"Stop blaming the police for Victoria Martens’ death," says Marie Miranda
How sick and grotesque can Albuquerque get?
Answer: So grotesque that a retired Albuquerque cop who once investigated child abuse cases, and who took $50,000 of taxpayers’ money to say that cops needed to be better trained to recognize signs of child abuse, is now saying that it is a waste of time for cops to investigate child abuse allegations because, well, kids lie to cops.
This latest example of total sickness comes from Marie Miranda, a retired APD cop, who wrote an op-ed piece that should make everyone puke.
Here’s the background:
In 2014 Mayor Richard Berry used $50,000 of our money to study what went wrong with the Albuquerque Police Department’s response regarding murder victim, Omaree Varela. Omaree was the 9-year old child who was kicked to death by his mother days after Christmas 2013.
The person Berry paid for that study was retired APD command officer Marie Miranda. In her final report Miranda noted that APD was now training all officers in “scenario-based” training to help identify child abuse.
She recommended that APD provide even more specialty child abuse training for a group of first responders, noting that these offices should receive specialty pay and be available for dispatch to child abuse calls. Their special training will allow them to identify instances of child abuse at the first response.
The investigation into Omaree’s death resulted in APD officers being disciplined for mishandling prior calls regarding the child.
Miranda’s study ends with this comment, “Omaree Varela will forever remind us that we all have a duty to protect children and we should respond to each child’s call for help as if they were our own.”
But three years later, and just this morning, Miranda wrote an op-ed piece in the Albuquerque Journal that is another example of cowardly flip-flopping and refusal to take responsibility for anything killing this city.
Miranda started her op-ed piece by saying, “Stop blaming the police for Victoria Martens’ death.” She didn’t have that opinion when she was being paid $50,000 to investigate Omaree Varela’s death three years ago.
Miranda then attacks the grandparents of Victoria, who are now suing APD for not sending officers to a Child, Youth and Families Department referral that came in five months before Victoria was murdered. This referral stated that an adult man was trying to force himself upon Victoria in an attempt to kiss her.
In the months after Victoria’s death, APD Chief Gorden Eden was briefed by his Crimes Against Children Detectives that this referral happened and that APD officers were never dispatched. After this briefing, Eden allowed his two public information officers, Fred Duran and Celina Espinoza, to lie to the public by telling them that APD officers did respond.
Eden allowed his staff to put lies into Victoria’s mouth and did nothing to correct those lies.
Which takes me back to Miranda’s op-ed. Miranda states that the people are the actual offenders, which include Victoria’s mother, Michelle Martens, and Victoria’s grandparents. Miranda asks, “Where were John and Pat Martens for 11 years before the culmination of these deadly circumstances?” It’s a good question and it should be answered.
Then Miranda makes this statement, “A family’s duty to protect supersedes the duty outsiders may have.”
Miranda completely ignores the fact that New Mexico State Statute requires law enforcement to follow up on all allegations of crimes involving children. A “family duty” does not supersede state law. Miranda knows this and is trying to cover for Eden and others at APD who failed to do their jobs.
Miranda states that “most experts (she never names them) conclude it takes a victim multiple interviews before disclosing sexual abuse… In retrospect, it is easy to say police messed up, but it is unlikely Victoria would have disclosed anything… we should not assume she would have told the police.”
WHAT? That’s the killer.
The way I read it, Miranda is saying that cops should never investigate child abuse allegations because, well, kids lie and they’ll waste cops’ time. She didn’t say that in 2014 when she took our $50,000.
Using Miranda’s current logic it would make no difference for first responders to have been sent to the CYFD referral. It appears Miranda is now contradicting herself from the 2014 study when she said first responders need more training, as well as a special group of first responders dispatched to recognize signs of child abuse. But now she says it wouldn’t have mattered if officers went; Victoria probably wouldn’t have disclosed anything and the officers wouldn’t have recognized any signs.
Duran and Miranda need to stop putting words into Victoria’s mouth. No one knows what Victoria would have said to police officers if they had been dispatched to her March 2016 “kissing” referral. These people need to stop making up lies to cover up the fact that APD did not send an officer. Victoria’s memory deserves truth, not assumptions.
Miranda and others simply cannot come to grips that APD failed in their duty to respond to Victoria. Would she have been saved from her murder in August if APD had sent officers in March? No one knows. But what I can tell you is Victoria never had a chance because officers were never sent.
Victoria’s murderers must be brought to justice. But that is not where her case should end. Just like with Omaree, APD and the community needs to recognize that they failed her. APD failed her by lying to the community and saying they responded.
When I read the 2014 report from Miranda as compared to her 2017 op-ed, I can only come to the following conclusions: I want law enforcement to stop putting words into Victoria’s mouth. Words she never spoke. I want accountability from top APD officials, or we’re destined to have another Omaree, another Victoria.