ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The city and the Department of Justice have reached a settlement agreement that both sides said will result in a cultural shift within the Albuquerque Police Department, but civil rights attorneys say that’s yet to be decided.
A legal team organized by APD Forward, a community organization advocating for improvements to APD, reviewed the agreement and said the independent monitor hired to oversee the reforms could determine if the agreement is a success. The group discussed its review Wednesday.
The 106-page agreement unveiled Friday outlines the court-enforceable reforms APD must make in the coming months and years. The settlement aims to revamp the department’s use-of-force controls, specialized units, training, internal investigations and recruitment, among other areas. It was negotiated after a DOJ investigation showed APD had a practice of excessive force, which included fatal police shootings.
“Monitoring all these things, the deployment of SWAT, the way the discipline is going to be enforced, is critical,” said Alexandra Freedman Smith, the legal director for the American Civil Liberties of New Mexico.