Tera Chavez died in October of 2007. By May of 2008, the Valencia County Coroner had determined that Chavez's death was not a suicide. Last week the Tera Chavez estate had their first hearing in their wrongful death suit against Officer and Pound Cage-mucker Levi Chavez.
The wrongful death suit makes a number of allegations against Chavez chief among them that he's responsible for the death of his wife. The Albuquerque Police Department is also named in the suit for condoning extra marital affairs and for allowing officers to wreck a crime scene.
Office fraternization is never a good idea and managers in both the public and private sectors struggle to minimize it in the workplace. We'll defer to the judge when it comes to APD's responsibility, but affairs, adultery, and accusations of more serious sexual misconduct are yet another one of the problems that The 5th Floor refuses to deal with or acknowledge.
The most concerning aspect of this whole affair as far as APD's involvement is concerned is the inability of trained APD officers to recognize a potential crime scene and know not to screw it up. Valencia County isn't known for its investigative prowess and we all know that the DA down there has more than a issues, but Chief Schultz and everyone at APD would be screaming if 9 officers from another agency trampled around in a potential crime scene in their jurisdiction. Was the activity simply stupid or perhaps intentional?
For now, the Chavez estate is exercising the only option that it has in their quest to finally see justice done. So far, the criminal system has failed them starting with the first officers on the scene - officers who should have never been there.