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Hourslong protest turns to 'mayhem' in Albuquerque

Anti-APD Protest Ends After 12 Hours

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Albuquerque's mayor said that a more than 10-hour protest over recent police shootings turned from peaceful into "mayhem," as officers in riot gear clashed with hundreds of protesters who blocked traffic, tried to get on freeways and shouted anti-police slogans.

Mayor Richard Berry said Sunday that one officer was injured, rocks were thrown and at one point protesters trapped police in a vehicle and tried to break the windows, the Albuquerque Journal reported. An Associated Press reporter saw gas canisters being thrown outside police headquarters and Albuquerque police and Bernalillo County sheriff's deputies charging at the protesters late Sunday, which mostly dispersed the crowds.

The number of protesters dwindled to fewer than 100 before midnight, and three or four people were arrested, the newspaper said.

Multiple messages left for the Police Department weren't immediately returned. Video by KRQE-TV showed people being led away in zip-tie restraints, but it's unclear if those people were arrested or if any protesters were injured.

"We respected their rights to protest, obviously," Berry said, "but what it appears we have at this time is individuals who weren't connected necessarily with the original protest. They've taken it far beyond a normal protest."

Protesters took to the streets in the early afternoon and stayed out late Sunday after authorities declared an unlawful assembly. People are angry over Albuquerque police's involvement in 37 shootings, 23 of them fatal since 2010. Critics say that's far too many for a department serving a city of about 555,000.

The protesters repeatedly marched the 2 miles from downtown Albuquerque to the University of New Mexico, holding signs protesting recent police shootings and often snarling traffic. Motorists honked, and supporters took photos with smartphones. Activists called on various city officials to resign, yelling late Sunday for the police chief to resign.

Justin Elder, 24, followed the protest as a passenger in a car and held a sign that read, "APD: Dressed To Kill."

"That's what this police force is about," Elder said.

Albuquerque police in riot gear and New Mexico State Police followed the marchers, and protesters were seen shouting epithets at officers. At one point, a protester climbed a tall street sign on the city's historic Route 66 and unsuccessfully attempted to bring it down.

Another protester, Alexander Siderits, 23, said he was participating because he was "fed up" with how police treat citizens. "It has reached a boiling point," he said, "and people just can't take it anymore."

The U.S. Justice Department has been investigating the police for more than a year, looking into complaints of civil rights violations and allegations of excessive use of force.

The gathering came days after a YouTube video emerged threatening retaliation for a recent deadly police shooting.

The video, which bore the logo of the computer hacking collective Anonymous, warned of a cyberattack on city websites and called for the protest march. Albuquerque police said their site had been breached early Sunday afternoon, but it was back by evening after being offline for hours.

Earlier Sunday, police spokesman Simon Drobik confirmed the disruption was due to a cyberattack and said investigators had not uncovered the source of the hack.

In the March 16 shooting that led to the YouTube posting Tuesday, a homeless man was killed in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains on the east side of Albuquerque. The shooting was captured on video and followed a long standoff. The FBI has opened an investigation into the shooting.

Last week, Albuquerque police fatally shot a man at a public housing complex. Authorities said he shot at officers before they returned fire.

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Chris March 31 2014 at 2:52 PM

Holy cow! I was just in ABQ yesterday with my family we had to decide between two restaurants, one was in the area of the protest, the other which we decided on going to thank God was not!! Hope they get things right in that town, I've been there many times it has great culture, cuisine & natural beauty!

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2 replies
Kenny Chris March 31 2014 at 3:41 PM

oh boo hoo........... you added nothing to all this except BS

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Linda K Chris March 31 2014 at 8:23 PM

If the restaurant you didn't go to was the Frontier, I'm so sorry you weren't able to enjoy their wonderful food. Next time you come to Albuquerque, go there in the morning, get a breakfast burrito and cinnamon roll. Pure heaven! Also, the

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jcgordon45 March 31 2014 at 4:08 PM

This protest was mainly regarding the shooting of James Boyd, a homeless man who was camping in the foothills of Albuquerque....not too far from my house, actually. There is a video of Boyd's shooting on the web. You can google to learn more, if you wish, but I can tell you Boyd never should have been killed. The incident could have been handle much better by the APD.

However, what happened last night by the protesters is inexcusable! They should all be ashamed of themselves! I think the majority of the protesters were college kids with nothing better to do....most were/are police haters and probably don't even know what the protest was about in the first place.

Being a cop is a tough job...especially in a city like ABQ. I know I wouldn't want that job and I wouldn't want any of my kids to be a police officer. I think if the protesters from last nights protest don't like what the police are doing, they should try to changes things from the inside, out. Sign up to join the force...APD needs you!

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Charlie April 01 2014 at 1:26 AM

I saw the video of that shooting. The victim posed no threat to the police. He was turning away from them when he was shot many times in the back. Those officers should be put on trial for murder. A badge doesn't give you the right to kill someone.

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elliajt March 31 2014 at 3:59 PM

I am considered old 82, born in 1931, I remember the Gestapo of the second world war. Albuquerque
is good and decent city. The police should support our citizens, if they the citizens are doing wrong arrest them, but do not let them act like the Gestapo of the second world war. Remember the
those who do wrong and break the law know what they have done, but there is no need of a
Gestapo force inour own Albuquerque, NM.

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tinysantafe March 31 2014 at 11:19 AM

THAT IS SO CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!! now, had someone of been shot or severly injured then there would have been more trouble. why MAKE MORE trouble if you are protesting trouble. i don't understand all that destruction. if you are going to do a protest, let it be peaceful, it makes no sense to have it be similar or cause it to be similar to the very t hing you are protesting. sounds to me like an excuse to cause mayhem, that isn't a peaceful protest when you are purposely trying to harm someone!!!

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Snowy March 31 2014 at 11:25 AM

This is not a new problem. I used to drive a truck over the road, this was back in the 80's. i was a young pretty woman and i was single working a non traditional field. I was at a motel behind a truck stop in mesquite texas and had just gotten a new job with a friend i'd known a long time who needed a co-driver. I had quit my old job because my old boss had tried to rape me. my new employer and friend had gone to fuel the truck while i packed up the luggage, took a shower and was walking to the restraunt. there were police cars all over the back of the truck stop and i thought, wow ! im protected...Yah right!, after an officer saw me, he stopped the car and asked me what business i had on the lot, i know they were trying to crack down on prostitution which was bad there but i was obviously no prostitute. I tolf the officer i was a driver and was going to meet my boss in the restraunt then we were going to leave for kansas city. I showed him my identification and he said i will give you 2 minutes to get off this lot or i will arrest you for criminal tresspass. I continued to walk to the restraunt and ultimately headed to the fuel desk, the officer pushed me with the bumper of his car and said shut up and keep on walking when some of the drivers who knew me started yelling asking me what was going on. I told them i was being harassed and that i needed to get to my truck and to the fuel desk. I had been doing business with that truck stop for several years.
Long story short, they arrested me, took me to jail where they beat me up and lost me in their system for 32 days. I lost my job, my belongings, and my respect for law enforcement and the judicial system after that. I took it to court, they had me in on an investigative charge and kept me for well over the 72 hours they lawfully could have kept me for. Would not let my mother know where i was or even that i was there. I took legal action however had an appointed lawyer who messed up and my case was dismissed in appellet court. I still have nightmares of that day and the time i spent in dallas county jail....I am fortunate they didn't shoot me. Later, about 2 years later i stopped back in there and witnessed a vehicle, elcamino, it was light blue, the car was trying to run a very scared woman down, she hid under my trailer as i was leaving then ran out from under it, i know that man driving killed that woman. when i called the police dept and they got my name, they refused to take my statement....i believe that man in the powder blue elcamino was a cop.....no, i have no trust or respect for law enforcement or any government official now, not any at all.

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2 replies
idodeco2 Snowy March 31 2014 at 11:49 AM

Sorry to hear that this happened to you Snowy, and that you didn't win your law suit. It's one of those outrageous things that you don't know what to do about now.

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Lady Marmalade Snowy March 31 2014 at 12:13 PM

Sounds about exactly right for Texas. Sorry to hear the story :( I moved to Texas 2years ago and though I have never had a run in with the local yokels or the troopers, I see how they are. I hail from Phoenix, Arizona originally. The Phnx Police are ballet dancers compared to Texas. Texas police are ********, mean and good ol' boy sentiment. I have a sister in Albq. .......been there many times. I don't know what's happened to there police force. And yes you're very fortunate not to have been shot in Texas. Law enforcement here is crazy and brutal .

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imhxn March 31 2014 at 11:32 AM

Why are my comments being removed AOL ?????

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1 reply
Michael imhxn March 31 2014 at 3:03 PM

Just another situation of lack of freedom of speech.

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Kenny March 31 2014 at 3:38 PM

shoot them.............................

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twcolina March 31 2014 at 3:46 PM

Lets have all the police take five days off and see what happens in our Sanctuary City!

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1 reply
vaman878 twcolina March 31 2014 at 4:19 PM

That is faulty logic. No one denies that a police force is necessary, But a police force that bullies and murders citizens (yes, it is happening all across the country) is change that is necessary. We are not saying get rid of the police force, we are saying get rid of the ones who break the law instead of supporting it, and give them the same penalties that any citizen would face if they broke the same laws.

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thirdherdnerd March 31 2014 at 4:55 PM

Mob rule. That ought to work out real well.

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