OPINION: Fed’s investigate APD officers and a defense attorney in reported kickback scheme

Mick Rich | Provided

By Mick Rich

Jan 29, 2024


Once again, New Mexicans wake up to learn the Federal Government has raided the homes of New Mexicans. The last time was in July 2021, when Democrat House Speaker Sheryl William Stapleton’s home was raided. This time, it was Albuquerque Police officers and a defense attorney while the Bernalillo County District Attorney dismissed 144 driving under the influence. We will soon learn what the Federal Attorney General’s office is investigating and why Bernalillo DA dismissed 144 DUI cases. 

As in most failures, people tend to focus on the failure of the last chain of events; in this situation, it is the APD police officers and the defense attorney. Albuquerque has a break in almost every link in the chain of justice.

The Links in the Chain of Justice

Link 1) The Mayor of Albuquerque is responsible for the actions of the executive branch of the government, which failed to stop the alleged kickback scheme. Link 2) The City Council is responsible for oversight of the executive branch, which includes discovering any kickback schemes. Link 3) The District Attorney is responsible for prosecuting criminals and not becoming a tool of the alleged kickback conspirators. Link 4) The Bernalillo County Municipal Court is responsible for determining the innocence or guilt of a party accused of a crime, not becoming a tool of the alleged kickback conspirators. Link 5) Public and private defenders must defend the defendant, not shake them down. Link 6) The US Attorney’s Office has been responsible for oversight of APD, not ignoring corruption. Link 7) The Albuquerque Police Department Internal Affairs is responsible for uncovering kickback schemes, not ignoring them. Link 8) If Albuquerque Police Officer’s union can’t police their members, then the members should not be policing us. 9) The City of Albuquerque Inspector General’s Office is responsible for uncovering kickback schemes, not ignoring them. Link 10) APD officers arrest those who break the law, not prey upon the arrested.

Political Jenga

Over the past twenty years, Santa Fe and Albuquerque Democrats have been playing a political version of Jenga, but instead of wood blocks, it is our and our loved ones’ lives. They have slowly removed one law after another, not to prosecute one law after another, not hold the lawless accountable while prosecuting the law-abiding. Now, the Santa Fe and Albuquerque Democrats look around at out-of-control crime, rampant homelessness, and the drug crisis and wonder what happened. In this political game of Jenga, the Albuquerque and Santa Fe Democrats won, and the people lost.

When Jeffery Epstein sex trafficked young women to New Mexico’s powerful at the Zorro Ranch in Santa Fe, it is not surprising that sex shops in many Albuquerque shopping centers are ignored. When Stapleton was charged over two years ago with 28 counts of money laundering, fraud, bribery, and other crimes, still walks free and her name is still on a building at the fairgrounds. It is not surprising that other government employees follow her actions. When meter-maids issue parking tickets while ignoring the homeless parked on the sidewalks, the city issues speed camera tickets on the law-abiding while drag racers and drifter’s carnage are ignored, signs announcing dog poop bags and stiff fines while the homeless defecating on our streets and sidewalks are ignored. Unsurprisingly, APD officers have answered, “What is the point?”.

OUR daughter experienced a home invasion, but she survived because she is intelligent, tough, athletic, and a close-by convicted felon on parole.  After the home invasion, I spoke with the APD officer filling out the report and pointed the finger at the federal Oversight Commission for the forty-five-minute response time.  AFD was treating the assailant for cuts and abrasions blocks away and pointed the finger at the archaic communication system. The mayor pointed the finger at the judicial branch, and the city council member said sorry to hear. Our daughter escaped without physical harm; I cannot imagine those fathers and mothers who grieve over their murdered, overdosed, or trafficked children. 

The time of political leaders pointing fingers at others and mumbling “sorry” is over.

Our elected officials promised to end the blood and urine flowing across our sidewalks, not wash the blood and urine into the gutter. They must find the strength to end the carnage on our streets or the courage to resign.  

The failures of our political leaders have fallen on the police officers. First, we must enforce and prosecute the lawbreakers or remove those laws. Second, it is time for the police to police their own, and those who do not deserve to wear the uniform don’t. Our men and women in uniform deserve nothing less from themselves and us. 

There is no better time than today for the mayor to assume full responsibility for enforcing Albuquerque’s laws, including overseeing all their actions. That responsibility comes with a commitment to those who serve in uniform; we need to defend them with all the power of the city when they are right and hold them accountable when not.  

We expect the United States Attorney’s Office to continue investigating the Keller Administration, his Albuquerque Police Department, and the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office. 

Mick Rich is a civil engineer and patent and copyright holder. His construction company for over forty year-built New Mexico’s communities including a few projects receiving national and international recognition. He was the 2018 Republican Candidate of US Senate and currently author and host of To The Point with Mick Rich.