The March meeting of the Civilian Police Oversight Board was a relatively lengthy meeting that included an officer involved wounding case and much discussion about the Board’s considerable dissatisfaction with the Chief’s responses to the Board and the ability of the Board members to affect City policy.
The Board announced that their new data analyst, Dr. Miriam Verploegh, would be leaving.
As it now does routinely, the Board dismissed several cases by closing them administratively or by signing off on their dismissal without identifying any specific cases by name. The Board also held a closed “Executive Session” without identifying or announcing the reason for its secret meeting, saying only that it was for discussion of personnel or attorney-client privileged matters.
The Policy Review Subcommittee report by Dr. Brown focused on the City’s Office of Policy Analysis and a letter being drafted about the failure of the process to allow input from the members of the Civilian Oversight Board or the public.
Officer-Involved Shooting Case
The CPOB heard and agreed with Director Harness’ recommendation of further inquiry into the “accidental” shooting and wounding of an Albuquerque man. In particular, he suggested that an investigation should be initiated against Sergeant K., who “ordered an out- of-policy search.”
Ramiro Armendariz was shot on December 14, 2014 by APD officer Tamas Nadas, who claimed he was climbing through a window on a burglary investigation in an apartment near Louisiana and Zuni “when he stumbled. He accidentally fired a shot, sending a bullet from a second-floor apartment through to the first floor apartment where Armendariz was grabbing a drink of water,” according to KRQE’s report.
The CPOA and Harness not only found fault with both the conduct of the officer who fired the bullet, but expressed concern over officers’ unwarranted and unconstitutional search of the premises above the shooting victim’s apartment and the investigation that failed to criticize either the shooting or the warrantless entry by police. “The law does not allow the officer to enter that apartment” without a warrant, Harness told Board Chair Joanne Fine, when she questioned his conclusion that the warrantless entry violated the law.
The case was reportedly settled for around $400,000.