Controversial tweets roil APD oversight board - Albuquerque Journal

Controversial tweets roil APD oversight board

The Civilian Police Oversight Agency Board debated – but ultimately rejected – a proposal to establish a social media policy following a dustup between one of its members and the police union.

At issue are board member Chelsea Van Deventer’s twitter posts, including one in which she re-tweets a news analysis about the federal “Blue Lives Matter Bill,” and adds “F— THIS” and others in which she references police shootings in other states.

The controversy flared during last Thursday’s CPOA board meeting, with board members discussing impartiality and whether to establish a social media policy. Ultimately, the board took no action on the matter.

The CPOA was created after a Department of Justice investigation found the Albuquerque Police Department had a practice of using excessive force and violating citizens’ rights. The agency investigates complaints against citizens and makes recommendations to the chief about discipline.

Last month, the Albuquerque Police Officers Association sent a letter to the oversight agency board calling on Van Deventer to resign and bringing attention to her tweets. The association contends that the statements reveal Van Deventer cannot fulfill her duty to be impartial as required by the CPOA ordinance.

Shaun Willoughby, APOA president, told the Journal he believes Van Deventer has proven herself to be biased against police officers.

“This is about her open bias against the profession of policing and the fact that she is involved in voting for disciplinary infractions that concern Albuquerque police officers,” he said.

Van Deventer, who has been on the board for about a year and a half, said in an interview Friday she has no plans to resign.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico – as a member of the APD Forward community coalition – drafted its own letter, defending Van Deventer’s First Amendment rights and saying it’s troubling that the union would try to influence the board in this way.

“Whether by coercing the board to vote for resignation or through a sustained campaign of harassment, the APOA or any other party to the consent decree must not be allowed to destabilize years of reforms needed to address APD’s unconstitutional pattern and practice of excessive use of force,” the ACLU letter states.

Although the board decided not to implement a social media policy for its members, it did discuss “impartiality” and bias extensively. The CPOA ordinance states members should have: “a demonstrated ability to engage in mature, impartial decision making; and a commitment to transparency and impartial decision making.”

Vice chairwoman Joanne Fine referenced the ordinance and spoke out strongly against board members independently stating their views about policing.

“I think that we made a promise as board members to be impartial and be fair minded about these issues, that’s the whole reason we exist,” she said. “If we put that into question via social media or op-ed pieces or anything else – by putting our own personal feeling out there relative to APD and this issue – I think we put at risk everybody on the board in terms of their ability to be seen as a fair-minded person.”

In response to the police union’s criticism of her tweet using an expletive in reference to a “Blue Lives Matter Bill” – legislation that would include a penalty of up to 10 years in prison for assaulting a police officer – Van Deventer said she thought that kind of legislation is “a dangerous solution in search of a problem.”

“It is mostly a knee-jerk reaction to the success of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has finally brought to attention the disproportional use of lethal force against black bodies,” she wrote in an email to the Journal. “The fact that there exists a disproportionate use of lethal force against black bodies – nationally speaking – is just factual. Acknowledging facts does not indicate a bias.”

She said she pays a lot of attention to policing locally and nationally and that’s what made her interested in serving on the CPOA.

“I don’t think displaying an interest in the subject matter that’s central to policing – whether it be academically or monitoring current events – is any sort of disqualifier,” Van Deventer said. “I think it’s rather absurd to expect a police oversight board to be comprised of people who don’t have any interest in the subject matter that is central to police oversight and accountability. That’s definitely not the type of board the community should aspire to.”

Home » News » Albuquerque News » Controversial tweets roil APD oversight board

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories




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

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages

 

Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
1
Ready for Rihanna? A look at five songs that ...
ABQnews Seeker
Journal Staff WriterI am not sure ... Journal Staff WriterI am not sure if you have heard, but there is a football game this ...
2
Valentine's Day in Albuquerque: Lovers, friends and lonely hearts ...
ABQnews Seeker
There are plenty of fun options ... There are plenty of fun options for everyone to celebrate on or around the occasion
3
7 activities around the state to love this Valentine's ...
ABQnews Seeker
This weekend leads into Valentine's Day, ... This weekend leads into Valentine's Day, a holiday commonly associated with amor. Here are some activities to help you spend time with those you ...
4
Person fatally shot outside truck stop in Northwest Albuquerque
ABQnews Seeker
A person was shot and killed ... A person was shot and killed at a truck stop Wednesday afternoon in Northwest Albuquerque. Gilbert Gallegos, an Albuquerque police spokesman, said police responded ...
5
Senate decisively approves bill funding NM wildfire recovery efforts. ...
ABQnews Seeker
While New Mexico waits for federal ... While New Mexico waits for federal disaster relief funds to arrive, a bill that would allow public repair work in the burn scar of ...
6
Magician Jordan Jonas brings card tricks, mind reading and ...
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque magician Jordan Jonas brings his ... Albuquerque magician Jordan Jonas brings his creepy brand of psychic ability, sideshow stunts and storytelling into a haunted evening at Fusion at 7 p.m. ...
7
Senate Bill 12 aims to expand film incentive package
ABQnews Seeker
A proposed bill will help continue ... A proposed bill will help continue growth of state film jobs and workforce training. On Wednesday, Senate Bill 12 was introduced by Sen. Nancy ...
8
7 gun laws proposed in New Mexico
ABQnews Seeker
Gun control legislation is a priority ... Gun control legislation is a priority this year; here’s a round-up of what proposed laws would do, and where they’re at in the process.
9
Walmart shooting suspect pleads guilty to federal charges
ABQnews Seeker
EL PASO, Texas (AP) -- A ... EL PASO, Texas (AP) -- A Texas man pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges accusing him of killing nearly two dozen people in a ...