A top federal law enforcement official says the U.S. Justice Department will “peel the onion to its core” to determine whether Albuquerque. N.M., police have a systemic pattern of violating people’s civil rights, especially through the use of force, the Albuquerque Journal reports. Civil and criminal probes follow a highly publicized rash of police shootings in Albuquerque – 25 since 2010, 17 of them fatal – and a series of other questionable use of force incidents, some of which have been caught on camera.
Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry and Police Chief Ray Schultz pledged to cooperate with the investigation. The mayor and the chief have sought to stave off a Justice Department probe by implementing dozens of self-prescribed policy changes, many of which are aimed directly at the way officers use force. The announcement was a relief to Renetta and Steve Torres, who wiped tears from their eyes yesterday as Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez announced the federal investigation. The Torreses’ mentally ill son, Christopher, 27, was shot three times after a struggle with officers in the family’s back yard last year. "Right now I would say there’s a segment – a larger segment than the city is willing to admit – of the community that’s afraid to call APD because they don’t know what the outcome’s going to be,” Renetta Torres said.
For more in The Crime Report on Albuquerque police shootings: http://www.thecrimereport.org/news/inside-criminal-justice/when-police-pull-their-guns