Kari Brandenburg, the outgoing Bernalillo County district attorney, said Monday a federal “criminal investigation is absolutely warranted” into allegations that Albuquerque Police Department employees have tampered with videos that show police shootings. Brandenburg said Monday in a telephone interview she is sending documentation detailing the allegations to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque. This story originally appeared at New Mexico In Depth and is reprinted with permission. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office would not say Monday whether the agency planned to open an inquiry based on the district attorney’s referral. But spokeswoman Elizabeth Martinez wrote in an email “the Justice Department takes seriously all referrals from state and local prosecutorial authorities.”
Reynaldo Chavez, the police department’s former records supervisor, swore out an affidavit as part of an ongoing civil right rights lawsuit against APD in which he alleged that department employees had altered or deleted videos showing the events surrounding two controversial shootings by officers in 2014.
Donald Trump is coming back to New Mexico for a campaign rally, a week before Election Day. Trump will be in New Mexico Sunday to headline a campaign rally. The rally will be held at Atlantic Aviation, near the Albuquerque International Sunport according to Trump’s website. The doors will open at 4:00 p.m. for the 7:00 p.m. start time. Trump has a rally scheduled for Greeley, Colorado at 4:00 p.m. that same day.
After the failure of her preferred candidate, New Mexico’s governor is staying neutral in presidential race for now. Susana Martinez endorsed Marco Rubio earlier this month. Less than two weeks later, the Florida Senator was blown out in his home state by businessman and reality TV star Donald Trump. After the big loss, Rubio dropped out of the race, ending a disappointing presidential race by winning just one state and two territories. In New Mexico, the attention turned to who Martinez would endorse.
Tempers boiled over at the most recent meeting to discuss a bus rapid transit system slated to travel down Central. City Councilor Isaac Benton moderated the latest meeting of the Albuquerque Rapid Transit system, or ART, and clashed with some outspoken opponents of the proposal. Video was posted online by ABQ Free Press and as part of a news story by KOB-TV. Both are embedded below. The videos focus on one man, in a blue polo shirt and jeans, heckling Benton and then confronting him.
Two campaign ethics bills moved forward from a Senate panel on Monday as the end of the legislative session neared. The Senate Rules Committee passed both bills, but they received very different receptions. Sen. Lee Cotter, R-Las Cruces, had a bill that would give the Secretary of State’s office access to campaign banking records to better accomplish audits. “It allows the Secretary of State to go into my account, your accounts, and check what the checks were written for and how the deposits were without getting a court order,” Cotter said. The proposal passed with no recommendation after Senators expressed concerns that it would provide access to campaign banking records by political appointees in the Secretary of State’s office.
The city of Santa Fe has confirmed that former Gov. Bill Richardson was cited for failure to report an accident, though said there were few details. City of Santa Fe spokesman Matt Ross said that it was his understanding that the accident took place this morning, but did not have the exact time. Related Story: More details from the police report. KOB-TV was the first to report on the accident by the former governor. The officer has not filed a police report yet and there will be more details when that happens.
After a bad few days for Susana Martinez, she fled from reporters following an event to welcome home National Guard troops from overseas. A reporter for KOB-TV, Blair Miller, posted a clip on Twitter of Martinez refusing to answer questions and a member of her entourage slamming a door in the cameraman’s faces as someone asks, “Governor, do you mind if we chat with you?” Gov. Martinez, security REALLY didn’t want to comment again on notorious hotel party today. https://t.co/enoUp7v98R pic.twitter.com/L0LWLlKMGd — Blair Miller (@blairmiller) December 23, 2015
Martinez doesn’t even put on her jacket completely while she goes outside. The event featured Martinez in Santa Fe speaking to 38 National Guard soldiers who returned from a deployment in Kuwait and Iraq.
Gov. Susana Martinez has both apologized and partly defended her actions following a police response to a hotel room she was in last weekend which made headlines throughout the state and country. Though her office didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment from NM Political Report on Friday, her spokesman put out a statement to selected media outlets and Martinez appeared in person on KOB-TV Friday evening. “I apologize to the people of New Mexico for having done that,” Martinez told KOB. “I should have never talked to central dispatch the way I did, and I own it.”
Earlier that day, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office released audio of a 911 call Martinez made—one herself and one through the Eldorado Hotel’s front desk—where she asked what the police complaint was about and repeatedly demanded the identity of the person who complained. Three media outlets—NM Political Report, Santa Fe New Mexican and KRQE-TV—obtained the audio from the Sheriff’s office Friday morning.
A report by a local TV station says that Gov. Susana Martinez has made a decision on the next Secretary of State—and he hails from Albuquerque. KOB-TV reported on Monday night that Martinez will name Albuquerque City Councilor Brad Winter as the new Secretary of State. The station cited “sources close to New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez.” Update: Martinez officially appointed Winter as Secretary of State on Tuesday morning. The story continues as originally written below.
Attorney General Hector Balderas will stop providing legal counsel to Secretary of State Dianna Duran as she battles 64 criminal charges his office filed against her in court. Balderas is also returning 31 cases of potential campaign finance violations of state legislators and political action committees back to Duran’s office. Duran referred the 31 complaints to Balderas less than a week after he filed criminal charges against her in court. Balderas notified Duran’s office of the change Tuesday afternoon. “I am making this decision after careful consideration and even though I am confident that the [Office of the Attorney General] could otherwise handle the referrals competently and appropriately,” Balderas writes.