A top prosecutor for District Attorney Kari Brandenburg’s office was shut out of a briefing after a fatal police shooting near San Mateo and Constitution NE on Tuesday evening, Brandenburg told KRQE News 13.
Police officials and others were gathering to discuss the most recent developments in the investigation a few hours after the shooting, Brandenburg said. Chief Deputy DA Sylvia Martinez attempted to join the briefing, but Deputy City Attorney Kathryn Levy would not let Martinez attend.
What Brandenburg said happened Tuesday evening would be an unprecedented move by city of Albuquerque officials, and it comes a day after Brandenburg charged two APD officers with murder in the March shooting death of homeless camper James Boyd.
Levy invoked the charges in barring Martinez from the briefing, according to Brandenburg.
“Sylvia was told that our office has a conflict of interest because we charged the officers,” she said.
Reached by telephone for comment Tuesday evening, Levy, who has for years worked as APD’s attorney, refused to answer questions . . .
Levy also told Martinez that APD “wouldn’t be needing any legal advice or help” and that Martinez “could go home,” Brandenburg said. “They told her we could call another prosecutor’s office to come down.”
Prosecutors’ presence at the scenes of police shootings and inside the investigatory briefings has been ubiquitous for decades here. In fact, the DA’s participation in the investigations is memorialized in a written agreement with APD and other agencies signed in 2004.
“I have never seen anything like this. Ever,” Brandenburg said in a telephone interview, referring to a city official shutting one of her prosecutors out of a briefing. “Clearly, this could compromise the integrity of the investigation of this shooting.”