Eden, police board at odds on spokesman's suspension - Albuquerque Journal

Eden, police board at odds on spokesman’s suspension

The Albuquerque police chief has concluded that a former spokesman should be suspended eight hours for providing the Journal with incorrect information about police investigating an alleged assault against a young girl who was later brutally killed.

APD Chief Gorden Eden

But Chief Gorden Eden disagreed with the Police Oversight Board, which said the officer “did lie” to the Journal about the Victoria Martens case, and should be suspended 80 hours.

Victoria, 10, was raped and killed in her home in west Albuquerque in August 2016. Three adults, including her mother, have been charged in her death.

Ed Harness, the director of the Civilian Police Oversight Agency, announced the chief’s findings at a Police Oversight Board meeting Thursday night.

Because Eden disagreed with the civilian oversight group, the case will be reviewed by an independent monitor overseeing a yearslong police reform effort, he said.

“Our findings were that (the officer) and the PIO purposefully lied with the information they shared with the Journal,” Police Oversight Board Chairwoman Joanne Fine said during the meeting.

APD officer Fred Duran

City rules prohibit civilian oversight groups from identifying the involved officers in cases they publicly discuss. But the Journal has identified him as Fred Duran, a former police public information officer.

The chief’s explanation for only suspending Duran eight hours, as described by Harness at Thursday’s board meeting, was that Duran was ill prepared for an interview with the Journal and didn’t perform his duties as expected.

But Eden didn’t find that a preponderance of the evidence showed that Duran had intentionally lied.

“Giving incorrect information and lying are two entirely different matters,” Eden said in police documents read aloud by Harness. “Lying requires intent. … I do not believe this factual allegation can be sustained.”

The chief did find that Duran had a duty to make sure the information he relayed to the Journal was correct.

“He failed to successfully perform his duties as” public information officer, Eden said.

An investigation by the CPOA found that Duran was in a meeting with other police officials in December 2016 and was told that prior to Victoria’s death, police received a complaint that a man had tried to kiss Victoria and police never investigated.

The next month Duran told the Journal that police had investigated the case, but found no crime had been committed. The Journal reported that information.

In March, upon receiving additional questions from the Journal, Duran and police officials said there was a miscommunication and told the Journal that police had not investigated the complaint. The Journal then reported the correct information.

That story prompted a complaint to the CPOA about Duran, which led to an investigation that resulted in the recommended suspension.

The chief’s decision also was based on the fact that many of the conversations Duran had about Victoria before his interview with the Journal weren’t recorded, so there was no evidence he lied, Harness said.

It isn’t clear if Duran has served the suspension or if he will appeal.

Home » News » Albuquerque News » Eden, police board at odds on spokesman’s suspension


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
U.S. Marshals involved in shooting in Northeast Albuquerque
ABQnews Seeker
Agents with the U.S. Marshals Service ... Agents with the U.S. Marshals Service were involved in a shooting on Montgomery and San Mateo NE Monday night. Jim Glisson, a spokesman for ...
2
Motion: FBI seized phone from Trump campaign lawyer
ABQnews Seeker
The New Mexico man who played ... The New Mexico man who played a key role in trying to keep Donald Trump in office after he lost the presidential election in ...
3
Supreme Court backs coach in praying on field after ...
ABQnews Seeker
The Supreme Court said Monday that ... The Supreme Court said Monday that a high school football coach who knelt and prayed on the field after games was protected by the ...
4
APD investigating homicide in Nob Hill area
ABQnews Seeker
Police say the person was found ... Police say the person was found outside
5
More support sought for early childhood education
ABQnews Seeker
and during the COVID-19 pandemic, no ... and during the COVID-19 pandemic, no less — is no small task. That's why Melissa Martinez, a single mother of a 3-year-old son and ...
6
Sunday shooting deaths of husband, wife will be investigated ...
ABQnews Seeker
Son had been charged with killing ... Son had been charged with killing father; father suspected of killing wife
7
Freedom 4th celebration returns
ABQnews Seeker
Thanks to generous amounts of recent ... Thanks to generous amounts of recent rainfall, the grass is lush and green at Balloon Fiesta Park, just in time for the return of ...
8
Gov. appoints new IT secretary
ABQnews Seeker
Peter Mantos, who has had a ... Peter Mantos, who has had a 30-year career in software development and technical management, is joining Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's administration as secretary of ...
9
Rains ease drought, but flooding threats loom
ABQnews Seeker
In the past two weeks, some ... In the past two weeks, some parts of New Mexico have received more than half of their typical annual rainfall. The persistent rain is ...