Albuquerque Police Department

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In episode 81, we check back for new developments on some of the impactful stories from YNMG from the past couple of months. What opportunities have been missed to make things better in this urgent time? Who's falling through the holes in the system? And what's still in front of us to do?

Arianna Sena / KUNM

In episode 77 we dive into the state’s special legislative session that started today. The primary reason for the emergency meeting is to address the unexpected budget shortfall brought on by COVID-19 and the decimation of oil and gas markets that provide much of New Mexico’s public funding.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

The parents of an Albuquerque man who was shot Monday near the statue of colonizer Juan de Oñate in Old Town say Scott Williams, now hospitalized in stable condition, is a longtime activist for human rights and racial justice. Daniel and Denise Williams told KUNM's Hannah Colton they were on scene as tensions escalated; they say earlier they had attended a prayer gathering for the removal of the monument across the street. Scott’s father, Daniel, is a retired paramedic and says after hearing shots fired, he was headed to tend to the victim when he realized that it was his son. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM


Let's Talk New Mexico 6/18, 8a: With protests against systemic racism and violence continuing around the country, many people are questioning the role of law enforcement and imagining different ways of ensuring public safety. This week on Let’s Talk New Mexico, we’ll discuss a spectrum of changes to New Mexico’s police forces that folks are calling for, from reform efforts like banning chokeholds and training officers differently, to more radical proposals that seek to eliminate traditional policing altogether. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

 

Albuquerque police have arrested the man who shot a protestor last night at a demonstration against a statue of Juan de Oñate in Albuquerque’s Old Town. The violence broke out after heavily armed men antagonized unarmed protesters who wanted to remove the monument to the violent Spanish colonizer. Police charged 2019 City Council candidate Steven Ray Baca with aggravated battery and took several militia men into custody for questioning. APD reports the victim is in critical condition but is expected to survive. 

Nash Jones / KUNM

The Bernalillo County District Attorney's Office is not going to press charges against four teenagers who were detained on Thursday, May 28, after a Black Lives Matter protest in Albuquerque’s International District. SWAT officers took them into custody that night, saying they had fired a gun near the demonstration, an allegation the teens deny. Police did not charge them with anything, and the District Attorney's Office won’t pursue it, saying APD doesn’t have evidence to support a criminal case.

Tony Webster via Wikimedia Commons CC

For years, Albuquerque and Bernalillo County have been working on strategies so police officers aren’t the primary people responding to 911 mental health calls. After weeks of Black Lives Matter protests in Albuquerque—and just days after police shot a man in crisis, hospitalizing him—Mayor Tim Keller announced today that the city will create a separate Community Safety Department to handle these kinds of call-outs by the end of the year—without taking funding from the police department. It’s unclear what the city will do to respond to the rest of the protesters’ demands around over-policing, and calls to defund and demilitarize the police.

Groups of armed civilians have turned up at Albuquerque Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the last week, alarming peaceful protesters, and saying they intend to protect private property as well as people and their right to peacefully protest. A man from the New Mexico Patriots says his group has coordinated with police about patrolling these demonstrations. Several Albuquerque Police officers met with a group of armed local MMA fighters ahead of a protest on Monday, June 1.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

 

Every day for over a week, masses of people in Albuquerque have showed up in public to condemn state violence against black people and call for systemic change. Though national narratives have characterized Black Lives Matter protests as volatile and prone to violence, Albuquerque saw thousands of people all week peacefully marching, mourning individuals killed by police, celebrating black culture and speaking out. The events this weekend had different organizers and drew different crowds. City administration made it harder to get to many of them, blocking access to most of the Downtown area with concrete barricades starting Friday.

Hannah Colton / KUNM


Police violence takes many forms, and some communities in Albuquerque experience it much more than others. On Let's Talk New Mexico this week, we'll hear about how law enforcement has responded to Black Lives Matter protests over the last week in Albuquerque. How do you see police operating in your community? What needs to happen to end racist police violence in New Mexico? Join the conversation by emailing letstalk@kunm.org, or call in live at 277-5866.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

After hundreds of people demonstrated peacefully on and around the University of New Mexico campus Monday night, armed militia men showed up along Albuquerque’s Central Ave., causing fear and confusion among Black Lives Matter protesters heading home. Around the same time, a shot was heard in the area; police later said it was fireworks. No injuries or arrests were reported as of early Tuesday.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

After thousands of peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters dispersed on Sunday night, 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, 100 or 200 people remained, most not in vehicles, breaking windows and looting. Riot police showed up, and the Albuquerque Police Department says someone fired on them in front of the KiMo Theatre. No injuries have been reported. 

Nash Jones / KUNM

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

Hannah Colton / KUNM

There have been zero confirmed cases of the coronavirus among people experiencing homelessness in Albuquerque so far, city leaders say. KUNM is following the city’s efforts to prevent an outbreak in that population, and one gap stands out: the city continues to break up unsheltered people’s encampments, despite guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention not to do so during the pandemic. The CDC says clearing encampments can worsen community spread by causing people to disperse and lose connections with service providers, and they say not to do it unless it’s to move folks into individual housing units. KUNM has more on the City of Albuquerque’s treatment of encampments during the pandemic and about one man’s experience living on the streets this past month.

YNMG: Walking The COVID Beat

Apr 22, 2020
Hannah Colton / KUNM

Episode 48 dives back into how the pandemic is affecting people experiencing homelessness. KUNM's Hannah Colton goes further into the story of the city breaking up encampments, despite the CDC advising against it during this time, and she brings us the perspective of Cypher Johnson, who's passing through Albuquerque and spending time on the streets. We talk to people who work with unsheltered folks around the state about what an outbreak at a shelter would mean for the whole community, about what needs to change right now—and what needs to change in the future. We also hear from the Albuquerque Police Department and the Las Cruces Police Department about how coronavirus has changed things for them philosophically and practically. 

Wikimedia Commons via CC

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham sent 50 state police officers to Albuquerque this summer to fight escalating violent crime. Public records show there wasn’t much coordination between state police and Albuquerque police before they came.

LEAD Santa Fe

Let's Talk NM 9/5, 8a: Communities across New Mexico are trying a new approach to substance use disorder: having law enforcement work with service providers to get people into treatment instead of sending them to jail. We wrap up our summer series on recovery with a discussion of Law Enforcement-Assisted Diversion and similar programs. We want to hear from you! If you've quit using drugs or alcohol, how did interactions with the criminal justice system help or hurt your recovery process? How do these diversion programs make a difference for people who want to quit using? Do they go far enough in treating addiction as a public health issue rather than a criminal issue? Email questions or comments to LetsTalk@kunm.org, or call in live during the show at (505) 277-5866.

New Mexico sent state police officers to patrol Albuquerque in May after a UNM athlete was shot and killed. Residents in some communities here raised concerns about over-policing and said their neighborhoods were being targeted. Officials said the state officers would be staying until around the Fourth of July. But as that exit date approaches next week, state police don’t have any idea about when they’ll be leaving.

David Holt via Flickr / Creative Commons License

A bill that would require universal background checks for almost all gun sales is a signature away from becoming law in New Mexico.

More than two-dozen sheriffs signed a letter opposing it, but the Albuquerque Police Department’s on board.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

There are headlines around the country about officers abusing their power, coercing, assaulting or trafficking sex workers. Not being able to trust police enough to report violent experiences is part of what makes people especially vulnerable to serial killers and rapists. Now, 10 years after a mass grave was discovered on the West Mesa, the Albuquerque Police Department is trying to rebuild trust and stop that from happening again. 

Three detectives are still working a combined 40 hours each week to solve the murders of nine woman and two teen girls whose remains were discovered on Albuquerque’s West Mesa in 2009.

KUNM spoke with Lt. Scott Norris, who took over the violent crimes section of the Albuquerque Police Department about a month ago and is now overseeing the investigation.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

It’s no secret that sex workers often don’t trust law enforcement and don’t ask police for help after incidents of violence. Officers around the U.S. are themselves arrested for trafficking, raping and abusing people on the street. Here in New Mexico, those stories pop up, too. And people who do that kind of work here say there’s a feeling that it’s either not safe, or that police won’t respond well if they report they’ve been attacked or assaulted. That can mean serial offenders go unchecked.

Pxhere via CC

Albuquerque is the worst city in the U.S. when it comes to vehicle thefts and break-ins. But auto thefts and burglaries are each down now by almost one-third, according to a report released Sunday.

Public Domain Pictures via CC

Pedestrian fatalities are up all around the United States—and New Mexico is no exception. We’re on track to have one of the worst rates in the country, and one of the worst years we’ve had in a while. Seventy-eight people were killed this year, and that number doesn’t count December. Better Burque blogger Scot Key has been following the problem for years, and he talked with KUNM about the reality of these deaths.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Jonathan Sakura looked at the spot where his car was parked outside his home a couple nights ago when someone smashed the rear window and grabbed his girlfriend’s bag. "It’s a bummer. It’s violating," he said. "You know, this is our property. This is our stuff. And somebody taking something that doesn’t belong to them— it’s kinda disheartening, and morale drops a little bit."

West Midlands Police via Twitter / Creative Commons License

New evidence has shattered the widely believed narrative of how 10-year-old Victoria Martens was killed in Albuquerque. Right after her death in 2016, detectives interviewed her mother Michelle, and based on that, they pinned the homicide on her and two other adults. But two years later, the District Attorney says that story is false, and DNA evidence points to another killer, who’s still out there.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

UPDATE: The Office of the Medical Investigator determined that the bones construction workers found are ancient and not related to the gravesite discovered in 2009.

Melorie Begay

The search committee for Albuquerque's new police chief drew criticism this weekend when community members questioned the search process. APD Forward hosted the event at the Albuquerque Convention Center to give the public an opportunity to speak to the committee about the city's hunt for a new police chief. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

All around the United States, students filed out of their classrooms on Wednesday, March 14, to stand for school safety. It’s been a month since the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

In New Mexico, school administrations had mixed reactions to the planned walkouts. Over the last couple of weeks, KUNM followed the students at an arts charter school in Albuquerque, as they organized with the support of school staff.

The city of Albuquerque says the monitor charged with overseeing reform of the police department is not neutral and has an ax to grind. James Ginger released his sixth report on APD’s progress. The Albuquerque Police Department also just last week  rolled out its own website: APDreform.com. A coalition of community groups called APD Forward says the site is little more than spin meant to hide lingering problems on the police force. 

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