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Justice Department Launches Investigation of the Albuquerque, N.M., Police Department’s Use of Force

The Justice Department announced today that it has opened a civil investigation into use of force by the city of Albuquerque, N.M., Police Department (APD).   The investigation will focus on allegations that APD officers engage in use of excessive force, including use of unreasonable deadly force, in their encounters with civilians.

Through the investigation the department will seek to determine whether APD engages in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force in violation of the Constitution and federal law.   The investigation will include a comprehensive review of the police department’s policies, training and systems of accountability.   The investigation will also examine the police department’s engagement with the community and external oversight of officer-involved shootings and other force incidents.

Prior to the announcement, department officials met with Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry and APD Chief Ray Schultz, who pledged their full cooperation with the investigation.

The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 prohibits state and local governments from engaging in a pattern or practice of misconduct by law enforcement officers that deprives individuals of federally-protected rights.   The department has conducted similar investigations into use of force by law enforcement agencies, both large and small, across the country.

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