Aug. 28--Santa Fe Police Chief Raymond Rael says a discrimination complaint has been filed against him with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by one of the police department's lieutenants.
Rael said Lt. Louis Carlos, a detective who also serves as a public information officer for the department, filed the complaint last month.
While Rael has not seen a copy of the complaint, he said it's his understanding that the complaint alleges discrimination based on national origin, that being Mexican.
"Obviously, it's a personnel issue and I can't go into detail about the allegations," Rael said.
Carlos couldn't be reached for comment via phone or text messages Monday afternoon.
City Manager Robert Romero confirmed that Carlos had made a complaint and that an independent investigator had been hired to look into the allegations.
"A purchase order was opened last week or the week before to hire an independent investigator, rather than have someone who works with the city," Romero said. "We want to make sure it's done totally independently."
Romero said he didn't know if the investigation had begun or when it might end.
Both Rael and Romero said that Deputy Chief William Johnson has been assigned to supervise Carlos at least until the investigation is complete.
"It's standard practice to create a layer of separation until such time as an investigation has been conducted," Rael said.
Rael said the complaint was made to the city's human resources department a day after news reports about a police report Carlos filed, in which he accused state Sen. Nancy Rodriguez of using political influence with Chief Rael to gain access to an alleged child abuser just after the suspect was interrogated.
Rael and Rodriguez have denied there were any politics involved. Rodriguez said she knew the alleged child abuser, who is deaf, through volunteer work she previously performed. She is shown on a police video communicating with the man using sign language about the case. Carlos maintained in the report that the senator was coaching the suspect on what to tell a judge.
Earlier Monday, Rael refuted a rumor that Carlos had been demoted and assigned to patrol. The chief referred questions to Deputy Chief Johnson.
Johnson said it's true that Carlos is currently performing duties as a patrol officer, but that it's just a temporary situation and had nothing to do with the EEOC complaint. He said the move was made due to staffing issues and that Carlos would return to his regular duties as a detective next month.
Johnson said he and department captains came to Carlos and explained the situation regarding the staffing issues they faced because of a recent retirement and another officer in training.
"We asked him if he would mind going from investigations to patrol for a few weeks, and he said sure; he said he'd do what he'd have to do to help the department," Johnson said.
Copyright 2012 - Albuquerque Journal, N.M.