The Ellis family was eventually awarded millions of dollars in a civil case, but that wasn't the end of it.

Ellis took his own action by gathering thousands of signatures from Albuquerque residents and city councilors demanding the police department be reformed. His goal was justice for his son, but also to ensure that that kind of tragedy doesn't happen again.

When the DOJ came in, he felt like accountability was finally happening. When he heard Keller’s announcement Saturday, he had to say something. He doesn't think any outside monitoring should end.

“That was absolutely a slap in the face, absolutely an immoral route to be taking,” said Kenneth Ellis. “I mean, I think if the mayor had a son and he got killed by the police he would have a different view on it."

He added: "Since the decree, the numbers of killings have decreased. They shot 17 young men in 2010 killing 14 of them. Since then, the killings of our citizens have decreased. Do I think there’s been change? Slight, hardly measurable,” he said. “This is ingrained deep in the fabric of their training and how they are. Reform is not going to happen in a few years. It’s going to take a long time.”

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