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Calls grow for El Paso police accountability as city task force examines reform options

el paso police crime scene tape generic night
An El Paso police car and crime scene tape are seen at a nighttime crime scene in this file photo.

EL PASO, Texas -- Members of a group calling for police accountability marched on the streets of El Paso, calling, among other things, for Police Chief Greg Allen to be held accountable.

That march came just one day after city staff presented city leaders with a plan to eliminate racial disparities and arrests by El Paso police.

Dozens of protestors marched on the streets of the city carrying makeshift caskets. The group's spokesman said each casket represents 33 El Pasoans.

They had a goal and a message.

"To bring justice to the families that were impacted by the violence by the police department, especially the police officers as 33 El Pasoans have died while in custody of police officers,” said Fernando Garcia, the group’s co-chair.

Just a day prior to the march, city staff unveiled a comprehensive plan aimed at eliminating racial disparity in the city, including arrests made by El Paso police.

“The public safety area is under attack, literally and figuratively. And so its important that we show our support and our level of accountability,” said city manager Tommy Gonzalez.

City staff looked at four U.S. cities of comparable size to El Paso, examining population, ethnic makeup, size of police force, as well as accountability task force groups within each city. Those comparison cities included Henderson, Nevada; San Diego, California; Tucson, Arizona and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

While the study showed El Paso’s police budget is similar to those cities, the officer to citizen ratio - a police officer for every one thousand citizens - is better than some of those cities, but less than the somewhat larger community of San Diego.

Two of those cities do not have equity reporting.

“So as you can see, Tucson and San Diego, they are on the same track as we are. We know that we need to take action.” Said Denice Sepulveda, who is with the city’s management and budget department.

Leaders of the group of marchers saw the same staff report and said it also falls short on including a key component of the community.

“Those internal review boards of the police department, they’re still part of the police department. They are not independent. So we don’t trust them to monitor themselves, to police themselves. We need an independent body.” Garcia said.

The group also wants Allen held accountable. That too was not part of city staff’s presentation, or even discussed.

The city staff task force was asked to return with more recommendations. Tops among those was to go back and look at those same cities El Paso was compared with - to see if any of them have police body cameras, a key tool city representatives have been asking  police officers be equipped with.

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Saul Saenz

El Paso native Saul Saenz is a veteran reporter who also hosts ABC-7 Extra.

Comments

25 Comments

  1. They have an a absolute right to ask for “monitoring and reform”. EPPD is funded by the taxpayer, in essence the taxpayers are their boss. If everything is being done correctly they should have nothing to fear. Accountability is in EVERY JOB! PD is not exempt.

    1. That’s funny alberto pedo muerto, the cops have more accountability than they deserve. As soon as some SOB like you complains about one officer, there is a full investigation at the cost of the TAXPAYER. The result is wasted time, wasted money and minimal outcome, if any, comes out of the citizen’s complaint. The paid protestors don’t give a damn about citizen’s. Only how much they get paid.

  2. It is so “In” to protest whatever loser’s feel that day, as earlier stated reform the criminals the LEO’s have it hard enough with these pissy little snowflake’s that take no responsibility for their own actions and have no respect for the laws

  3. Hard standing around? Hard sitting in a car in construction sites? Hard double dipping? Please. Don’t be a cry baby! Risk reward. Have you heard about it? And yes!!!!!! You freaking need to be monitored. Period!

    1. So the dumbass alberto pedo muerto shows ITS true complaints about the cops. Its not because they do a great job protecting El Paso, its about a soar ass bitch that cannot get a job, much less get a pension. IT is so delusional here IT actually says there is no risk reward here. What the hell does IT think cops are doing out there? They risk their lives every day. The absurdity of this fool even mentioning something like that tells us how idiotical and mentally deranged IT is. I say TI because I don’t see IT as worthy of being human.

  4. Nadodave you are an idiot as always. How do they risk their jobs “everyday”? Maybe “sometimes”. But everyday. Estas pendejo. How is standing in front of Walmart for 8hrs risky? So based on your rationale “anyone “ that risks their job everyday you should go pull in their Johnson. Nadodave pedo vivo.

    1. The cops risk their lives every day or have you not heard about hoe many cops have been ambushed lately? All because of babosos like you want to demean them. Funny, but I don’t remember you standing in front of Walmart when your nazi buddy decided to kill innocent people. I wish you had though, you wouldn’t have been here now. Pedo muerto would be a reality.

  5. We are very fortunate here in El Paso. EPPD and EPSO do a very good job with very few questionable contacts with the population. A civilian oversight board is probably coming because of the political climate, bur we have no great need for it here. If we get one, I think our law enforcement community will pass the scrutiny.

  6. If anything, the EPISD needs to be reformed. The superintendent makes over $320,000 a year plus a free car, $600 a month cell phone allowance and many more benefits.

    Why is this going on with student enrollment is decreasing by approximately 1,500 students a year and the high school graduation rate is 75%?

  7. Poor Alberto, a pity party you say? Me thinks you are little man that was born to a stupid woman that slept with her first cousin and YOU fell out of her while she was waiting on her food stamps downtown and that is why you are such a delight to debate……Moron!

  8. Those pitiful people that call themselves the BLM can’t even get a rise in a Democratic stronghold like EP, the folks here get along just fine thank you, we don’t need Soros funded agitators coming here and starting sh!t. Move on, just move on you’re not welcome here

  9. Time to go Tommy, you have no say in this, you were run out of Irving Texas because of dirty business so you’re disqualified, and when you side with people that want nothing more than to read there names in the news or see themselves on TV you get no respect here. I think California could use another morally blind politician.

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