DOJ: Serious problems found in Albuquerque police

Albuquerque resident Davin Poulin,center, signed up to speak before the city council Monday evening, April 7, 2014, in Albuquerque, NM. (AP Photo/Albuquerque Journal, Roberto Rosales)
Albuquerque resident Davin Poulin,center, signed up to speak before the city council Monday evening, April 7, 2014, in Albuquerque, NM. (AP Photo/Albuquerque Journal, Roberto Rosales)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department says institutional reform is needed to curb the “patterns of excessive force” that were turned up by a civil investigation of the Albuquerque Police Department.

The federal agency said Thursday that Albuquerque officers need more training and tools to ensure they can protect the community without escalating potentially violent situations.

The agency found that officers too frequently used deadly force on people “who posed a minimal threat” and used a higher level of force too often on those with mental illness.

Acting U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez says the findings will help the city determine “the next generation” of policing.

The announcement followed an investigation into allegations of civil rights violations and excessive force that spanned more than a year. The department has faced criticism over 37 shootings by officers since 2010.

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