MON: Thousands Attend Peaceful Black Lives Matter Protest In ABQ, Violence Breaks Out Afterwards

Jun 1, 2020

Mayor Blames Agitators For Violence After Peaceful Protest - KUNM

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller is blaming small groups of what he called “agitators” for violence that broke out hours after a peaceful protest dispersed in downtown Albuquerque last night. 

Thousands participated in a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in response to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. Organizers raised $4,000 to distribute bags of supplies, including masks and hand sanitizer, to help demonstrators feel safe and reduce the spread of COVID. (See KUNM's coverage here.)

The crowds marched along Route 66 to a vigil at Robinson Park, back up to the UNM area and back downtown to Civic Plaza, and then most protesters left the area.

Hours later, 100 or 200 people remained downtown and some started looting businesses, throwing glass and setting small fires. The Albuquerque Police Department says they were shot at outside the KiMo Theatre. Two lines of police riot teams approached and used rubber bullets and tear gas. No injuries have been reported, and Deputy Chief Harold Medina says two people were arrested on misdemeanor charges. (See KUNM's coverage here.)

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in a release today commended peaceful protesters and said in response to the rioting that “there is no place in this moment for hijacking the protesters’ message of justice and nonviolence.” She called President Trump’s remarks today urging aggressive protest response “a dangerous step in the wrong direction,” and said the state is committed to helping facilitate peaceful protests against racism. 

This story has been corrected to reflect that APD Deputy Chief Harold Medina said two people were arrested.

Thousands Attend Peaceful Black Lives Matter Protest, Organizers Hand Out PPE - Nash Jones, KUNM News

Thousands participated in a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Albuquerque Sunday night in response to the killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police. Organizers handed out bags of donated supplies to help participants feel safer demonstrating during the pandemic. 

Protesters gathered Sunday evening on the westside of the University of New Mexico campus on Central Ave. with signs that read, “Black Lives Matter” and “White silence is violence.” The group chanted, “say his name: George Floyd” and “no justice, no peace, no racist police.”

Organizer Hossanna Scott fundraised online to provide protesters with baggies of supplies, including PPE, water and snacks. She raised over $4,000 from community donations. “Mobilizing and organizing during a pandemic is a whole new thing, it’s a whole new ballpark,” said Scott. “But I just wanted people to feel safe. That’s the reason I got these masks, hand sanitizer, gloves on deck. Because I just know it’ll be hard, for some people, but I just want people to show up.”

People showed up. The group eventually grew to thousands, marching along Route 66 to Downtown Albuquerque, where they gathered on a roundabout on 8th St. by Robinson park for a moment of silence.

Protesters then headed back up to the University of New Mexico area before marching to Albuquerque’s Civic Plaza, where speeches were given. Following that gathering, most protesters went home. 

Violence Breaks Out In Downtown ABQ After Peaceful Black Lives Matter Protest - Marisa Demarco, KUNM News

After thousands of peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters dispersed, some people remained Downtown in Albuquerque, driving their cars, playing music on their systems and displaying anti-police violence signs. Later, after they were gone too, maybe 100 or 200 people remained, most not in vehicles, breaking windows and looting. Riot police showed up, and the Albuquerque Police Dept. says someone fired on them in front of the KiMo Theatre, though so far, as of airtime, they are reporting no injuries. 

At first, it was spiderwebbed windows on storefronts and graffiti. But around 12:30 in the morning at Third Street and Central, people smashed through some of those windows and started pulling things out of the businesses. Motorcycles and cars revved their engines. And businesses’ security alarms sounded. Looters pulled furniture from inside a club, sprayed fire extinguishers at the sky, lobbed glassware high into the air, and started a small fire in the street. Police helicopters circled. 

Riot police started forming, coming up Central, starting around 5th St. NW, telling everyone to leave. A helicopter above repeated the message through a loudspeaker. People threw things at police, and lit some dumpsters on fire, rolling them toward the line of riot officers, though none reached them. Another line of officers waited on 2nd St. NW. 

Police fired flash-bangs and rubber bullets, and launched tear gas, announcing they were going to take anyone who didn’t leave into custody. 

As of 5 a.m. Monday, helicopters are still circling, and tear gas is wafting out of Downtown. 

Navajo Nation Reports 98 New COVID-19 Cases, 5 More DeathsAssociated Press

The Navajo Department of Health has reported 98 new cases of coronavirus on the Navajo Nation and five more known deaths.

That pushes the numbers to 5,348 positive COVID-19 cases and 246 known deaths as of Sunday night. Tribal officials also say preliminary reports from eight health care facilities indicate about 1,840 people have recovered from COVID-19 with more reports still pending.

The vast Navajo Nation reservation stretches into northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico and southeastern Utah.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.  

Positive COVID-19 Cases Reaches 7,800 With First Inmate DeathKUNM

New Mexico health officials reported six additional deaths related to COVID-19 Monday, including an inmate at the Otero County Prison Facility held by the New Mexico Corrections Department, the first COVID-related death of an inmate in state custody.

The total number of deaths in the state is now 362 and there are 7,800 cases. Officials announced 113 additional positive tests Monday, over half of which were in northwest New Mexico.

The Corrections Department said in a news release the 31-year-old male who died had multiple preexisting conditions. was hospitalized at the University Hospital in El Paso, Texas, where he tested positive for COVID-19.

Corrections officials said the Otero County Prison Facility, which is operated by the Management and Training Corp., is working with the Department of Health to do rigorous testing, isolation and quarantine protocol in the center.

There are 46 total positive cases among New Mexico Corrections inmates at the detention center and three people are hospitalized.

New Mexico Utility Seeks To Decouple Electric Rates, CostsAssociated Press

New Mexico's largest electric provider is asking state regulators to consider a proposal that would allow it to recover fixed service costs independent of how much electricity is actually consumed by customers.

Public Service Co. of New Mexico is pointing to uncertainty amid the coronavirus as it pursues what is known as decoupling. The utility recently filed its request with the Public Regulation Commission after announcing its intensions to shareholders in May.

If approved, the utility will tally how much customers paid for electricity throughout 2021 and then compare that with the annual revenue it is allowed to collect to cover its costs.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller is blaming small groups of what he called “agitators” for violence that broke out hours after a peaceful protest dispersed in downtown Albuquerque last night. 

Thousands participated in a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in response to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. Organizers raised $4,000 to distribute bags of supplies, including masks and hand sanitizer, to help demonstrators feel safe and reduce the spread of COVID. 

The crowds marched along Route 66 to a vigil at Robinson Park, back up to the UNM area and back downtown to Civic Plaza, and then most protesters left the area.

Hours later, 100 or 200 people remained downtown and some started looting businesses, throwing glass and setting small fires. The Albuquerque Police Department says they were shot at outside the KiMo Theatre. Two lines of police riot teams approached and used rubber bullets and tear gas. No injuries have been reported, and Mayor Keller says two people were arrested on misdemeanor charges. 

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in a release today commended peaceful protesters and said in response to the rioting that “there is no place in this moment for hijacking the protesters’ message of justice and nonviolence.” She called President Trump’s remarks today urging aggressive protest response “a dangerous step in the wrong direction,” and said the state is committed to helping facilitate peaceful protests against racism. 

Positive COVID-19 Cases Reaches 7,800 With First Inmate DeathKUNM

New Mexico health officials reported six additional deaths related to COVID-19 Monday, including an inmate at the Otero County Prison Facility held by the New Mexico Corrections Department, the first COVID-related death of an inmate in state custody.

The total number of deaths in the state is now 362 and there are 7,800 cases. Officials announced 113 additional positive tests Monday, over half of which were in northwest New Mexico.

The Corrections Department said in a news release the 31-year-old male who died had multiple preexisting conditions. was hospitalized at the University Hospital in El Paso, Texas, where he tested positive for COVID-19.

Corrections officials said the Otero County Prison Facility, which is operated by the Management and Training Corp., is working with the Department of Health to do rigorous testing, isolation and quarantine protocol in the center.

New Mexico Has 69 New Coronavirus Cases, 5 More Known Deaths - Associated Press

Health officials in New Mexico are reporting 69 new confirmed COVID-19 infections and five more related deaths.  

That brings the total confirmed infections to 7,689 and 356 known coronavirus deaths as of Sunday. 

There are 182 hospitalized patients. 

New Mexico Department of Health officials say four of the five deaths reported Sunday were in San Juan County with the other in McKinley County. 

McKinley County has 2,415 overall cases of COVID-19 with San Juan County at 1,733 cases and Bernalillo County, the state's most populous county, at 1,476 cases.

Navajo Nation Reports 105 New Covid-19 Cases, 10 More Deaths - Associated Press

The Navajo Department of Health has reported 105 new cases of coronavirus on the Navajo Nation and 10 more known deaths. 

That pushes the numbers to 5,250 positive COVID-19 cases and 241 known deaths as of Saturday night. 

Tribal officials also said preliminary reports from eight health care facilities indicate about 1,814 people have recovered from COVID-19 with more reports still pending. 

The vast Navajo Nation reservation stretches into northwestern New Mexico, northeastern Arizona and southeastern Utah. 

University Of The Southwest Waives Cost For Grad Programs - Hobbs News-Sun, Associated Press

A southeastern New Mexico college has announced it will allow all of the school's recent undergraduates to begin master's degree programs tuition-free. 

The Hobbs News-Sun reports the University of the Southwest said last month the tuition-free experiment will start this summer.

University President Quint Thurman says he and other administrators made the decision after exploring what the school could do to assist recent graduates when the job market is challenging. 

Eligible students must have completed their bachelor's degrees in 2020 at the private Christian university. 

New Mexico's Populous County Sees Jump In Illegal Dumping - KRQE-TV, Associated Press

Officials in New Mexico's most populous county are reporting a rise in illegal dumping amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

KRQE-TV reports that Bernalillo County officials believe the uptick in illegal dumping is a result of people cleaning out their homes during the stay-at-home order and failing to make trips to authorized dump sites. 

County officials say they have received double the number of calls for service connected to dumping from this time last year. 

The county reports having to pick up tires, mattresses, home appliances, cars and other big items.

The county's health protection manager, Lucas Tafoya, says crews have to wait a couple of days before they clean up the reported messes in case there are traces of the novel coronavirus on the material.

Illegal dumping comes with a fine of up to $1,000 or 90 days in jail. 

Fire At Albuquerque Assisted Living Facility Displaces 13 - Associated Press

The Albuquerque fire department says 13 residents of an assisted living facility were displaced by a fire in one apartment Saturday morning. 

The department says firefighters were able to put out the fire without it extending into other areas of La Vida Llena. 

According to the department, one person was transported for injuries related to possible smoke inhalation and no firefighters were injured. 

No additional information was released.

 

Advocates Question Investigations Used To Target Wolves - Associated Press

An ongoing analysis by an environmental group is raising questions about investigations into livestock kills by Mexican gray wolves. 

The results of the investigations are used to compensate ranchers and target problem wolves in New Mexico and Arizona. 

The Idaho-based group Western Watersheds Project has documented significant oddities, errors or conflicting details in more than two-thirds of the 117 investigations it reviewed from 2019. 

The group's deputy director tells the Arizona Daily Star that numerous cases were confirmed wolf kills based just on "logical leaps" and what she described as a stunning lack of evidence.

In March alone, government hunters killed four wolves in New Mexico under federal removal orders that cited repeated attacks on livestock in the area.

The Mexican gray wolf was once common throughout portions of the Southwest and Mexico. By the 1970s, it had been hunted, trapped and poisoned to near-extinction.

In 1998, state and federal wildlife managers began reintroducing the subspecies with the experimental release of 11 captive-bred wolves. 

There are now at least 163 wolves roaming the two states, according to the latest survey.