IOF + APD = excessive force

There may be a connection between the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) and the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF), as I wrote about here.

APD at Occupy protest in 2011

APD at Occupy protest in 2011

The Law Enforcement Exchange Program (LEEP) brings them together for joint training programs and exercises.  The LEEP Handbook notes:

There are 700,000 law enforcement officers in the United States. If properly trained and informed, local law enforcement can serve as the “eyes and ears” of the nation to prevent and best respond to terrorist attacks.

The Law Enforcement Exchange Program (LEEP) was created
in cooperation with the Israel National Police, the Israel Ministry of Internal Security, and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) to support and strengthen American law enforcement counter terrorism practices.

“Excessive force” is the common denominator.

Yesterday (4/10/14) the U.S. Department of Justice released its findings following a 16 month investigation of the Albuquerque Police Department.

The Albuquerque Police Department has engaged in a pattern or practice of excessive force, including deadly force. The pattern and practice is the result of serious systemic deficiencies in policy, training, supervision and accountability. The police department’s failure to ensure that officers respect the Constitution undermines the public trust.

This was not news to the victims’ families who have been showing up at city council meetings for years alleging excessive force and demanding some accountability. In the past 4 years, Albuquerque police have killed 23 people and wounded 14 others.

APD at Occupy protest in 2011

APD at Occupy protest in 2011

The New York Times called the DOJ report “scathing” and the Albuquerque Journal’s headline affirmed that APD is violating citizens’ rights with excessive force.

The Department of Justice reviewed 20 fatal shootings by Albuquerque Police between 2009 and 2013 and found that in the majority of cases the level of force used was not justified because the person killed by police did not present a threat to police officers or the public. The DOJ also reviewed the use of nonlethal force involving significant harm or injury to people by APD officers and found a similar pattern of excessive force by officers against people who posed no threat and was not justified by the circumstances. 

Palestinians and activists know far too well about Israel’s use of excessive force. Amnesty International (AI) published an excellent report in February 2014 on the subject, available here. Among its findings, AI recommends that the USA and others:

Suspend transfers to Israel of munitions, weapons, and related equipment including crowd control weapons and devices, training and techniques until substantive steps have been taken by Israel to achieve accountability for previous violations and effective mechanisms are in place to ensure that items will not be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law.  … This recommendation is particular relevant to the USA, as the largest foreign source of supply of weapons, munitions, police equipment and military aid to Israel.

Weapons used by Israeli forces in the West Bank against peaceful protesters.

Weapons used by Israeli forces in the West Bank against peaceful protesters.

I attended the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission meeting and asked if the APD was participating in joint training programs with Israeli law enforcement. I didn’t expect an answer, and didn’t get one. I’m going to have to follow-up with a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA).

We must demand that the civil rights of New Mexicans and Palestinians are respected and protected.

APD dressed in riot gear

APD dressed in riot gear


Filed under Israel Defense Forces, nonviolent resistance, US Policy

2 responses to “IOF + APD = excessive force

  1. Reblogged this on لماذا غزة؟ Why Gaza? and commented:

    Edith Garwood (Amnesty International) just wrote a great blog post about the connection between law enforcement training in the USA and Israel. Check it out here.

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