Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal
Over the summer, the police union called on Chelsea Van Deventer to resign from the board of directors of the Civilian Police Oversight Agency over social media posts he saw as biased against law enforcement, including a tweet that criticized a federal “Blue Lives Matter” bill.
But in a twist this week, she ended up quitting because she took a law enforcement job herself.
Van Deventer, a lawyer, was hired as Laguna Pueblo’s chief prosecutor last month. She submitted her resignation letter to the CPOA board of directors on Thursday.
The city ordinance prohibits anyone who has been employed by law enforcement in the past year from serving on the board of directors.
“I know Board Member (William) Kass intends to lead a discussion about ‘punishing’ me under Robert’s Rules of Court for serving as the Pueblo Chief Prosecutor. de Laguna, ”Van Deventer wrote in his letter. “As much as I would love to be able to participate in this discussion, I have instead decided to resign and I hereby submit my resignation.” She provided a copy of this letter to the Journal.
In the six-page letter with attachments, Van Deventer also presented a litany of criticism of the CPOA’s investigation into a high-profile case involving an officer refusing to retrieve the bloodied underwear of a young girl who the prosecutors, was later trafficked by a relative. relative. The girl’s parent was recently convicted of separate allegations – that he forced his children to beg.
The CPOA, created after a Justice Department investigation found that the Albuquerque Police Department used excessive force, investigates civil complaints against officers and makes recommendations to the chief on matters of discipline.
An internal affairs investigation within the Albuquerque Police Department found that five officers had violated policies in the 7-year-old’s case, while the CPOA’s investigation found only one.
Van Deventer strongly advised the board to request an audit of the agency’s investigation into the case. “The matter is too complex and the CPOA investigation was treated with too much negligence for the Board to correct the many shocking issues presented by the CPOA investigation through the complainant’s appeal process.” , she wrote.
Edward Harness, the director of the CPOA, declined to respond to criticism Thursday evening.
This is not the first time the case has aroused the ire of a member of the CPOA board of directors.
Jim Larson, a former Dallas police officer and U.S. Secret Service agent, served four months on the board of directors before stepping down in part because of his deep feelings about the officers’ actions in the case. Shortly after, he filed the complaint with the CPOA.
He has since strongly criticized the CPOA’s investigation and told the Journal on Friday that he agreed with many of the points made by Van Deventer.
The CPOA board plans to take action on a case audit at its December meeting.