APD Email Says Officers Not to Blame for Shootings

Apr 24, 2012

The Albuquerque Journal reported today on an Albuquerque Police commander's email defending officers and placing blame for nearly two dozen officer involved shootings on a myriad of other organizations and agencies. 

The blame for the number of officer-involved shootings rests on bad parenting, schools, the mental health profession, courts, news media, jails and the unwillingness of the men shot to follow police orders, an APD commander said in an email to neighborhood leaders.

“It is absurd to blame the 23 officer-involved shootings on APD,” Foothills Area Commander Cliff Saylor wrote in an April 13 communication from his city email account.

Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz told the Albuquerque Journal that Saylor should not have made the comments and that his email demonstrated a lapse in judgment.  The email was in response to a letter sent to Mayor Richard Berry by four Democratic City Couselors calling for the Berry Administration to work to restore trust in the police department. 

The commander attached a copy of the letter and urged neighborhood leaders, whether they agreed or disagreed with the councilors’ position, to “let your voice be heard.”

“I am gravely concerned that these councilors are being influenced by a very vocal few, amplified by a very negative media,” Saylor wrote. “I am very concerned that these individuals have an over-represented impact on the city of Albuquerque and the Albuquerque Police Department.”

Councilor Ken Sanchez, one of the four who signed the letter to Berry, said Saylor’s email was out of line.

Albuquerque police officers have been involved in 24 shootings since January 2010, 17 of them were fatal.  Minority activists are again calling for a U.S. Justice Department probe of APD.