KUNM

Lawsuit: Vulnerable Groups Should Have Say In APD Reform

Mar 9, 2015

Details about reform of the Albuquerque Police Department are still being negotiated.
Credit Rita Daniels

Three groups called for homeless people and people with mental illnesses to be represented in the process to reform the Albuquerque Police Department. Last week the groups filed a motion in federal court.

The ACLU joined forces with Disability Rights New Mexico and the Native American Voters Alliance to intervene in the settlement agreement between the U.S. Department of Justice and the city of Albuquerque.

Alexandra Smith is ACLU New Mexico’s legal director and said vulnerable communities bear the brunt of unconstitutional policing.

These groups have been most affected by police misconduct thus far and so they have the most to gain by police reform,” Smith said. “We think they should have a place at the table and be represented in this lawsuit.”

The Department of Justice released a report last year citing a number of problems within the police department that needed reform.

If the motion is granted the groups would be key parties, along with the DOJ, the city and the police union, in deciding how reform will be enforced.