A U.S. Justice Department report due today on police shootings in Albuquerque, NM, is expected to lead to a federal monitor and police department reforms, the Associated Press reports. In the latest of 37 incidents since 2010, police killed a homeless camper in the Sandia Mountain foothills on March 16, leading to a protest where angry residents hurled rocks, walked onto freeways and hunted down officers. Mayor Richard Berry has asked the federal agency to help overhaul the police department. New Police Chief Gorden Eden supported the request.
If a federal monitor is appointed and the city agrees on terms, Albuquerque would join cities such as Detroit, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Seattle that are subject to federal oversight. “Such a plan will help bring about any necessary system improvements and accountability measures,” Berry told the Justice Department last week. Reforms could cost the city millions of dollars, as they did for police departments in New Orleans and Portland, Or., that were scrutinized by federal officials. “It’s hard to admit it, but Albuquerque can be a violent city,” said Darren White, a former Albuquerque director of public safety and former Bernalillo County sheriff. “That takes away the focus of all the positive things going on.”