City settles with dead APD officer's wife's estate
The City of Albuquerque has reached a settlement with the family of a woman who filed suit after they say Albuquerque Police officers tampered with crime scene evidence.
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#1 Feb 25, 2011
If APD erred in this case it was that it pays its officers so much more than Valencia County can. As a result Valencia Sheriff's Office is staffed by inferior personnel and underbudgeted for equipment.
Rene Rivera should have dragged himself out of bed that night and been right there at a scene where officers from other jurisdictions were present. Instead, his bumbling "Barney Fife" underlings took charge and messed up the whole investigation. After the fact they pointed their fingers and announced that APD had sent a team to sanitize the crime scene. "Yeah, sure," I say.
Since an officer from another jurisdiction was involved, the investigation should have been placed in the hands of the State Police who were better able to glean the facts from the scene. A broken-hearted family was made to believe that Rivera and his staff could get to the bottom of things and instead they messed things up so badly that the truth will never really be known.
If evidence proving guilt was destroyed, as they claim, couldn't it also be said that evidence exonerating Officer Chavez was possibly destroyed instead? What a mess Rene Rivera left the county!
It goes without saying that the longer the case sits in a filing cabinet the more it looks like there is no case to be made and, if I remember my high school Civics class, in this great country a person is innocent until proven guilty.
My heart goes out to the grieving family of Tera Chavez; The money they've been given is certainly no balm for their pain.
#2 Feb 25, 2011
The simple fact that APD officers were called to the scene before Los Lunas/Valencia county police should be cause for officer firing (at a minimum) and possible criminal wrongdoing. Cops know the rules about crime scene investigations. Even wrongly entering the scene should be grounds for removal. Tampering with evidence is a criminal act which calls for charges. I agree with poster #1, the state police should be handling this case. Not only is Valencia county ill equipped, the tainting of the scene by APD officers needs outside oversight.
Speaking of APD:
The blog EYE ON ALBUQUERQUE has raised the possibility of a another coverup involving Darren White and district attorney Brandenburg. Why does stink seem to follow Darren White? Make sure you read the comments most of which are made by APD officers.
#3 Feb 25, 2011
Lieutenant Shawn O'Connell, Sergeants Ron Olivas and James Silver and 3 other unnamed Albuquerque Police Patrolment weren't there in an official capacity. They were there to sanitize the crime scene and help stage it as a suicide. They were also there to make sure that evidence linking them to an alleged theft of Officer Levi M. Chavez's truck didn't surface anywhere. Murdered wife Tera Andrea Chavez's diary documented such criminal activity. The facts are that Officer Levi M. Chavez, II, apparently took part in a staged, fraudulent theft of his pickup truck, with the alleged help of 3 APD supervisors, to ensure he would get top dollar for it; that he allegedly forced his wife Tera to report said phony theft; that he allegedly took out an insurance policy on his wife Tera's life 1 month before she was murdered; the week she was murdered, he allegedly modified it so that it would pay out in the event of her "suicide"; that Albuquerque Police Officers came out to the crime scene of THEIR OWN VOLITION and contaminated a crime scene, and allegedly destroyed evidence pointing to a murder, and evidence, in the form of notes in Tera Andrea Chavez's diary, outlining the plot and actual theft of Levi M. Chavez, II's truck by Levi M. Chavez, II, 3 APD Supervisors and 3 other unnamed patrolmen- which would be evidence of MOTIVE for her death. Those of us painfully acquainted with Albuquerque Police history over the past 31 years KNOW that stuff like this has happened before. The US Department of Justice needs to get involved ASAP.
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