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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Activists demand City Council refuse Deaton's new contract

By Pilar Armstrong

In the wake of the 22 police shootings civil rights activists are demanding that Albuquerque's City Councilors not renew Independent Review Officer, William Deaton's contract with the City. Activists originally asked for Deaton's resignation from the Independent Review Office of the Police Oversight Commission. However, after Deaton was a no show at two City Council meetings activists are now demanding that Deaton's contract be nixed. The new proposed contract adds and additional $50,000 to Deaton's current salary of $98,440. Deaton, who was hired in 2007, is listed under the City's 250 highest paid employee's. Deaton is considered a part-time employee. 

The POC deemed all 22 shootings justifiable by APD. In contrast, many of the families of the shooting victims have filed civil lawsuits against the City and won large judgments because judges have ruled the shootings unjustifiable. Both Civil Rights groups and independent citizens have blamed the complacency of the POC on it's current leadership and are also asking that Chairperson Bambi Folk resign. 

"Grieving family members and many other citizens have repeatedly seen the IRO's and POC's routine excusal of all APD's abuses based solely on lies told by APD to internal affairs," claims activist Silvio Dell' Angela.

Dell'Angela and several family members of the shooting victims allege that the City's record's department also plays a part in complacency by denying them access to written records and tapes related to the shootings. The records office claims that the recordings either were unavailable, reorders weren't turned on or were malfunctioning or a combination of all three.  In an 2010 article featured in the Albuquerque Journal, APD officers claim that the new Scorpion Recorders are not as efficient as expected because they only offer 20 minutes of recording time and that it's too difficult to download data onto computers. However, after visiting a website that sold the same Scorpion recorders that APD purchased, it was discovered that the recorders actually offer over two hours of recording time and come with a complete owners manual. 

POC meetings are held the second Thur. of each month at 4:00p.m., in the City Council Chambers on the lower level of One Civic Plaza NW. The next City Council meeting will be held this Mon., Dec. 19, 2011 at 5:00p.m. at One Civil Plaza NW. Activists are asking for community support in demanding the resignation of Bambi Folk and the refusal of Deaton's contract at the Dec. 19th meeting. 

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