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APD Lying Scandal: What Did Eden Know, And When Did He Know It?

APD Lying Scandal: What Did Eden Know, And When Did He Know It?

What did APD Chief Gorden Eden know about APD's lies and when did he know it? Did officer Fred Duran lie on his own, or was he ordered to lie?

BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI AND CHARLES ARASIM

The big questions now in the APD lying scandal are what did Police Chief Gorden Eden know and when did he know it?

Did officer Fred Duran lie on his own, or was he ordered to lie in order to protect the department?

Did Eden order him to lie?

An investigation into APD’s lying scandal by the Civilian Police Oversight Agency suggests that Eden knew in December of 2016 that no APD officer ever went to the home of 10-year-old Victoria Martens after someone had complained that her mother’s boyfriend had tried to kiss her.

In the video below, CPOA investigator Paul Skotchdopole details what his investigation found in regards to what Eden knew about the situation and when he knew it. Freelance journalist Charles Arasim attended the CPOA’s Case Review Committee on August 1 and recorded it. The video below was shot by Arasim.

Skotchdopole suggests that Eden was told in December that no APD officer responded to the referral about Martens from the state’s Children Youth and Families Department. Yet in January of this year, APD spokespeople Fred Duran, a sworn police officer, and civilian Celina Espinoza, told an Albuquerque Journal reporter that APD detectives had visited Martens’ home and found nothing amiss.

A few months after APD got the referral from CYFD, Victoria Martens was drugged, raped, murdered and dismembered.

The question now is why did Duran and Espinoza lie about it? Will anyone be fired? Were they ordered to lie? If so, who gave the order?

Espinoza told the CPOA investigator that she told Eden in late January that she had basically lied to the Journal’s reporter.

Why didn’t Eden order her to immediately call the reporter and correct the lie? Why did it take six weeks for APD to admit to its lie?

Stay tuned.

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

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  • Jim Larson
    August 3, 2017, 8:08 am

    The APD Chief, and other APD officials, were aware that a public information officer deceived the public lying by asserting APD detectives responded to a potential child abuse or neglect referral from CYFD and interviewed Victoria Martens and her mother. The civilian Director of Communications & Community Outreach doubled down when she confirmed the untruths to the media.

    Exactly when the Chief was specifically aware of the lies remains uncertain but one thing on the record is that when he and others in APD command were aware, unbelievably, no one took any action. No Internal Affairs investigation, no command level inquiry, no public correction of the lies. Nothing, everyone at APD remained silent for at least six weeks, no public correction or explanation about the lies. A credible sign, not the oft repeated assurance of transparency, but of the expectation the lies and deception would blow over and the public would never be the wiser. But no, the intrepid Journal reporter continued to seek answers following up on the original story.

    Even after the deception was reported in the Journal, no internal investigation into the origin of the story, no interest in correcting the process that resulted in this appalling lie, no discipline for the perpetrator(s), just silence, APD brass just moving on.

    Thankfully, Albuquerque has a Police Oversight Board and investigative arm, the Civilian Police Oversight Agency. The CPOA conducted an investigation into the lies that will probably be approved by the entire Police Oversight Board at their next meeting, August 10, 2017. If approved, the Chief will get a letter explaining findings and recommendations, including disciplinary recommendations. By city ordinance, the Chief is supposed to provide the board of his final disciplinary actions and an explanation of any non-concurrence within 30 days. Wait and see since one of the persons reports directly to the Chief.

    After the APD’s specific officer’s failures in the equally disturbing homicide of Omaree Varela APD assured us their policy and procedures were thoroughly reviewed and corrected to avoid this happening again. No one is saying APD can prevent all these types of crimes or challenging the competency of the overworked Crime Against Children detectives. But the motivation for the outright lies in this case remain obscure. Why would a patrolman who also serves as a public information officer, all by his lonesome, to knowingly lie and provide false details in this of all cases? What could be in it for him other than disgrace and discipline if found out? Could failure to follow-up on the CYFD referral prove embarrassing or worse for APD? After all when his lies are discovered why is no action taken by the Chief of Police or anyone else in command?

    REPLY
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