Albuquerque, New Mexico has been rocked by scandal in recent months over what the Department of Justice called a “culture of indifference to constitutional policing and insularity” within its police department. After years, even decades, of being ignored families of victims of deadly police shootings have been joined by a growing number of citizens to protest the failure of the City Government to adequately address the issue.
Today a large group gathered in the Mayor’s office to engage in a protest – a few weeks after citizens took over a City Council meeting when the elected members abandoned it during public comments from outraged citizens. Several arrests have been made of those sitting-in today including at least one who has lost a loved one to the department which has been over-eager to use force, including deadly force, when unnecessary. Nora Tachias Anaya, whose nephew, George Levi Tachias, was fatally shot by police when driving in Albuquerque in 1988, chained herself to a column within the office on the top floor of the Albuquerque Government Center. She was among several citizens who were forcefully removed from the City Council meeting last month for attempting a “silent protest” – saying nothing, back turned to the Council, during her allotted two minutes of supposedly free speech.
More info will be coming shortly – including exclusive video – as soon as the files have been transferred and uploaded.
Albuquerque Mayor’s Office Protesters (Video: Russell Contreras)
The Albuquerque City Council meeting scheduled for tonight has been cancelled and rescheduled for next Monday. However the City has stated it will not allow any members of the public to participate in the normal public comment portion of the meeting.
The number of arrests appears to be thirteen for Criminal Trespass with one additional charge to one for Felony Battery on a Police Officer. One of the arrestees has been identified as David Correia who has been a leader among the citizens’ group and is an American Studies professor at the University of New Mexico. Correia has been singled out by outspoken opponents on the Council and attempts to have his faculty position taken from him in recent months. He is the individual who was additionally charged with the Felony Assault on an Officer offense.
More to come …
CURRENT LIST OF ARRESTED CITIZENS
UPDATE 11:05 PM
It is still unclear as to why one citizen, Prof. David Correia, was singled out in today’s arrests for a Battery on a Police Officer charge. Witnesses say that the allegation against him stems from the beginning of the action around 3 P.M. in the Mayor’s office and not at the time of the arrest later that day.
The action by the citizens began at about the time a finance meeting was to be held although the City claims that the Mayor was not present and was out of town. The Mayor’s office is located on the 11th floor of the City’s Municipal building and there are two doors associated with the area the citizens entered. The Mayor’s spokesperson, Gilbert Montano, referred to one as a “security” door and at a press conference this evening said it was unlawful to go beyond this point.
When the citizens entered Correia was the first and held open what is being referred to as the “security” door to let the others inside. Witnesses stated that in opening and holding this door an allegation is being made that Correia brushed past an undercover officer (seen in the photo above – forcefully removing Correia, whose hands are raised, from the office). We have video (soon to be posted) that shows the scene moments later where the undercover officer has isolated Correia in the back of the room and confronting him. At one point the video actually shows this officer place both his hands on Correia’s shoulders – which, under the law, is actually an act of battery. [NOTE: Battery is commonly misunderstood to imply or entail a forceful or violent act. Under the law, however, the offense of battery entails nothing more than “unwanted touching” of another person.] As the video shows the conversation is then joined by the Mayor’s spokesperson who can be overheard stating “Let’s de-escalate a little” and shortly thereafter Correia was allowed to rejoin the protest without being placed under arrest.
About a half hour into the sit-in a press conference was conducted by another group of citizens outside in the Civic Plaza. About half of those who participated in the sit-in joined this group outside while thirteen remained in the Mayor’s office. At that point the police “locked-down” the Municipal building and would not let anyone back in – including members of the media. This is when the trespass arrests were made on the remaining thirteen.
According to witnesses at the scene the involvement of the police appeared to be coordinated by the City’s CAO (Chief Administrative Officer) Robert Perry who has been openly hostile to protesters in the past months. Perry can be seen confronting the citizens who were in the Mayor’s office while filming them with his phone. He accuses them of “forcing” their way through the so-called “security” door.
Two further videos covering much of the protest and the press conference are currently rendering and will be added shortly.
UPDATE June 3 12:24 A.M.
The following of the Albuquerque Thirteen have been formally booked and bond has been set. It is unclear at this time why there are two different amounts set for persons charged with the same offense. No word on the other seven at this time.
- Oscar Chavarria 750.00
- James Bowes 1000.00
- William Bradley 1000.00
- Joel Gallegos 750.00
- Susan Schuuman 1000.00
- Mayan Trujeque 1000.00
Collections have been ongoing to help post bond. At this time there is no paypal or other online donation method for this particular case but a local attorney who is assisting the Albuquerque Thirteen and has been active in the efforts to reform the Albuquerque Police Department, Larry Kronen, can accept money orders on behalf of those currently in jail. These can be sent to (and made out to):
3201 4th St NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107
UPDATE 12:39 A.M.
- Jonathan Dunn 750.00
UPDATE 1:04 A.M.
The Albuquerque Thirteen Escorted in Cuffs to Police Van (Video: Felicia Herrera)
UPDATE 1:08 A.M.
All of the Albuquerque Thirteen have now been booked and given bond. Here are the remaining details:
8.Nora Anaya 750.00
- Ilsa Biel 1000.00
- Kathryn Brown 1000.00
- David Correia 5000.00
- Barbara Grothus 750.00
- Talia Madrid 750.00
UPDATE 1:13 A.M.
There is some more information now available about the arrests. Most of the thirteen have been charged with three counts: In addition to Criminal Trespass they have also been charged with Interference with a Public Facility and Unlawful Assembly together with Intent.
David Correia, however, appears – at the moment – to only have one charge placed against him: the felony battery on a police officer. It is unclear if, and if not why, he has been charged with the three lesser offenses that the others have been given.
UPDATE 2:23 A.M.
Charlie Arasim’s (PINAC) Raw Video
UPDATE 3:50 A.M.
“Quote-Unquote” Raw Video