By Joe Wright
Albuquerque citizens seem to have had enough of their increasingly violent police department and are beginning to take to the streets. The Albuquerque Police Department has even had its acronym changed by many to mean Another Person Dead.
The long-standing dissatisfaction has reached a crescendo after the blatant execution of a homeless man that was passed off as justified by police chief Gordon Eden. You can see the video here and judge for yourself whether proper force was used in this case of “illegal camping.”
As reported by Lily Dane, protests began in earnest shortly after:
On March 25, citizens marched through the streets of downtown Albuquerque to APD headquarters to protest the shooting of Boyd and others shot by APD officers. At least 1,000 people attended, including a number of elected officials, including State Rep. Moe Maestas, D-Albuquerque, and City Councilor Rey Garduno. (Source)
Added evidence for their outrage was provided just hours after this protest when another man was killed in suspicious circumstances. As detailed in the video and transcript below, a crowd numbered in the hundreds gathered on Sunday that may have been spurred on by a message from hacktivist group Anonymous. This latest gathering led to the first violent confrontation between protesters and police.
It is important to keep in mind that the recent spate of APD shootings comes amid a police culture that is leaning toward becoming more confrontational and violent with its citizens. As Lily Dane also reported,
Incidents have occurred with enough frequency in the state to trigger a Department of Justice investigation that launched in 2012 and is still ongoing.
Yet, the man who designs the training programs for the state’s police departments doesn’t see a problem. In fact, he has instituted a curriculum that puts LESS restraint on officers in deciding when to use deadly force. (Source)
These details should be taken into account, as there is some question about the make-up of the protesters and whether there were some who appeared to not be part of the original group. This wouldn’t be the first time that police have planted agents provocateur to justify any violence directed toward peaceful protest. Given the track record of the APD, such tactics can’t be discounted.
Video transcript with additional links provided below:
by Jamal Andress
The citizens of Albuquerque have expressed dissatisfaction with the city’s police department in the past, but Sunday that discontent came to a breaking point.
“Where’s Mayor Berry? … We demand to be heard!”
“It became increasingly tense, increasingly violent.”
The people of Albuquerque are protesting what they consider excessive force by the city’s police department over the past few years.
The protest took place in about a two-mile stretch, protesters would walk back and forth from downtown to the edge of the University of New Mexico. Though the protest began peacefully, it slowly became more and more chaotic as the day went on.
Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry described the protest Sunday night as, “mayhem” and went on to say, “We respected their rights to protest, obviously, but what it appears we have at this time is individuals who weren’t connected necessarily with the original protest. They’ve taken it far beyond a normal protest.” (emphasis added)
According to the Albuquerque Journal, before the day was over APD had thrown more than two dozen cans of tear gas and arrested at least a half dozen protesters.
The city began its spiral toward mayhem in mid-March when police shot a homeless camper named James Boyd.
Along with investigating the shooting death of Boyd, the FBI launched a civil rights probe more than a year ago into the APD to determine the validity of the excessive force allegations.
Much of the scrutiny for the department comes from these staggering numbers. In a town of less than 600,000 people, the Albuquerque police have been involved in 37 shootings, 23 of which were fatal, since 2010.
After the shooting of Boyd, hacktivist group Anonymous posted this video urging the citizens of Albuquerque to protest.
“APD, you now have the full attention of ‘Anonymous.’ To the citizens of Albuquerque, it’s time to organize.”
“Grab your cannons and point them at police websites.”
Sunday, the APD website did endure a cyber attack and was down most of the day, though it’s still unclear if a member of Anonymous was the cause.
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