'Absolutely not' - former APD cop
Complaint: Detective Should be Investigated for Perjury
Chief Must Rule on Possible Discipline for Dining Companion
Related story: APD Major and Favoritism
When Dennis Maez saw the photograph that the Albuquerque Police Department posted on is Facebook page he laughed.
Not because he thought it was funny, but because the photo symbolized to Maez all that is wrong with APD, including favoritism among APD’s top brass.
It persuaded Maez that he will never get a fair decision from APD Chief Gorden Eden on a complaint he filed against an APD detective he is accusing of perjury and coercing witnesses in a murder investigation.
The detective’s handling of the case led two innocent young men to spend 10 months in jail before prosecutors stepped in and threw out the detective’s tainted case.
The April 25 photo Maez refers to is of Eden dining at a West Side Texas Roadhouse restaurant with APD Det. Jodi Gonterman and her husband, APD Maj. Tim Gonterman. The group appears to be having a good time. Jodi Gonterman is the subject of Maez’s perjury and witness intimidation complaint.
Maez, a former APD cop and retired U.S. Secret Service agent, said the photo, and all it represents, is Exhibit A is support of his belief that Eden will probably protect Jodi Gonterman.
“I wasn’t surprised. I kind of laughed,” Maez said. “You’ve got the chief of police who will be deciding on discipline [for the detective]. He knows a complaint has been filed and he’s having dinner with her. The optics are not good. If it gets to the point where discipline is recommended and he [Eden] rules in her favor and unfounds the complaint, well, the optics are not good.
“It is extremely disheartening as a professional law enforcement officer to see the perception that the command staff of APD has left the public with, but it is not surprising.”
Would Eden discipline Jodi Gonterman? “Absolutely not,” Maez said.
Maez’s grandson, Donovan Maez, and another man, Christopher Cruz, were charged with murder in connection with the June 26, 2015, shooting of 17-year-old Jaydon Chavez-Silver, who was killed when shots were fired into a home at 1101 Nakomis Dr. NE.
Charges against them were dropped on June 2, 2016, after the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office determined they weren’t involved in the shooting. – but only after they had spent 10 months in jail.
Last December, Maez filed a 23-page complaint against Jodi Gonterman with the Civilian Police Oversight Agency. If the agency decides that Jodi Gonterman acted improperly it could recommend that she be disciplined or fired. That recommendation would have to be accepted or rejected by Eden.
In his complaint, Maez argues Jodi Gonterman should be investigated for perjury, subornation of perjury and intimidation of witnesses. He argues she decided early on in the investigation that Donovan Maez and Cruz were guilty, then got witnesses to say things that supported her theory.
“Defense attorneys and investigators determined that Det. Gonterman supplied witnesses with a narrative, and through intimidation coerced, and forced, by way of threats, witnesses to provide the false information in the narrative supplied by Det. Gonterman for the purpose of implicating Maez and Cruz,” Maez’s complaint says.
“Det. Gonterman basically threatened witnesses that if they did not acquiesce and tell her what she wanted to hear, and demanded to hear, she would charge the witnesses as conspirators in the murder of Chavez-Silver,” the complaint says.
The complaint continues: “Not only did this investigation fall way short of any acceptable standard, the investigation was horribly tainted by the investigative techniques of intimidation, coercion and threats that were utilized.”
APD spokeswoman Celina Espinoza said Eden and the Gonterman’s were at a law enforcement social function when the photo was taken. “Chief Eden maintains professionalism under all circumstances,” Espinoza said.
Earlier this week, the blog Eye on Albuquerque suggested that Tim Gonterman suffered no consequences following the theft of a military-style semi-automatic rifle from his police SUV because of his relationship with Eden.
The blog, and later, the Albuquerque Journal, noted multiple instances in which lower-ranking APD personnel were disciplined and required to reimburse APD for the loss of their weapons under similar circumstances.
Photo illustration: Eye on Albuquerque website