Settlement reached in Albuquerque police case

January 2, 2014 • State News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The city of Albuquerque has settled two lawsuits that alleged three people were mistreated by police during secret arrests.

The $150,000 settlement stemmed from the 2010 detentions of a woman and her two adult sons during an investigation into a police shooting in 2008, the Albuquerque Journal ( ) reported Thursday.

The lawsuits accuse police of mistreating Patricia [auth] Silva and her sons by pulling them from their home at gunpoint. Their lawsuit said officers failed to identify themselves or file reports documenting the detentions.

The city denied wrongdoing and didn’t acknowledge any liability.

A lawyer for Silver and her sons said there weren’t records indicating who actually detained them.

“The real troubling thing about the case is (police) concealed the fact they ever went there,” said Matthew Coyte, the plaintiffs’ lawyer. “They never filed a police report.”

Coyte’s clients were not charged with a crime and were returned to their home about an hour later after questioning.

Their litigation claimed that the arrest, coupled with officers’ failure to file reports or identify themselves, amounted to actions of “secret police” in violation of the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights to due process under the law.

Assistant City Attorney Stephanie Griffin said officers were searching for individuals who had been with the suspect.

Griffin acknowledged that not all officers involved wrote reports.

“Unfortunately, only a couple of officers wrote reports. But it wasn’t ‘secret police’ as described by plaintiffs’ counsel,” she said.

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