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Albuquerque activists seek federal probe of police

By Russell Contreras

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, March 27 2012 1:30 a.m. MDT

Police Chief Ray Schultz credited the changes with a reduction in the number of police shootings. "As soon as we saw an upward trend in 2010, we responded," Schultz said.

Schultz said his department's police shooting review team looks at each incident to determine whether there also should be changes in policy, training or equipment.

"We never sit back and say, 'that's the cost of doing business,'" said Schultz. "We try to look at the root causes and address them."

Schultz said it was unfair to compare cities on officer-involved shootings since each deals with different circumstances, economies and department reactions.

Still, Jewel Hall, an Albuquerque civil rights leader, said activists are planning to increase pressure on elected officials. Activists plan to speak out at the next Albuquerque City Council meeting and a group is organizing a trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with DOJ officials.

A civil Justice Department probe could result in federal officials suing to force a department to reform various policies and police behavior, Walker said. It could also result new leadership, he added.

A criminal DOJ investigation could result in charges against officers for civil rights violations.

Kenneth Ellis Jr., whose 25-year-old son Kenneth Ellis III was shot and killed by police in 2010, said the federal probes in Miami and Portland tells him that Albuquerque is "long overdue" for an investigation by federal authorities.

"How can they not be here?" Ellis said. "We've had so many more incidents."

Follow Russell Contreras on twitter at http://twitter.com/russcontreras .

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