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Mayoral Candidate Calls For Eden’s Resignation

Mayoral Candidate Calls For Eden’s Resignation

Michelle Garcia Holmes said APD Chief Gorden Eden should resign. If he doesn't, she'll fire him if she's elected mayor.

Mayoral candidate Michelle Garcia Holmes on Wednesday called on APD Chief Gorden Eden to resign after an independent investigation concluded that two of APD’s spokespeople lied to the public about the department’s role in the Victoria Martens case before the girl was drugged, raped, murdered and dismembered last year.

The investigation by the Civilian Police Oversight Agency found that APD spokespeople Fred Duran and Celina Espinoza lied to a reporter in January when they said that APD officers had investigated a referral that the boyfriend of Victoria’s mother had tried to kiss the 10-year-old girl. APD never did respond to the referral.

Here’s Garcia Holmes’ statement regarding the investigation:

Eden should resign. If he is still in the seat when I take office he will be fired. The revelation of the CPOA investigation is another indication of the dysfunctional and inadequate management of the police department by the police chief. 

Eden has been told he needed new protocols for crimes against children investigations by several entities and taxpayers also paid for a study by a private contractor. The results of that study are covered under, “The Child Abuse Prevention Task Force Report and Community Recommendations.” The report was completed August 8, 2014. It was initiated as a response to another heartbreaking child homicide case, the Omaree Varela case.

I served with the Albuquerque Police Department from 1984-2003. I retired from the Crimes Against Children Unit where I served as a detective.  Two points I want to share:

1. CPOA indicated that a non-sworn person made the decision on the Martens case. When I was a detective, “civilians” did not review which child abuse cases we went out on, your supervisors did that job.

2. CPOA revealed a lie had been told concerning the investigation of the Martens case. During my years with the department, if you were investigated for untruthfulness and it was substantiated, you were most likely looking at being fired. 

When I worked violent crimes, such as homicides and cases like the Martens case, we often times met directly with the chief and his staff to ensure he and management was kept apprised of the facts and investigation of these cases.

People of Albuquerque, our criminal justice system, including police officers, depend on the honesty and integrity of police personnel.

This is a heartbreaking case a case so horrific no one wants to hear or talk about it, but it is one of the reasons I’m running for mayor. We need new leadership in our city government, especially our police department.

Eden must go and he will not be retained by my administration. I will ensure we have appropriate protocols for all our violent crime cases, starting with crimes against children.

Our police department desperately needs an opportunity for accountable, results-driven leadership and a fresh perspective on how to address our burgeoning crime issues.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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