Protesters in Albuquerque, NM took over a city council meeting on Monday and tried to serve the police chief, Gorden Eden, with a warrant for citizen’s arrest while also demanding major changes to the city’s police department.
The protests have been happening for weeks over the police department’s violent tactics that have left several dead, causing the activists to take matters into their own hands.
The leader of the protesters, Nora Anaya, took over the meeting by stealing the Council President Ken Sanchez’s seat then called a “People’s Council” meeting. The meeting became so chaotic that the chief of police refused to hang around after he was served with the citizen’s arrest warrant, and fled the building immediately after followed by some of the council members who didn’t want to stick around either.
Sanchez was forced to cancel the meeting early after unsuccessfully attempting to calm the situation by calling a recess. The original intent of the meeting was to propose a rule that would limit the authority of the mayor to appoint a police chief.
The father of one of the victims of the abusive tactics, Kenneth Ellis III, said “This militarized police department we have here is a national problem,” speaking of the force’s abuses of power.
His statements came after the Justice Department conducted an investigation into the APD and found that the majority of fatal shootings between 2009 and 2012 by Albuquerque police were unconstitutional. The DOJ wrote a letter to Mayor Richard J. Berry that said they “believe that APD engages in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment and Section 14141.”
A spokeswoman for the APD issued a statement on the department and the chief’s behalf that said:
“We understand there are those in our community who have expressed concerns about APD issues related to the Department of Justice report. We are working hard to make proactive improvements now and in conjunction with DOJ recommendations. While we welcome constructive discussions, we do not believe disruption of tonight’s city council meeting was a productive way to meet those goals.”
Even though it turned into a chaotic scene, nobody was arrested for their actions.
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