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APD Police Chief Faces City Council as FBI probe into DWI unit Continues

BY: ABQ RAW Staff

POSTED: 02/06/2024 @ 07:00AM

© 2024 ABQRAW All Rights Reserved - Please Request Permission Before Disseminating on Other Social Media Platforms.



Albuquerque -


On Friday afternoon last week during a media press conference, Albuquerque Police Chief said he would rather opt for an executive session with the Albuquerque City Council. This was in response to a letter from council demanding that he show up to address the looming DWI scandal with his department. City Council denied the chiefs request for executive session and made him show up to last night's meeting to answer some tough questions. The councilors did indeed have an executive session but it was nothing to do with the Chief, we learned it was for a totally unrelated matter.

While the executive session was in progress, Chief Medina and Mayor Keller staffers did final prep in the basement hallway for the upcoming line of questioning . Many on social media debated on whether or not Medina would actually appear and unofficial silly polls appeared on X taking bets. When the meeting finally resumed after a one hour executive session Chief Medina made himself available for questions and answers from the City Council. During the executive session while everyone in the audience waited Medina replied to a tweet on KOB 4's Spencer Schacht tweet proclaiming: "I'm here !!"



Chief Medina approached the podium and City Council President Dan Lewis expressed his gratitude for him being available. Chief Medina was subjected to around 30 plus minutes worth of statements and questions from Council. The questions were tame and It appeared to be more of a simple educational question and answer session with softball questions coming from many of the counselors except Louie Sanchez who let Medina have it.


Retired APD officer and City Councilor Louie Sanchez of District 1 did press Chief Medina on the scandals timeline and he also discussed his personal knowledge about how FBI cases worked. Councilor Sanchez pointed out his credentials about working as a federal task force officer with the FBI:


"Another point of education is I was an actual deputized FBI agent. I worked in the FBI and I was backgrounded. And I did work there for approximately two and a half years. And one of the things that happened while I was in the FBI is when we did our investigations, we were 100% put in front of a federal grand jury and told not to talk about the investigation at all.

We couldn't say one word about anything. And so what I'm looking at here is having that experience, I mean, that experience and knowing the way the FBI works from being there, I know for a fact that the FBI did not reveal that there was anything going on, because that's not the way they operate. The FBI can grab anything they want at any time they want."

This was in response to Chief Medina getting a letter from the federal government praising his cooperation with the investigation. It should be noted that DA Sam Bregman received the same exact letter praising them for their cooperation. We have posted both letters in previous stories.


Here is a copy of the resolution that counselor Sanchez proposed:


RESOLUTION

REMOVING POLICE CHIEF HAROLD MEDINA FOR FAILURE TO LEAD THE ALBUQUERQUE POLICE DEPARTMENT

WHEREAS, Harold Medina is the Chief of the Albuquerque Police Department (“APD”); and

WHEREAS, when Medina was appointed to his position, it was due to the abrupt departure of the previous Chief; and

WHEREAS, effective leadership of the Albuquerque Police Department is critical to the safety and wellbeing of the residents of the City of Albuquerque; and

WHEREAS, a federal investigation into multiple APD officers has resulted in the dismissal of more than 150 active DWI cases; and

WHEREAS, this investigation appears to show unchecked corruption within the Department; and

WHEREAS, these allegations of widespread corrupt actions by APD officers undermines the confidence of the community in the entire department; and

WHEREAS, the profound lack of leadership, which allowed such corrupt activities to transpire, unfairly tarnishes the reputation of upstanding officers, who through no fault of their own are associated with this terrible behavior; and

WHEREAS, Medina’s mismanagement of the Albuquerque Police Department is evidenced by numerous tragedies and scandals, such as:

a.    A police cadet was killed in a murder-suicide following reports of an affair taking place during her training at the police academy that APD was aware of;

b.    An academy class where seasoned instructors were moved because the son of a deputy chief attending the academy faced termination for untruthfulness;

c.    APD’s Gang Unit was all but dissolved along with critical units such as the Narcotics and Vice units;

d.    Record numbers of officers have resigned or retired, leaving the Department dangerously shorthanded;

e.    Increased officer terminations;

f.      Increased officer-involved shootings at the highest number in decades, if not in APD’s history;

g.    Increased response times for 911 calls with some callers holding for hours while hundreds more calls sit unanswered; and

h.    The highest number of homicides in two recent years with at least 328 people murdered on the streets of the City; and

i.      At least two lawsuits pending against the City and APD, each claiming the wrongful death of family members who suffered from mental illness.

WHEREAS, these tragedies reflect serious failures in leadership and an institution in dire need of intervention; and

WHEREAS, Medina’s conduct is inconsistent with the requirements of his position as Chief of Police and his responsibilities and obligations to the City and its residents; and

WHEREAS, Medina’s conduct threatens the public health, safety, and welfare of the people of the City of Albuquerque; and

WHEREAS, while the City Council has expressed concerns on numerous occasions about the leadership of the Department, there has been no apparent improvement in the administration of APD; and

WHEREAS, Pursuant to Article 5, Section 4(d)(1) of the Charter of the City of Albuquerque, “[t]he Police Chief . . . may be removed for cause by a vote of two-thirds of the entire membership of the Council.”; and

WHEREAS, Chief Harold Medina’s failure to lead the Albuquerque Police Department constitutes cause for removal.

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL, THE GOVERNING BODY OF THE CITY OF ALBUQUERQUE:

SECTION 1. Harold Medina is hereby removed from his position as Chief of the Albuquerque Police Department.

SECTION 2.  SEVERABILITY. If any section, paragraph, sentence, clause, word or phrase of this Resolution is for any reason held to be invalid or unenforceable by any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining provisions of this Resolution.  The Council hereby declares that it would have passed this Resolution and each section, paragraph, sentence, clause, word or phrase thereof irrespective of any provision being declared unconstitutional or otherwise invalid.

When it was Retired APD police officer and newest city council District 8 Councilor Dan Champine turn to speak he was focused on the status of the actual DWI unit. Chief Medina said the unit is currently doing street patrols and there was a regularly scheduled checkpoint last weekend.


After the Q&A session during the amendment proposals of the meeting, City Councilor Louie Sanchez, motioned for the City Council to remove APD Police Chief Harold Medina from his position.


The motion needed a second councilor to approve the motion. A hush fell over the crowd as people looked for a counselor to back Sanchez. There was eerie silence from the other council members and the crowd as no one gave a second so the amendment immediately died.

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