ALBUQUERQUE, NM—Today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico released a statement in response to the allegations contained in a whistleblower lawsuit filed today by former APD records custodian Reynaldo Chavez against the Albuquerque Police Department (APD). The allegations, which are extensive, include that APD routinely violates public records law by withholding, delaying, destroying, and otherwise obfuscating important public records regarding controversial police actions, including lethal officer involved shootings, uses of force, and surveillance of peaceful protesters. The following statement can be attributed to ACLU of New Mexico Executive Director Peter Simonson:
“The allegations put forth in this lawsuit seem to back up what we’ve long suspected: that APD deliberately withholds, destroys, or otherwise obfuscates public records that they fear might make them look bad. If these allegations are true, they represent a serious breach of trust with the people of Albuquerque. APD needs to start following the law by releasing public documents we have a right to access, and give us the fully transparent police department that our community deserves.”
The ACLU of New Mexico currently has a pending lawsuit against APD for illegally withholding public records, including footage of an officer involved shooting, from local citizen journalist collective BurqueMedia. Reynaldo Chavez is named in the ACLU’s lawsuit as records custodian at the time.