Headlines: ABQ Council OKs Police Oversight Panel, Grand Jury To Review Espanola PD Shooting...

Sep 19, 2014

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Albuquerque Council Oks Civilian Police Panel PlanThe Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

The City Council has approved a plan for greater civilian oversight of Albuquerque's police department, which has faced criticism over recent shootings.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the bill was approved 8-0 late Thursday and sent to the mayor, who has said he would carefully review any such proposal.

The ordinance is aimed at creating a more powerful agency to decide on civilian complaints against police.

The city has been rocked by angry protests and a U.S. Justice Department investigation over more than 40 police shootings since 2010.

Grand Jury To Get Evidence On Espanola Shooting - The Associated Press and Santa Fe New Mexican

A northern New Mexico prosecutor says she'll present evidence to a grand jury to determine whether an Espanola police officer's fatal shooting of an El Rito teen-ager was justified.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, District Attorney Angela "Spence" Pacheco says she received the case from the New Mexico State Police about a month ago.

An officer shot 16-year-old Victor Villalpando on June 8 after the youth called 911 and said there was a suspicious person who needed help.

Authorities have said the youth was shot after he pointed a toy cap gun at officers who responded.

Clovis Police: Officer In Probe After Traffic Stop - The Associated Press and Clovis News Journal

Clovis police have launched an investigation following a YouTube video of an officer slamming a handcuffed man into the asphalt during a traffic stop.

The Clovis News Journal reports the officer from the Aug. 3 stop was placed on limited duty this week and is under an internal investigation for use of force. Clovis police did not identify the officer.

According to the YouTube video, the officer is seen throwing to the ground a handcuffed 26-year-old Jorge Corona after Corona told the officer he didn't even ask for his name.

Dan Lindsey, an attorney for Corona, says his client suffered a broken cheek and other injuries. He says Corona was a passenger in the back seat of a vehicle.

Court records show Corona was charged with concealing identity and resisting arrest.

New Mexico Getting More Rain As Storms Move East - The Associated Press

Light to moderate rain is expected across much of New Mexico on Friday as remnants of former Hurricane Odile crosses the state's east-central and southeastern plains.

The National Weather Service says some locations could receive an inch of rain or more, mainly along and east of the Pecos River in southeastern New Mexico.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park was closed Friday morning due to flooding of its entry road.

Forecasters say the threat of heavy rainfall will move east out of New Mexico by late in the day.

Storms dropped more than 4 inches of rain on the small town of Rodeo near the Arizona border early Thursday. That caused street flooding and reports of swamped homes.

Governor Criticizes Challenger For Tax Increases - The Associated Press

With early voting set to begin in a few weeks, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and Democratic challenger Gary King are sparring over the economy and taxes.

King and Martinez outlined their campaign views Thursday in separate appearances at a public policy conference at New Mexico State University.

King said New Mexico has been going down "the wrong path." He pointed to a Census Bureau report showing the state's poverty rate had increased last year. He also said it's unacceptable that New Mexico ranks at or near the bottom nationally in child well-being.

Martinez said state government's finances are on "solid ground" because of her fiscal policies and she criticized King for supporting tax increases to close a budget gap two decades ago as a legislator.

Absentee voting begins Oct. 7.

State Justices To Consider Marijuana Ballot Case - The Associated Press

The state Supreme Court is to consider an elections dispute involving two counties that want to poll their voters in the November general election about lowering penalties for marijuana possession.

The state Supreme Court has scheduled a Friday hearing on whether state law allows nonbinding ballot questions.

Santa Fe and Bernalillo counties have approved ballot measures to survey their voters whether they support decriminalizing marijuana. Bernalillo County also wants to ask voters about a possible tax for mental health services.

The counties went to the Supreme Court after Secretary of State Dianna Duran refused to place the advisory questions on ballots.

A federal court on Thursday rejected a request by Duran to resolve the ballot dispute. That has cleared the way for the Supreme Court to make a ruling.

Marijuana Legalization Behind In New Mexico Poll - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

A newspaper's statewide poll of likely voters finds that a proposal to legalize marijuana in New Mexico could face tough going if a measure was placed on the ballot.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that 50 percent of the respondents to its poll were opposed to Colorado-style legalization while 44 percent supported it. Half of the rest they had mixed feelings while the other half wouldn't say or said they didn't know.

The poll's margin of error was 4.4 percent points. The poll was conducted Sept. 9-11 and was based on telephone interviews with 500 voters who voted in the 2010 and 2012 elections and who said they would likely vote again this year.

A proposed constitutional amendment was introduced in this year's legislative session but didn't emerge from the Legislature.

Nuke Dump Cleanup Plans Still Under Review - The Associated Press

Officials working to reopen the federal government's troubled nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico say their recovery plan is under review.

Department of Energy officials at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad had earlier indicated they would be releasing details of the plan Thursday. They reviewed the major work that needs to be done, but Carlsbad DOE Field Office Manager Joe Franco told a community meeting Thursday evening that the full plan is still awaiting approval from Washington. The plan is expected to detail cost estimates and a timeline for cleaning up radiological contamination and resuming operations after a mysterious February leak that contaminated 22 workers.

Officials have said it could be three years before WIPP completely reopens.

It's still unclear exactly what caused the leak from a barrel of waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory.

WIPP is the government's only permanent repository for legacy waste such as contaminated gloves, tools and clothing from decades of nuclear bomb building.