With the wrongful death trial involving APD officers Brett Lampiris-Tremba and Byron Economidy in the hands of the jury, let’s reflect upon the event in the greater scheme of things. This is not just a trial involving two officers and the shooting death of Kenneth Ellis, III, it is a trial of the Albuquerque Police Department under the leadership of its chief, Ray Shultz, and the management of the city’s mayor RJ Berry (we’re not sure where he is or if he’s available, but he is still the mayor we are told).
With the shooting death of Mr. Ellis in January of 2010, the year marked the greatest number of shootings by APD personnel in the department’s history. During a time when the department and FBI’s own statistics showed violence crimes and assaults against officers were falling to record lows. Just a note to those who follow the UCR (Uniformed Crime Report) from APD; our Eyes inside tell us the report is ready but Schultz and Berry have ordered PD personnel NOT to release it yet. Apparently it is bad new for Berry and they need time to spin it or alter the numbers...
During this trial, which marks the first of many wrongful death suits coming to trial, the chief of APD was nowhere to be found. With the exception for about the one hour where his officers Lampiris and Economidy testified and exposed themselves to federal civil rights crimes, Schultz was nowhere to be seen. Even his usually active Twitter propaganda account was silent.
Yet, this was the case where Schultz lobbied to overturn former IRO Judge Deaton’s finding that the shooting was unjustified.
Yet this is the trial that DOJ lawyers present in the courtroom.
Yet this was the case where the Albuquerque Journal’s Jeff Proctor Tweeted updates on testimony by the minute in unprecedented fashion.
Yet this is one of the very few wrongful death trials where the officer’s action was deemed unconstitutional in pre-trial motions.
And yet this is the trial where the damages are now left to the jury and may reach unprecedented amounts of millions of taxpayer dollars. Which may lead to a string of such judgments that may force the City of Albuquerque into bankruptcy.
While all this is going on, Ray Schultz continues his track of leaderless occupation of chief of the state’s largest and most heavily funded, and now understaffed, police force. And as the nation once again finds out more details in APD’s gross negligence (and most likely intentional negligence) in the handling of Ms. Mary Han’s crime scene, Ray Schultz remains in hiding.
But now, APD is tarnished by this chief who endorses lies while the plaintiffs have told and proved truths. Where officers who lie and commit crimes taint the honorable efforts of all other officers. Where at least two city counselors, including the city council president, are calling for Ray Schultz’s much deserved removal. And where once again, with the actions of 12 jurors, citizens will police the police.
Our eyes tell us that Ray Schultz will not leave without a fight and has already retained a personal lawyer. Our eyes also tell us that despite this, and despite Mayor Berry’s total absence and “unavailable for comment” policy when confronted with any significant city event, Ray Schultz is on his way out. Which begs us to ask, who’s next?
Our Eyes tell us the answer is quite simple. Former APD captain Larry Sonntag. This does not surprise us at all and some information forwarded to us, tells us that Mr. Sonntag is the sort of business person hyper-conservative RJ Berry would like:
•Director of NM Business Coalition. Self-described as “a true grassroots operation that will educate individual voters about the candidates and issues in their district and motivate them to take that knowledge to the polls and vote. We should promote the growth of our private sector and stop demonizing the corporations and industries that are key drivers of a healthy U.S. Economy.”
•Vice President of SEI, Consulting & Management...unknown what this entity does.
•Vice president and chief of operations of Armed Response Team....former company owned by convicted fraudster and retired APD sergeant Fil Baca.
NOTE: Armed Response Team makes all their money off of responding to buglar alarms that APD does not. Conflict of interest? You tell us...
•Vice President of Sonntag Enterprises, Inc...unknown what the entity does.
•Director of Rebound New Mexico...a non profit tax shelter
It’s clear that Mr. Sonntag has many business interests that he will have to table if he were to become chief. We also were unable to confirm if his law enforcement certification is still valid. But his career as a police officer is less than diverse as his business interests…
•5 months out of the academy he went to APD Hit & Run and was inside ever since until his retirement. He was one of the first appointed captains under Martin Chavez.
•He wrote a memo to then Chief Gilbert Gallegos asserting failures in the evidence room scandal. Chavez promoted him to Captain in an effort to restore confidence in the mayor's handling of the mess. Schultz was his boss at the time.... Sonntag is viewed to have been the man to make the evidence mess go away and do damage control.
Mayoral Candidate Paul Heh stand firmly with the two city counselors, including the city council president, whom are calling for Ray Schultz’s removal. Heh stated to the Eye On Albuquerque, "the corruption in APD started with a chief who is out of control and has lied to all of us; chop off the head of the snake and this corruption will stop!"
Will this be a case of “the chief is dead, long live the chief?” We shall see….
UP-DATE, 15, MARCH 13 @ 1640 HRS: SCHULTZ LETTER
UP-DATE, 15, MARCH 13 @ 1640 HRS: SCHULTZ LETTER