Albuquerque city councilors criticize mayor’s admin, APD over federal investigation

Albuquerque city councilors criticize mayor’s admin, APD over federal investigation

Several city councilors criticized the mayor's administration and the police department at the Albuquerque City Council meeting Monday evening.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Multiple Albuquerque police officers are at the center of a federal investigation connected to more than 150 dismissed DWI cases.

Several city councilors criticized the mayor’s administration and the police department at the Albuquerque City Council meeting Monday evening. Some councilors went as far as to blame the entire situation on a lack of leadership from the administration and APD.

“This administration needs to step up its integrity and deal with it,” said Louie Sanchez, District 1 councilor.

“The lack of communication to the public is the biggest issue right now,” said Dan Champine, the councilor for District 8.

“Bring some communication and transparency and build the public trust that is lacking right now,” Brooke Bassan, city councilor for District 4, said.

“You probably can’t talk about it, which I know,” Sanchez said. “But for us, it smells of corruption.”

For more than 20 minutes, councilors shared how disappointed they are in the lack of transparency in light of the federal investigation.

Last Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office confirmed they searched an officer’s home in Los Lunas. That investigation led to the dismissal of more than 150 active DWI cases in Bernalillo County.

During the city council meeting, Champine highlighted the lack of communication from the administration.

“I’m just really frustrated that there’s been a lack of communication with us and a lack of communication, ultimately, with the people,” Champine said. “The people of Albuquerque need to know that their leaders are engaged in this, and there has been no communication from no one. And when they reach out to me, I can’t give them any more.”

Sanchez blamed the situation on those at the top.

“Leadership is 100% the issue when it happens, and I even say it’s the leadership of the mayor, and of the police department, in reference to these kinds of things taking place,” Sanchez said. “I know you’re gonna say that this spans within a certain amount of timeframe. But you know what, whose lap does it fall on?”

City Council President Dan Lewis also pointed to leadership.

“This investigation, it does appear to show some unchecked corruption within the department. And these are allegations that are widespread of actions by Albuquerque police officers,” Lewis said. “To be honest, it’s the leadership of Chief Medina, the leadership of the APD brass, leadership of the administration. These are the questions that we’re going to continue to ask and continue to talk about.”

During the meeting, Lewis said that he demands Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina come to their next meeting to address the council’s concerns.

Medina spoke with KOB 4 Tuesday and says the city councilors were out of line with their requests for the department to release any information about the confidential investigation.

Medina said the investigation is too important to the people of Albuquerque – and the officers honestly doing their jobs every day – for him to give in to political pressure.

“Council was out of line last night,” Medina said. “They are not privy to criminal, federal investigations. It’s very disappointing. We have two former law enforcement officers on the council. And they were talking about how they didn’t get the memo that this was occurring. I’m sorry, nobody out of the fifth floor and some key people at APD knew that this investigation was occurring.”

Medina did reveal a few facts about the investigation Tuesday. He said APD’s investigation into the DWi unit started in December of 2022, after an internal complaint.

APD also confirmed four officers are on administrative leave, and one officer is on administrative reassignment in connection to this investigation.