Potential community impact of federal investigation into APD officers
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – We are still waiting to learn just how deep the federal investigation goes into the Albuquerque Police Department’s DWI Unit.
Four officers and a supervisor are on leave, and the clock is ticking on the department’s internal investigation. Now, KOB 4 is digging into the potential community impact.
“This was a bombshell of a story that hit the community,” said Ahmad Assed, KOB 4 legal analyst and criminal defense lawyer.
Assed has been in that defense circle for decades, but the ongoing federal investigation into multiple APD officers is a first.
“To see something like this being investigated, really is a slap in the face for all decent, hardworking people that want to see this system work appropriately,” said Assed. “It also is going to be impactful of this community’s trust in the entire system here, and you have people that are have been facing significant charges.”
Offenders like Anna Sanchez, Victor Belarde, and Alexander Borson-Pope. Of the more than 150 recently dismissed DWI cases, these three were the only ones on their fourth DWI offense.
A jury found Sanchez guilty of DWI in 1986. She pled guilty to a second offense in 2004. Last December, an officer found her passed out in a car in someone else’s driveway.
Harvey Johnson – an officer who has appeared in many of the dismissed cases – responded. That case is now dismissed.
Belarde’s offenses date back to 2018. He crashed into a parked car, a storage facility gate, and a dumpster at a fast food restaurant in three of the incidents.
His fourth offense stemmed from a call about his aggressive driving on Albuquerque’s West Side.
Borson-Pope has been in and out of court for DWI offenses since 2006. His most recent one came last December, when an officer found him passed out in a car in northeast Albuquerque. He claimed he had been sober for three years and relapsed.
Officer Harvey Johnson was also on this case, which is also now dismissed.
“If you’re talking about a fourth-degree felony and a fourth DWI, fifth DWI, you’re jeopardizing the safety of the community,” said Assed.
Assed says we can expect requests for a second look at any case these officers touched.
“I think the impact could conceivably be felt even additional cases that have already been worked out, or have yet not been brought,” Assed said. “The mistrust, the impact to our system from A to Z is not good. It’s not positive, it’s certainly negative.”
We are still waiting on a lot of information in this case.
APD has not formally identified the officers involved, and the FBI and US Attorney’s Office has not commented. The only name we’ve heard publicly is Thomas Clear III – a local defense attorney.