New Mexico Civil Guard

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

The Black New Mexico Movement held a rally on Saturday, Sept. 12, in Rio Rancho, the more conservative, smaller city that neighbors Albuquerque. Fifty or 60 people gathered to speak out against racism, marking the 24th anniversary of Tupac Shakur’s death and continuing the hip-hop artist’s activism against police brutality and racial injustice. A larger crowd of opposing demonstrators showed up and antagonized the group. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

State Republicans had planned on featuring the New Mexico Civil Guard as special guests at a rally in Clovis on Aug. 22, before the militia group pulled out, citing racist remarks by one of the invited speakers. The Civil Guard, whose members have showed up heavily armed at several protests in Albuquerque this summer, also had their Facebook page removed this week as the platform culled hundreds of pages it says are tied to violence. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Demonstrations against racism and police violence continue around the United States and here in New Mexico. KUNM’s team has been to nearly all of them in Albuquerque and reports that protesters are pretty much always peaceful. On Thursday, Aug. 6, organizers with the Black New Mexico Movement gathered Downtown to speak out against what they said is biased news coverage about them and an inadequate police response to militia threats.

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Let’s Talk New Mexico 7/16, 8a: Journalism is changing. All reporters are both living in the pandemic and reporting on it. Local student journalists are calling on newsrooms to acknowledge the racism hidden in how objectivity plays out in newsrooms. On this week's Let's Talk New Mexico, we’re discussing decision-making in news and reckoning with a history of racism in media.

And we want to hear from you!  How do you decide whether you can trust a New Mexican news source? What might make you lose that trust? Join the conversation by emailing letstalk@kunm.org or calling in on the day of the show.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

The New Mexico Civil Guard has gotten a lot of media attention this week. After escalating tensions at a June 15 protest in Old Town where a protestor was shot, the heavily armed, mostly White militia group was the subject of a lengthy Albuquerque Journal profile on July 4, as well as an NPR story that aired July 6. KUNM News chose not to air the NPR piece because we feel it left out crucial information, mischaracterized events that KUNM has covered, and provided a platform for thinly veiled racism. Instead, KUNM News Director Hannah Colton spoke with Melanie Yazzie, an assistant professor of Native American Studies and American Studies at the University of New Mexico, about media coverage of militias and how these groups evoke a history of vigilante violence against Native Americans in the region.

Shaun Griswold

Firearms and other deadly weapons are prohibited in Albuquerque parks and recreation facilities under a new administrative order issued Friday by Mayor Tim Keller’s office. The rule excludes law enforcement officials and applies to any city property used for public school-related activities, including Civic Plaza.

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

 

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. 

Sue Schuurman

In episode 73, we talk to and about militia groups in New Mexico that have floated around the edges of demonstrations against racist police violence and white supremacy. Robert Whitmon of the American Patriots of New Mexico, one such group, says they've been working with police for years. Regardless of their claims of support for protesters, demonstrators say they raise tension and anxiety, and they're already concerned about state-sanctioned violence and the possibility of retribution for speaking out. 

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.