June 4, 2015

Judge rules DOJ agreement valid

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gavel on stack of documentsEarlier this week, a federal judge approved an agreement between the Department of Justice and the City of Albuquerque on reforms for the Albuquerque Police Department. The agreement dates back to last November when Mayor Richard Berry signed an agreement with the DOJ outlining reforms for APD.

On Tuesday, U.S District Judge Robert Brack ruled the agreement is valid. In the 30 page opinion, Brack wrote:

The Agreement lays a thoughtful foundation for building systematic reform in APD. The Amici drew attention to several areas that could create difficulties down the line. With vigilance and community participation, the parties can continue to improve upon the reform initiatives. Additionally, the Union raised several objections that elucidated how the Agreement will affect police officers. In total, these criticisms and objections lend valuable insight into the Agreement and the state of the APD. None of the criticisms undermined the integrity of the Agreement as a whole.

…The Court congratulates the parties on their efforts so far and is certain that the parties will maintain the same level of respect and professionalism when they implement these important reforms. Accordingly, the Court approves the Agreement and enters its content as an Order of the Court.

The Albuquerque Journal reported that the labor union that represents APD had previously challenged the agreement.

In approving the agreement, Brack shot down numerous arguments made by the Albuquerque Police Officers Association. The police union had argued that the settlement violated a contract reached by the city and police officers.

The court decision also mentioned that James Ginger will continue in his position as a court monitor and will make sure the city and the DOJ are complying with the agreement. Mayor Berry approved Ginger’s contract, but some city councilors we’re conflicted on how Ginger was performing his job.

New Mexico Political Report previously reported that some councilors were under fire for meeting with Ginger, and possibly violating the New Mexico Open Meetings Act.

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