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Final Security Cost for Yiannopoulos Event: $81K

Marisa Demarco / KUNM
State police officers look on as demonstrators outside bang on these doors on Jan. 27, 2017, at UNM.

All around the country, questions about law enforcement and free speech are coming to the fore as police clash with demonstrators. Scores of officers were sent to the Milo Yiannopoulos event at UNM in January where hundreds protested the extremist speaker. We made multiple public records requests, and now, months later, we know the total cost to taxpayers. 

The bill comes to almost $81,000. Officers from UNM Police, Albuquerque, Bernalillo County and state departments—plus another security firm—worked the Yiannopoulos event. Many were paid overtime. UNM covered less than a quarter of the total cost.

The protesters chanted, held signs and later banged on doors and outdoor tables and chairs.

Police escorted several people from the event itself for shouting during the incendiary former Breitbart editor’s 90 minute speech, which focused on mostly anti-immigration and anti-Muslim sentiment.

University President Chaouki Abdallah had waived a $3000 security fee for the student groups that brought Yiannopoulos to Albuquerque. Two more campus groups have been awarded $5000 each from student fee money to hold events for other extreme speakers. 

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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