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Marla Brose / Albuquerque Journal

Two former Albuquerque police officers are facing murder charges for what could be the first time here. The effectiveness of the SWAT team in dangerous situations has come into play during the trial, and police who were there the day James Boyd was shot in 2014 have been testifying in court. It’s the first time the public has heard directly from many of these officers. 

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  The U.S. Department of Justice said in a court filing last week that it’s unconstitutional to keep people behind bars just because they can’t afford to pay bail. Some bail bondsmen in New Mexico argue people in poverty shouldn’t be allowed to skirt the law.

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There are 13 federal prisons around the United States that are run by private companies. One of them is in New Mexico. And today the Department of Justice said it’s going to stop using corporations to run federal prisons.

UNM via Flickr / Creative Commons License

The Department of Justice has scrutinized just two universities in the country about campus assault and harassment: The University of Montana and the University of New Mexico. Results of the DOJ probe in Montana were revealed in May 2013. The findings letter for UNM came out at the end of April this year.

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There’s expectation in the air when students go off to college—an expectation of independence and learning—and even safety. But for many people on campuses around the country who experience sexual assault or harassment, the illusion of safety can fall away. Now, the federal government has begun looking at why.

DOJ Report on UNM Sexual Violence Policies

May 23, 2016

Sun. 5/22 7p: In this show, we discuss the Department of Justice’s 37-page report on UNM’s handling of sexual assault on campus. We will hear from May Sagbakken of the Rape Crisis Center of Central New Mexico, students and Cathy Cook from Students for Reproductive Justice. We discuss the report and what resources are available for all survivors of sexual violence. 

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The White House has been calling for college campuses to better protect students from sexual assault. And last year a task force presented recommendations for what should change. But universities across the country may be struggling to keep up. We checked in on how the University of New Mexico is faring—and one way technology might help.

Rita Daniels

Members of the board tasked with overseeing policy changes for the Albuquerque Police Department are concerned that public trust in the department is eroding.

APD Critics Hopeful About Reform Agreement

Jun 3, 2015
Rita Daniels

A federal judge approved the U.S. Department of Justice’s agreement with Albuquerque to reform the city’s police department this week, which has made some critics of APD hopeful. An investigation revealed that APD engaged in a pattern of unconstitutional policing and use of excessive force.

District Judge Robert C. Brack said the months of negotiations between the city and the Department of Justice were fair and honest.

Substance abuse treatment is not available for everyone who needs it in New Mexico, and this shortage is at the root of some tragic altercations with police.

Mike Gomez met me in a park in Albuquerque, holding a framed photo of his son Alan. “He was a good kid, a normal kid,” he said. “He graduated high school on time. He was a Little League All-Star.”

Arianna Sena

A former UNM student who said she was assaulted by two Lobo football players and a CNM student last year filed a lawsuit in District Court  against the university Thursday. The lawsuit alleges Title IX investigators at UNM protected the athletes by conducting a shoddy investigation. 

Thien V. via Flickr CC

KUNM Call In Show Thu 1/22 8a: 

What options are available to survivors of on-campus sexual assault in New Mexico? How can we make campuses safer? What can be done to improve the way universities and colleges handle sexual assault?

We'd like to hear from you. Email callinshow@kunm.org, add your comments to this post, Tweet @KUNMHealth, or call in live during the show.

Guests:

APD Forward Releases Top Picks To Oversee Reform

Jan 15, 2015
Rita Daniels

 

UPDATE 1/15: The U.S. Department of Justice and the City of Albuquerque told KUNM Wednesday that they were planning on telling the court which candidate they had selected for the job of independent monitor.

A federal judge has to approve their choice before the information is made public. That announcement is expected early next week.

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  The Albuquerque Police Department have released new footage related to a March police shooting of a homeless man — a shooting that later sparked a violent protest and angry calls for reform.

Videos released late Wednesday show a number of officers surrounding 38-year-old James Boyd as police try to get him to surrender from his Sandia foothill camp site.

On one video, Boyd, who suffered from schizophrenia, is heard telling officers he doesn't want to come down because officers will shoot him. An officer responds, "no, we wouldn't."

DOJ Promises Change

Apr 28, 2014
Marisa Demarco

  The Department of Justice held the first of three meetings Monday aiming to gather community input on Albuquerque’s police force.

People who showed up at the Westside’s Alamosa Community Center to give input last night were put off by the format of the meeting. It was not a public forum. Instead, commenters were given a number and then taken into a room where they spoke to DOJ employees as part of five-person focus groups.

openclipart.org

  UPDATE 4/23 1:45 p: Two days after Albuquerque police shot and killed a 19-year-old female who was suspected of truck theft, the chief of the troubled department says he has little information about the latest shooting.

APD's Mental Health Quandry

Apr 16, 2014
Wikimedia Commons

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 4/17 8a:  The Albuquerque Police Department recently made national headlines for the shooting of a man in the Sandia foothills who was mentally ill.

How can Albuquerque police learn to interact with people with mental illness more effectively? What improvements does the U.S. Department of Justice say they need to make?

Feds Find Patterns of Excessive Force in APD

Apr 10, 2014

A scathing report has been released by the Department of Justice that accuses Albuquerque Police Department of engaging in patterns and practices of excessive force. 

After a spike in officer-involved shootings, federal investigators spent 16 months poring over police reports and interviewing hundreds of people who claim they or their family members were victims of police brutality.  

 

  The U.S. Justice Department says institutional reform is needed to curb the "patterns of excessive force" that were turned up by a civil investigation of the Albuquerque Police Department.

The federal agency said Thursday that Albuquerque officers need more training and tools to ensure they can protect the community without escalating potentially violent situations.

The agency found that officers too frequently used deadly force on people "who posed a minimal threat" and used a higher level of force too often on those with mental illness.

Around 60 residents held signs and photos of loved ones killed by Albuquerque police last night in southwest Albuquerque. The gathering, organized by the U.S. Department of Justice, was held to give civilians the chance to speak with federal investigators about possible police misconduct that may have gone unreported.