We first told you about the DWI stop of Ralph Ortega in a post from April 27th. Today, the Journal finally ran the story (Subscription Required) regarding allegations of "special conduct" for Ortega, who is a retired AFD Captain and the brother of Fire Chief Robert Ortega.
The short version of the incident is that Ralph Ortega was stopped for lane violations and suspicion of DWI. When it was determined that Mr. Ortega was most likely intoxicated DWI officer Bret White was called to handle field sobriety testing and Ortega's arrest. Enter the 5th floor...
Standard procedure dictates that the arresting officer books the offender and then takes them to the Prisoner Transfer Center downtown. The PTC then transports the prisoner out to the Metropolitan Detention Center. On the night of April 17th according to officer White's report, he was ordered to personally take Mr. Ortega to MDC.
Today's story featured the runaway bride-nabber herself, APD spokeswoman Trish Hoffman. Ms. Hoffman made a concerted effort to spin this in order to protect her bosses on the 5th floor. As a result she gave out some information that is both contradictory and misleading.
First the ridiculous... "We didn't want the fire chief's brother to be in danger at the PTC because of his position... You just never know what might happen to anyone in law enforcement or with a high-profile family member if the other inmates learn who he or she is." Danger?! Ms. Hoffman MUST be kidding. Firemen are probably the only city employees that are universally welcomed when they arrive on scene. Who's not happy to see firemen when their house is burning to the ground? Therefore, the likelihood of Mr. Ortega being in danger is pretty darn close to zero and certainly no higher than say a doctor or a lawyer. (Well, maybe a lawyer would be in danger, but they aren't generally accorded any special treatment.)
Next the blame shift... We are expected to believe that Chief Schultz gave no instructions as to the handling of a "high-profile case," AND that Ms. Hoffman took it upon herself to give instructions to officer White's sergeant to personally transport Mr. Ortega to MDC. Look, officer Hoffman may be famous but she doesn't have the rank or authority to ask anyone to violate standard procedure. Further, The Eyes have it that officer White's sergeant was never involved. Rather, it was the acting lieutenant of the Valley Command who notified officer White of the changed orders and that they came from the Chief.
The Misleading... In today's article officer Hoffman claims that the PTC was not in use on the night of Ortega's arrest, which is technically true... or at least half true. On Tuesday nights the PTC is funded by grant money which means it is only available for DWI offenders. Other offenders must be transported out to MDC by the arresting officer. Mr. Ortega was accused of DWI, so Ms. Hoffman was spinning the facts to make the reader draw the conclusion that Ortega could not have been transported by the PTC anyway.
The truth is officer White was so irritated by what he deemed special treatment, that he put the order in his report. His act served to protect him against being accused of deciding to give Mr. Ortega special treatment on his own, but it also left a record that the 5th floor has to defend.
To make matters worse, when the Journal got hold of officer White's report, they decided to try and spin their way out. There's an old adage that says that "it's not the crime, it's the cover-up stupid." [Ok, we added the stupid part.] It just goes to show you that you don't have to have millions of dollars and be named Paris to get special treatment in Albuquerque. And no... that's not a good thing.
Oops! We really do like the headline to this story. Unfortunately in our enthusiasm, we misspelled Paris not once but twice! The post has been corrected but those that subscribe by email undoubtedly are thinking "what the heck do they mean by pairs in Albuquerque?"
The Piercing Truth
This is right from the dictionary and seems to describe Albuquerque, Berry and Schultz. Fascism (f ash ,izem) noun An authoritarian right wing system of government and/or social organization. (in general use) extreme right wing, authoritarian, chauvinistic and/or intolerant views or practices. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one group over another, national, ethnic, especially social strata or monetarily; a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Compliments of one of our Eyes