A defiant Albuquerque, N.M., police union President Joey Sigala says the union will continue to financially support officers who have been involved in shootings, despite calls from the mayor and police chief for the practice to stop, the Albuquerque Journal reports. Mayor Richard Berry said he was “shocked” to learn of the practice and said it “needs to end now,” while Police Chief Ray Schultz called the payments “troubling.” The Journal reported Friday that the union had paid more than $10,000 to officers involved in shootings, dating to the start of 2010.
In all, 23 APD officers shot people during 20 incidents last year and the year before. Fifteen of those shootings were fatal. Union financial documents obtained by the Journal show that 20 of the officers received union payments. Of those, 16 received $500, two were paid $300, one received $800 and a payment of $1,000 went to one officer. Sigala said the union has made cash payments and supported in other ways officers involved in shootings and other “critical incidents” for more than 20 years. “What we have learned about this practice thus far is troubling,” said Schultz. “We support our officers when they are placed in these critical incidents. However, we recognize the union is further putting these officers in an untenable situation that we don't agree with.”