The mayor of Albuquerque has signed off on a framework of principles to submit the city's troubled police department to oversight by an independent monitor.
The deal, announced by the Justice Department, is aimed at addressing eight problem areas identified in a report last year by officials.
"This agreement marks an important step forward in addressing the unreasonable use of deadly force uncovered in our investigation into the Albuquerque Police Department," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "The residents of Albuquerque depend on their police department to serve their community with honor and integrity."
"[When] misconduct does occur, we will never hesitate to act in order to secure the civil rights of everyone in this country," Holder said. "As a result of our ongoing action, I am confident that the Albuquerque Police Department will be able to correct troubling practices, restore public trust, and better protect its citizens against all threats and dangers — while providing the model of professionalism and fairness that all Americans deserve."
As we reported in April, DOJ said it had found "patterns of excessive force" against people who pose a minimal threat. In the report, federal investigators identified 37 shootings by police, the majority of which were deemed unreasonable and in violation of suspects' constitutional rights. They also identified cases where officers used Tasers when subjects were passively resisting.
According to The Associated Press:
"Among the findings released in April: 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.
"Albuquerque police have shot 41 people since 2010, 27 of them fatally."
The deal calls for better recruiting, training, use-of-force policies, interactions between officers and the mentally ill, the handling of internal investigations and civilian complaints, management and community engagement, according to AP.