The husband of the director of the Albuquerque Police Department’s training academy filed a complaint with the Civilian Police Oversight Agency against an APD officer one day after that officer filed an internal affairs complaint against his wife, ABQ Free Press has learned.
The complaint against the officer, Sgt. Adam Anaya, was filed on May 10 by Robert Tyler, husband of Jessica Tyler, APD’s training director. Anaya’s lawyer said it was in retaliation for his client having filed the IA complaint against Jessica Tyler.
This piece originally appeared on the ABQ Free Press website.
“Here you have an officer [Anaya] who files an IA complaint, and the target of the complaint and her husband, in an act of retaliation, file a citizen’s complaint against the officer,” said attorney Thomas Grover, who represents Anaya. “I don’t know how much more absurd you can get. I think it’s completely consistent about what we know about Jessica Tyler. When she comes under scrutiny she files counterclaims. Here is a major at APD and she has enlisted the aid of her husband to push back on a city employee.”
The case stems from an incident on May 6 when Robert Tyler is alleged to have spied on Anaya and two other APD officers while they were on a lunch break during a use-of-force training session at APD’s training academy on Second Street Northwest.
Anaya and two other officers went to lunch at a Teriyaki Chicken Bowl restaurant at 5117 4th St. NW, and while they were eating and talking about the training and the discrepancies in what they were being told by their immediate superiors about the use of force, a man the officers didn’t know — who turned out to be Robert Tyler — sat at a table next to them, Grover said.
“He [Robert Tyler] propped up his cell phone and it appeared that he was recording them,” Grover said. “He was not part of the conversation and it appeared that he was eavesdropping and surreptitiously recording them.”
After Tyler left the restaurant, Anaya followed him to his car, took his license plate number, ran it and determined that it belonged to Robert Tyler, Grover said.
Robert Tyler, a former captain in the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department, then went to the training academy and told his wife about the incident.
“I felt that the officers knew that they were talking about things that they should not have been discussing in public,” Robert Tyler’s complaint said. “I was concerned about the topic and the manner in which they were talking about it. Because of my concerns with the actions of these officers I told my wife Jessica Tyler … Jessica told me that she would look into this and bring it to the attention of the command staff.”
When Anaya and the other officers returned to the academy and the afternoon training session began, Jessica Tyler allegedly told the class that she didn’t appreciate what some of the officers had discussed during their lunch hour. “Jessica Tyler came in and said, ‘You are supervisors, and if you don’t like what you are doing here, I will bump you down to patrolman status,’” Grover said. “My client took that as being directed at him and confirmed that he had been targeted by Major Tyler and her husband.”
Anaya filed an IA complaint on May 9 alleging retaliation and the creation of a hostile work environment by Jessica Tyler. A day later, Robert Tyler filed a Civilian Police Oversight Agency complaint. Although it does not identify any APD officer by name, Robert Tyler’s narrative recounts the scene at the restaurant and refers to being followed out by an officer.
Robert Tyler declined to comment on his complaint when ABQ Free Press reached him by telephone around 5 p.m., Tuesday, May 31.
At 9:41 a.m. Wednesday, June 1, the newspaper emailed Jessica Tyler a list of 15 questions regarding the incident. She did not immediately respond.
Grover said Robert Tyler’s alleged spying raises questions about whether he broke New Mexico law. Anaya and the other officers were having a private conversation which Tyler was not a part of. “New Mexico is a one-party consent state, meaning if you’re a party to a conversation you can record it,” Grover said. “Recording a conversation that you’re not part of is a misdemeanor.”
It’s also not known what Robert Tyler was doing at the APD academy that day. On Wednesday, ABQ Free Press emailed APD spokesperson Celina Espinoza questions about Robert Tyler’s presence at the academy and whether he was employed by APD or under contract with the department. “He is not employed by our department,” Espinoza said.
On Tuesday, the newspaper emailed Espinoza and asked if she could confirm that APD had opened an IA investigation into Jessica Tyler. She responded; “Not that I am aware of.”
Controversy has surrounded Jessica Tyler since last summer when she was hired as APD’s training director. Shortly after she was hired, it became known that she had been the subject of an internal affairs investigation by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department. The investigation centered around allegations that Tyler deceived Sheriff Manny Gonzales about a $25,000 reserve deputy training academy the Sheriff’s Department had run when Tyler worked at the Sheriff’s Department. Only two reserve deputies who attended were from Bernalillo County; most were from Sandoval County where Tyler’s husband had been active with reserve deputies.
Gonzales has filed papers with the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy seeking to revoke Tyler’s certification as a police officer. An NMLEA hearing officer has recommended that Gonzales’ charges against Tyler be dropped and that she keep her law enforcement license. The NMLEA board was scheduled to hear the case on June 9.
When Tyler was hired to head APD’s training academy, the job wasn’t advertised as it had been when it was last open in 2012. And, APD Chief Gorden Eden didn’t do a full background check on Tyler. Every APD applicant has to undergo a full background check before being hired.
Grover said Robert Tyler’s complaint is “absurd” for a number of reasons, including the fact that he didn’t actually name the officers in the complaint. And, he said, the complaint states that Robert Tyler got nervous when Anaya followed him out of the restaurant and checked out his license plate.
“This guy [Robert Tyler] has been a captain on the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department,” Grover said. “His complaining about being nervous about the officer following him is pure drama. The only reason you’re nervous is because you were caught doing something you should not have.”
Dennis Domrzalski is an associate editor at ABQ Free Press. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.