Albuquerque and federal officials say there is an “urgency” to their negotiations to correct problems within the city’s police department to help ease community tensions over police use of deadly force, the Albuquerque Journal reports. U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez and Mayor Richard Berry acknowledged as much yesterday in announcing that the Department of Justice and the city have formally agreed that an independent monitor will oversee implementation of any agreement reached on revamping the police.
The agreement will be filed and approved by a federal judge who will be able to enforce it if the police department fails to meet the requirements laid out in the document. “There certainly is an urgency here,” Berry said. “We are making great progress.” The final agreement filed in court and overseen by an independent monitor will address use of force policies, interactions with individuals with mental illness and other disabiliies, tactical units, training, internal investigations and civilian complaints, and other issues. Department of Justice investigators reviewed 20 fatal shootings by Albuquerque police between 2009 and 2013 and found that in the majority of cases the level of force used was not justified because the person killed by police did not present a threat to police officers or the public.