Greg Allen and the El Paso Police Department

allen_greg_hategrp1Yesterday, I discussed how civilians are losing faith in their government to do the right thing. Much of the dissatisfaction is centered on the notion of them versus us. As you likely know, there is a controversy brewing over the comments made by El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen in regards to Black Lives Matter and the Dallas shootings. Today, I’d like to focus on Greg Allen’s demeanor and what it means for the continued erosion of support for government across the nation.

The KFOX TV and KVIA Interviews

First, let’s look at two news interview of Greg Allen. One was by KFOX TV and the other by KVIA. Although his comments about the Black Lives Matter are important, focus on Allen’s demeanor on both videos. Demeanor is important, especially from law enforcement.

Did you notice how confrontational Greg Allen was to the news reporters? Did you notice his posture? Police officers are trained to assert authority through demeanor and posture. They are also trained to observe people’s posture when interacting with them in order to ascertain details about their activities or mental state. Body language expresses a person’s attitude even though they may remain silent. Crossed arms across the chest demonstrates a negative attitude and/or defensiveness. Depending on other body-language indicators, it may also indicate an aggressive attitude. A clenched fist with crossed arms are indicators that a person is hostile, or about to get violent.

Did you notice the hostility in Greg Allen both at the press conference and at the questions posed by the reporters?

Police chiefs have the specific duty of being the face and voice of the police department. A police chief, as the face of the police department, is expected to be the link between the community and the police department. As such, police chiefs are expected to communicate with the public.

There are some who are arguing that Greg Allen has the First Amendment right to express his opinion. That is true, as long as Allen is expressing his opinion for himself. However, while in uniform in a press conference about city affairs, Allen is representing the city and thus his comments should be limited to the city’s official policy.

I am also aware that Oscar Leeser has expressed disappointment with the politicos who signed a letter demanding that the city elected officials hold Greg Allen accountable.

Interestingly, the city held a session earlier in the day “clarifying” the city manager governance model. The protocol is that officials direct their concerns through the chain of command. That means that other elected officials direct their concerns to the city’s elected officials and not directly to the chief of police. Notice how conveniently Oscar Leeser wants everyone to talk to Greg Allen now, but would likely demand that protocol be followed if there was another controversy and the mayor was placed in a bad situation. As expected, Oscar Leeser wants to keep the “it’s all good” lie intact.

Did you also notice in the KFOX 14 video segment how Greg Allen demanded to know who Courtney Schoenemann was? It is not as if Schoenemann approached Allen on the street. Greg Allen was leaving a press conference where many reporters were in attendance. Regardless, whether the individual asking a question was a news reporter, a blogger, a politician, or just an everyday citizen as the police chief, Greg Allen has the responsibility to answer questions about his department. Allen’s aggressive tone and demeanor was nothing more than an attempt to intimidate someone asking a question.

Is Greg Allen’s demeanor something the community wants in a police chief? It is not as if the El Paso Police Department hasn’t been mired in criminal and ethical controversies for many years. Let’s look at the various controversies. It is important to note that Greg Allen was an active member of the police department during all of these examples and as an assistant chief or the chief during most of them.

El Paso Police Controversial History

Much of the online rhetoric by those supporting the El Paso police chief centers on the fallacy of the “safest city” in the nation designation. It is this false label that both the police chief and the city government wants you to buy into. However, let’s peel away the false façade and look closely at the El Paso police department’s history.

The Montwood Riots

On January 28, 2003, about 100 Montwood students are holding a peaceful protest at their school about block scheduling. The school had given the students permission to hold the protest. El Paso police department officers responded with violence when the students failed to disperse promptly after ordered to return to class.

On January 13, 2005, six individuals filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of El Paso and former police chief Carlos Leon. On August 13, 2005, the Montwood riots lawsuit was settled. The City of El Paso agreed to pay no more than $25,000 for a consultant to review the training, policies and procedures of the police department and to implement a de-escalation plan for First Amendment activities. The City also paid $190,000 for medical and attorney fees.

Multiple Police Officers with Questionable Ethical Problems

In 2001, Luis Maldonado suffered a stroke on US54. Responding El Paso police officers pepper sprayed him. Also in 2001, El Paso police officer James O’Conner was indicted by a grand jury for striking Jacob Paz, a prisoner. In 2010, El Paso police officer Mark Muñoz was indicted on a sexual assault charge against an unconscious woman. Later that year, El Paso police officer Alberto Madrid was arrested for stealing a money box from a wedding he was being paid to protect.

In 2011, several El Paso police officers were arrested on various charges. Zake Rivera was arrested on charges of sexual assault while on duty. Miguel Lucero was arrested on charges of having an improper relationship with a high school student. Robert Barragan was arrested on marihuana charges. Several El Paso police officers were implicated in an overtime scandal and some of them leave the department for unknown reasons.

In 2012, officers Luis Acosta, Jorge Arellano, Michael Arzaga, Paul Bowden, Oscar Candelaria, Gabriel Castañeda, Enrique Davila, Francisco Enriquez, David Jimenez, Scott McFarland, Edward Nicholas, Luis Ortiz, Joshua Paulsen, Raul Ramirez, Zake Rivera, Ana Reza, Charles Romo and Luis Ruiz were indicted on tampering with government records charges. They were implicated in the overtime scandal.

Also, in 2012, El Paso police officer Anthony Weathersbee was arrested on charges of stealing a DVD and flashlight from a Walmart.

In 2013, El Paso police officer Jack Barrow, Jr. was arrested on a charge of conspiracy to traffic cocaine. He was one of 16 individuals arrested by the DEA and FBI drug trafficking investigation.

Drug Cartel Infiltration

As I have shared with you many times before, in 1999, George DeAngelis told then police chief Carlos Leon that Leon’s second-in-command at the police department was allegedly providing information to a Mexican drug cartel. As you know by now, the Juárez cartel is one of the founding member cartels that created Chapo Guzman and the leading cause of the drug violence in Juárez. Carlos Leon is now a county commissioner, and rather than investigate the serious charge of drug cartel infiltration of his police department, Leon instead went after DeAngelis. No investigation of the drug cartel infiltration was conducted and on June 26, 2000, Carlos Leon was reprimanded for falsifying a government document. This drug connection is important as you will see later in this write up when a drug informant is killed behind Allen’s house.

Drug Lab Decertification

On June 24, 2011, the El Paso Police Department Crime Lab was decertified and prohibited from analyzing certain drugs because the department’s competence was put into question and the security of the evidence chain was compromised.

Drug Cartel Hit on Greg Allen’s Street

In 2009, ICE informant Jose Daniel Galeano was killed in front of his house, Galeano, lived behind Allen’s house and somehow did not know that an ICE informant was living behind his house. Either Greg Allen, or his department is not trusted with confidential information like an ICE drug informant living behind his house, or his department is in such disarray that the information never made it to him. Either way, it further demonstrates serious problems within the El Paso Police Department.

In a discrimination lawsuit, Greg Allen was unable to name the police chief of Juárez during the height the drug war violence in Juárez. According to the deposition, Allen had had no contact with the Juárez police chief in over a year. This was during the height of the drug violence in Juárez.

In December of 2007, Greg Allen was named the El Paso Police Department Interim Chief by Joyce Wilson. This was Wilson’s first major appointment as city’s city manager. On March 2008, he became the police chief. Allen joined the police force in 1981. Allen has been assigned to patrol duty, police academy trainer, SWAT and the Gang Task force. He was made a deputy chief in 2003. Richard Wiles, the current sheriff, promoted Allen to the command staff.

In 2008, Greg Allen dropped the use of polygraphs during internal investigations of police officers misconduct. Allen called the polygraph “garbage.”

Also in 2008, former assistant chief Diana Kirk sued the City of El Paso and Greg Allen for employment discrimination after Joyce Wilson had appointed Allen the chief of police. In early 2011, Kirk settled the lawsuit against the city. As part of the settlement, Kirk agreed to retire after 28 year of service and received a 5% pay increase retroactive to December 1, 2007. In addition, the city paid up to $106,000 in legal fees.

During the 2009 deposition of Greg Allen for the Kirk lawsuit, Allen admitted to almost coming to blows with another assistant chief, Paul Cross, during a heated argument. Both Cross and Kirk were ranked higher than Greg Allen in the city’s police department organizational chart, when Allen was appointed as the interim chief by Wilson.

In the same deposition, Greg Allen stated that the police chief of Arlington, Virginia was brought to El Paso because Greg Allen “wanted to bounce ideas off of him as far as what he thought about the different people in the office here, as far as their loyalties to,” [emphasis mine] Greg Allen were. The “people” that Allen was referring to were Richard Wiles appointees to the management staff of the police department. In the deposition taken of Joyce Wilson for the lawsuit, Wilson stated that the Arlington police chief was brought in by the city to give Allen an opportunity to “bounce things off…chief-to-chief.”

As anyone that follows the legal drama shows on television knows, sometimes it is the preponderance of evidence that convicts someone when a clear smoking gun is missing. Review the evidence I have outlined above for you and ask yourself; does it not make sense to you that Greg Allen doesn’t want anyone snooping around his police department? If so, what is he hiding? What is it that Greg Allen doesn’t want you to know?

More importantly, whether you agree with Greg Allen’s comments about the Black Lives Matter group, or not, do you believe that Greg Allen has the proper demeanor to be the police chief? Do you trust Greg Allen as the police chief is the better question to answer?