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FBI Gets Excessive Force Case File

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Internal Affairs files on former APD officer John Doyle, whose repeated kicking of a suspect was captured on video last year, have been turned over to the FBI at the bureau’s request.

Internal Affairs Sgt. Jason Peck testified during Doyle’s personnel board hearing Wednesday that the FBI wanted the file on Doyle “and several others.” He did not name the other cases.

Elizabeth Martinez , spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque, said Wednesday that her office “cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.”

Police Chief Ray Schultz fired Doyle last November. The chief also fired Robert Woolever, who was on the ground with Nicholas Blume and trying to handcuff him in a parking garage off Louisiana Boulevard NE in February 2011, while Doyle threw several kicks at Blume, many of which struck him in the head.

Both men are trying to get their jobs back.

“I think Ray Schultz took this case as a golden opportunity to feed John Doyle to the feds to try and get out from under the possibility of an investigation into all these shootings and other excessive force cases,” Doyle’s attorney, John D’Amato, said Wednesday. “But I really believe Doyle did the right thing out there.”

APD officials have acknowledged that they have turned over files from several cases to federal investigators. The U.S. Department of Justice has been considering for more than a year whether to launch a civil rights investigation into APD, including the fact that officers have shot 25 people since 2010, 17 fatally.

Doyle’s final hearing was Wednesday, and a decision should be rendered by January. Any decision can be appealed to state District Court.

Whether the longtime officer, who spent 18 years as a cop in Philadelphia, gets his APD job back depends on what the city’s hearing officer decides. Did he intentionally kick Blume in the head? Was the force he used excessive? And was Doyle consistently truthful during four APD investigations into the incident, three of them administrative and the other criminal?

Peck testified Wednesday that Doyle told investigators early on – including those who had cleared him of wrongdoing in the first administrative probe – that the video showed excessive force.

Doyle told Peck in later interviews that he could have justifiably shot Blume and that the kicks weren’t excessive, according to Peck’s testimony.

D’Amato said Doyle’s comments in the early investigations were simply that someone watching the video who didn’t know the context for his encounter with Blume would conclude that he used excessive force.

APD gang unit officers had shown Doyle a picture of Blume four days before the incident and told him Blume was dangerous and might be out to kill a cop. Doyle has testified that he recognized Blume the night he and Woolever stopped Blume and chased him on foot prior to the kicking.

After Blume was taken into custody, police found a gun in his truck.

Peck testified Wednesday that multiple knives were found at the scene, but he didn’t know if Blume was carrying them.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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