APD protestors and supporters turned out yesterday evening to the city council meeting in Downtown Albuquerque. More than 300 people filled the main chamber and overflow room. Those who didn’t make it in watched TV screens in Civic Plaza outside City Hall.
City Council President Ken Sanchez announced at the beginning of the meeting that Mayor Richard Berry would not attend. “Mayor Berry Sends his regrets about not being to attend tonight’s meeting.”
Attendees met the news with disbelief. Sanchez opened the public comment period for the 150 people who signed up to speak about the Albuquerque Police Department.
“I fear death by APD,” Tylina Hardy said, “not only because our current police force has no qualms shooting at citizens in the back and justifying it, but also because police and brutality in Albuquerque have been an epidemic since I’ve been alive.”
Resident after resident approached the podium and asked the Council to require that APD officers wear lapel cameras, recall Mayor Richard Berry and fire Police Chief Gorden Eden. Another alternative presented to the Council: a complete takeover by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Some speakers, like Steven Baca, were present to support APD. “I, my friends, family, have been pulled over by APD officers, and guess what? We’re still alive,” he said, “no injuries, no shootings, no nothing.”
The public comment period lasted five hours.
Councilor Rey Garduño promised to introduce measures to reform APD. The Department of Justice also announced last night that it would release the findings of its investigation on Thursday morning.