November 19, 2016 10:29 PM
Deleting or altering video doesn’t just break APD policy, but the act of doing so would be illegal.
Lapel video is considered video evidence and tampering with evidence is a felony. The city is not investigating the allegations of video tampering, but the FBI might be.
Reynaldo Chavez used to be in charge of producing public documents and videos for news outlets and citizens. He swore under oath that a Deputy Chief or (former) City Attorney Kathy Levy ordered him to, “deny, withhold, obstruct, conceal, or even destroy records,” that related to the shooting deaths of James Boyd, Jeremy Robertson, or Mary Hawkes.
Chavez specifically pointed out Officer Frank Pezzano as a key person who erased, altered, corrupted, or encrypted lapel camera video. Chavez said Pezzano’s boss Lieutenant Fernando Aragon allowed it.
Chavez has also accused Assistant Chief Robert Huntsman of saying, “We can make this disappear.” Chavez says Huntsman was referring to a video.
Chavez’s statements were given to the attorneys suing the city of Albuquerque on behalf of Mary Hawkes family.
Chavez is currently in litigation with the city of Albuquerque. He says he was fired for not going along with the department’s orders to hide public records. The current City Attorney, Jessica Hernandez, released the following statement about the allegations: “The city questions the motives and disputes the accuracy of the information relayed by Mr. Chavez. The city stands prepared to defend against these allegations that records or evidence have been compromised.”
The city of Albuquerque has not looked into these allegations or considered that Reynaldo Chavez may be telling the truth. While quick to deny allegations, they have not taken the steps to investigate the allegations.