Sheriff Manuel Gonzales of Bernaillo County, New Mexico
Sheriff Manuel Gonzales of Bernaillo County, New Mexico believes that body cameras allow the media to unfairly criticize his deputies by giving a lopsided, one-sided story, which is a disservice to the whole community. That is why he does not require his deputies to wear body cameras. Meantime, his deputies have been involved in nine shootings since August 2017. And it is only Thanksgiving yet!
Most recently, 50-year-old Matthew Scudero was fatally shot after authorities said he opened fire on deputies on Nov. 10, 2017.
Members of the Scudero family, American Civil Liberties Union, and the New Mexico Foundation of Open Government are concerned that there is no clear picture of what happened in the Scudero case as well as the eight others this half year. Perhaps more training is needed? Perhaps Gonzales should simply terminate and prosecute unfit officers? Whatever the correct action is, Gonzales will never know without body cameras.
Body cameras would give definitive evidence of what is occurring, particularly if operational during all hours a deputy is on duty.
Sheriff Gonzales has not recognized that body cameras give superior officers a tool for evaluation of personnel during all duty. Body cameras could actually help him ensure that his deputies are able to protect and serve the public. Perhaps what Bernaillo County needs is a Sheriff who is able and willing to take advantage of all the technology available.
It won’t happen without pressure from citizens to move Bernaillo County and Albuquerque, New Mexico into the present age of policing. Voters of New Mexico, consider Plan B.
John 3:19-21 (ASV)
19 And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest his works should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, that they have been wrought in God.
FILE- In this April 26, 2016 file photo, Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales discusses an officer-involved shooting in Albuquerque, N. M. The sheriff of New Mexico’s most populous county will not require his deputies to use body cameras because he says the media would use the video to unfairly criticize the officers. Gonzales said Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, that the video "gives a lopsided, one-sided story." (Mary Hudetz, File/Associated Press)
November 23, 2017, Washington Post
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —
The sheriff of New Mexico’s most populous county will not require his deputies to use body cameras because he said the media would use the footage to unfairly criticize the officers.
Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales told KOAT-TV in a story Tuesday that the video "gives a lopsided, one-sided story, which I think is a disservice to the whole community."
His stance has drawn criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union and the New Mexico Foundation of Open Government.
Bernalillo deputies have been involved in nine shootings in the last four months. In the most recent, 50-year-old Matthew Scudero was fatally shot after authorities said he opened fire on deputies on Nov. 10.
A family member of Scudero has questioned the sheriff’s office for why it doesn’t have video of the encounter.
People want to know what happened and are not trying to unfairly paint the police a certain way, said Greg Williams, president of the open government foundation.
"It often justifies their position because it shows that they were doing their job in a correct way," Williams said. "And in those situations where maybe they were not, or mistakes were made, or things that they could learn from, the video helps that process."
Deputies do record audio during their interactions with people. The sheriff’s office has not yet released the audio related to the shooting form earlier this month.