Albuquerque, NM– An Albuquerque City Council meeting was shut down last Monday after over 40 protesters took control of the meeting, attempting to serve Police Chief Gorden Eden with a warrant for a citizen’s arrest while demanding drastic changes to the city’s police department.
The activists overtook the meeting following weeks of protest concerning allegations of the Albuquerque Police Department’s violent tactics. The Justice Department wrote in a letter to Mayor Richard J. Berry that in their civil investigation of APD, 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.” In that letter, the investigation determined that the majority of fatal shootings by Albuquerque officers between 2009-2012 were unconstitutional.
“This militarized police department we have here is a national problem,” said Kenneth Ellis II, whose son was fatally shot by Albuquerque police.
Protester Nora Anaya took over Council President Ken Sanchez’s seat and called a “People’s Council” meeting. Chief Eden fled the building after being served a citizen’s arrest warrant, followed by the quick exits of some council members and Sanchez eventually cancelling the meeting after calling a recess that failed to calm the tension in the building.
Included in the agenda for the original meeting was a proposal to curb the Mayor’s power to appoint police chiefs. No arrests were made that evening.
In a statement prepared on behalf of Eden, APD Janet Blair 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.”