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APD to pay for delaying release of documents

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque taxpayers must pay $20,531 for the city police department’s failure to hand over available documents.

Second Judicial District Court Judge Nancy Franchini ruled Thursday that Charles Arasim is due $12,400 as compensation after the Albuquerque Police Department’s records unit took seven months to comply with Arasim’s request under the state’s Inspection of Public Records Act.

Franchini ruled that a reasonable time frame to turn over the documents was 90 days.

Arasim, represented by Thomas Grover, also won $7,955 in attorney cost and reimbursement of $176 for court filing fees of his lawsuit.

Arasim was seeking documents from the city’s Civilian Police Oversight Agency regarding an officer involved shooting and other issues.

Arasim did not return a call seeking comment.

Peter St. Cyr, executive director of the Foundation for Open Government, said the ruling is a reminder that information belongs to the public.

“We’ve got to start transforming the mindset of government employees to help them to understand that providing public information is an essential service equal to fire and police protection and it’s never burdensome; in fact, providing information should be a routine job duty,” he said.