High Ranking APD Official Commits Felony on the Job
Updated: Aug 6, 2022
By: ABQRAW staff
Posted 8/5/2022 @ 1:00PM
Deputy Chief of Police Josh Brown
On June 6th, 2022, ABQ RAW attended an Albuquerque City Council meeting in person to once again get answers from city leadership about why they block us from any and all press events and correspondence. It is in the City Charter that City of Albuquerque department heads and/or representatives are made available for City Councilors during the question and answer period of all meetings.
Albuquerque Fire Chief Gene Gallegos, Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina, Deputy Chief Josh Brown, and Director for the Office of the Chief, David Franklin were in attendance at the meeting. Our reporters observed Albuquerque Fire Chief Gallegos and Deputy Chief Josh Brown exchanging text messages with each other and possibly others during our presentation laughing hysterically. After the meeting we submitted a records request with the City of Albuquerque requesting call logs, text logs, and screen shots of all incoming and outgoing text message recipients of Chief Gallegos and DCOP Brown's phones. We were specific to city records about the time frame of June 6th, 2022 from 4:45PM to 9PM (length of council meeting).
The City of Albuquerque Clerk's office received our request and sent back a single screen shot of a message between Fire Chief Gallegos and Deputy Chief Brown and their itemized call/text message logs. The logs had no conversations attached only that the exchange happened between certain parties. The Clerk's office closed out our request and said it had completed our request.
single text exchange between Fire Chief Gallegos and DCOP Brown
We informed the city that many more records were still missing from APD Deputy Chief Brown and Fire Chief Gallegos phones. We determined that once again as is customary when dealing with the city that they had once again only provided a "partial" release of records. The records omitted were the screen shots of APD Deputy Chief Browns text exchange with all others during that time frame. We requested of records that the case be reopened since it had not been completely fulfilled only partially. The City Clerk's office messaged us a few days later to inform us that APD's Deputy Chief Brown's text messages from that time frame were "no longer available".
message from APD records
In our research, we were able to determine Deputy Chief Brown's text logs for the time requested, show that he did in fact also text APD Police Chief Harold Medina, APD Deputy Chief JJ Griego, 1st Deputy Chief Michael Smathers, APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos, and AFR Fire Chief Gene Gallegos. The city only provided a single text message between DCOP Brown and Fire Chief Gallegos.
Like our reporting? Support us at: https://www.patreon.com/abqraw
New Mexico Commission of Public Records has very strict laws in place for the destruction of public records. Any New Mexico government entity has to reach out to the New Mexico Commission of Public Records to ask permission to delete public records.
22.214.171.124 ON-SITE DESTRUCTION OF RECORDS: On-site destruction of records may occur at the custodial agency’s location. For approval of on-site destruction, the records custodian, chief records officer or records liaison officer shall submit a request on a form approved by the state records administrator.
The New Mexico Commission of Public Records outlines how records shall be maintained under state law. Here is the guidance: https://www.srca.nm.gov/parts/title01/01.013.0030.html
It is unclear if the City of Albuquerque Clerk's office submitted a request to the Commission to get approval for destruction of the records from Deputy Chief Josh Brown's phone text messages. If no approval was granted prior to the destruction of the records, Brown could face a fourth degree felony charge.
Section 30-26-1 - Tampering with public records.
Universal Citation: NM Stat § 30-26-1 (2019)
Tampering with public records consists of:
A. knowingly altering any public record without lawful authority;
B. any public officer or public employee knowingly filing or recording any written instrument, judicial order, judgment or decree in a form other than as the original thereof in fact appeared;
C. any public officer or public employee knowingly falsifying or falsely making any record or file, authorized or required by law to be kept;
D. any public officer or public employee knowingly issuing or causing to be issued, any false or untrue certified copy of a public record; or
E. knowingly destroying, concealing, mutilating or removing without lawful authority any public record or public document belonging to or received or kept by any public authority for information, record or pursuant to law.
Whoever commits tampering with public records is guilty of a fourth degree felony.
It is unclear if Deputy Brown will be charged with a felony. It is also unknown if there will be any attempts to recover the deleted text messages.