The head of Albuquerque police’s Real-Time Crime Center, whose hiring in 2018 generated anger because of his role in a New Jersey excessive force lawsuit decades ago, has been promoted. City records show that Leonard Nerbetski was recently promoted from his civilian status to police commander, while he oversees a unit that includes dispatchers and crime analysts.


A police department’s reputation and positive interaction within a community can be tarnished by one act of police brutality, or misconduct by a misguided officer.  Police misconduct may occur with the smallest deviation from ethical department procedure and those actions can adversely affect another person’s freedoms and livelihood.  Transparency between states and uniform record keeping in police departments would reduce police brutality actions being swept under the rug.  Mayor Tim Keller tried to calm any fears in the community by stating “Since his incident 20 years ago, he has demonstrated an ability to bring change at his previous department, be an example of reform, and is committed to help Albuquerque Police Department through its ongoing transformation.”  Further stating, “he has been a diligent data manager and his role does not include any decisions about mass gatherings and protests.”

Civil rights.

Civil rights must be considered when actions of police brutality have occurred in an officer’s past.   News of the Albuquerque promotion drew outrage from some Black Lives Matter demonstrators who feared that Nerbetski’s past would cloud his judgment on how to deal with peaceful protesters. Police officers who are fired for misconduct can often find law enforcement jobs in different jurisdictions. Some lawmakers think a national registry could prevent cops with shady records from being hired again.

Identify police brutality.

Police misconduct/brutality occurs when officers violate their prescribed duties in accordance with law enforcement training and act alternately to cause harm during arrests through:

  • excessive force – utilizing more physical force than necessary to subdue a criminal causing bodily harm or death;
  • false arrest and wrongful imprisonment – unlawful restraint of a person’s freedom of movement, and can result from police providing false information in a police report, offering false evidence, mishandling evidence or lying in court;
  • wrongful search and seizure activity including unreasonable searches relating to gathered evidence, can cause an overturned conviction if it is found that the evidence was the basis for charges and the mishandling caused conviction for those charges imposed on a victim by misguided police activities;
  • sexual harassment;
  • racial and gender discrimination bias-based policing is the intentional practice by an individual law enforcement officer who incorporates prejudicial judgments based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, religious beliefs, or age that are inappropriately applied in the performance of his/her duties; and
  • general abuse against civilians.

Make a complaint.

You can make a complaint against a law enforcement officer if you suspect you have been a victim of any type of police misconduct in Albuquerque, New Mexico with the help of a police brutality attorney and take further action if warranted.