Mayor, police chief respond to Justice Department's findings on APD

Posted at: 04/10/2014 12:28 PM
Updated at: 04/10/2014 1:10 PM
By: Elizabeth Reed,

A little more than an hour after the Department of Justice said the Albuquerque Police Department engaged in a "pattern of excessive force" during the past four years, the city's mayor and police chief responded to the findings of the DOJ's investigation.

Mayor Richard Berry called the Justice Department's report a "milestone" that the city needs to start reforming policies and building trust with the community.

In the past, Berry often said that there was not a systematic problem with culture of the Albuquerque Police Department. Today, however, Berry said there are probably more changes necessary than he realized before he read the DOJ report.

Berry called the findings "difficult," but said it was an achievable goal. The mayor voiced his optimism and confidence in APD's officers.

"The path forward is vital," Berry said during the press conference. "...Let's embrace our officers as they move forward.

Berry told reporters the city is working with the same consultants who helped Cincinnati's police department with similar problems. He said he wants a federal monitor to be an integral part of the consent agreement between APD and the DOJ.

Chief Gorden Eden also spoke during the press conference, saying change in the department would start at the top with him and the command staff. They will meet with the Department of Justice tonight.

"I firmly believe that the things that are mentioned in their findings and recommendations," Eden said. "We need to look at them in totality and start developing a plan side-by-side with the Department of Justice."

Eden said the DOJ has not disclosed which other shooting cases they are looking into in additional to the shooting of a mentally ill homeless man in the foothills on March 16.

Toward the end of the press conference, Eden was asked if he wanted to extend an apology to any of the families who had relatives involved in APD shootings. He did not respond and went on to the next question.