Demonstrators against police violence prepare their signs in the early part of the evening on Oct. 12, 2016. Marisa Demarco / KUNM
Tanya Frazer (left) and Lavona Linson say they showed up to support police officers locally and nationally. They said officers don’t get enough credit, and Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez should not have had to go through a trial. Marisa Demarco / KUNM
A deadlocked jury means the door is open for former APD officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez to be retried by Raul Torrez, the next district attorney in Bernalillo County. Marisa Demarco / KUNM
Protesters stand on the sidewalk with large signs, and passing cars honk their approval Marisa Demarco / KUNM
Much criticism has been leveled against APD Police Chief Gorden Eden, who said in the days after James Boyd was killed by police that the shooting was justified. Mayor Richard Berry publicly disagreed with Eden’s comments. Eden later apologized. Marisa Demarco / KUNM
Demonstrators gather on the steps of the Bernalillo County Courthouse, where the case was tried over three weeks. Marisa Demarco / KUNM
Protesters hold large fabric signs on three corners of the busy Fourth Street and Lomas intersection. Marisa Demarco / KUNM
Activists stand in the crosswalk near the median on Lomas. Marisa Demarco / KUNM
Police block all eastbound traffic on Lomas around 6 p.m., prompting demonstrators to walk in the street. Marisa Demarco / KUNM
Police vehicles pull out of the street just a short while later, and eastbound cars faceoff with protesters. Eventually, they impede traffic in both directions. Marisa Demarco / KUNM
Some vehicles try to push through anyway, which spurs two altercations. No one appears to be injured afterward. Marisa Demarco / KUNM
The protest makes its way to the police station. Turning the corner on Fifth Street, tactical officers armed with what looked like rifles stood in the doorway of a rear exit. More could be seen looking down through binoculars from rooftops.
Demonstrators on the steps of police headquarters on Fourth Street and Roma. Marisa Demarco / KUNM
The protest gets smaller, 50 people tops, and back on Lomas, more tactical officers emerge. Marisa Demarco / KUNM
“This is the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department” an officer announces through a loudspeaker. They order the protesters out of the street. Marisa Demarco / KUNM
Three city buses pull up, and officers dressed in riot gear quickly file off, and stand in a line near the median. There were at least 60 officers on the scene. Marisa Demarco / KUNM
Protesters walk through Civic Plaza to Downtown Albuquerque chanting “We are all James Boyd.” Four helicopters continue circling above. Anna Lande / KUNM
After a die-in demonstration Downtown, they leave Central and depart. Despite some tense moments and heavy law enforcement presence, no one was arrested.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
It wasn’t the biggest anti-police violence demonstration Albuquerque has seen—fluctuating between around 50 and 100 people. But tensions were high, especially when law enforcement seemed to outnumber protesters.
On Wednesday, Oct. 12, activists gathered in front of the courthouse with signs, chanting, beating a snare drum and giving speeches through a bullhorn. It was the day after the trial concluded for two officers charged with second-degree murder for shooting a killing James Boyd, a homeless man with mental illness, in 2014. The jury was deadlocked, and the judge declared a mistrial, which leaves the door open for ex-officers Dominique Perez and Keith Sandy to be retried.
“I’m going to talk to Raul Torrez, the new DA, and they’re going to have a retrial,” demonstrator David O’Malley said. “These people should not walk for murdering people, especially the mentally ill.”
Kathy Green carried a homemade tombstone bearing Boyd’s name. She said there were others, each representing people killed by the Albuquerque Police Department from 2010 to 2014, a time when APD had one of the highest fatal shooting rates in the country. The federal Department of Justice investigated APD. Green said the trial itself and the fact that there were criminal charges was a victory. “The killings in Albuquerque have really decreased,” Green said. “And it’s not because the DOJ is here. It’s because of this trial. They’re [police officers] thinking.”
Over the course of the evening, tactical officers could be seen looking down through binoculars from the rooftops. More, dressed in military-style green uniforms with helmets and rifles, appeared in a building’s exit. Blue and red police lights flashed on top of cars and motorcycles that blocked nearby roads. Four helicopters circled Downtown. At one point, at least 60 officers dressed in riot gear filed off three city buses to line Lomas.
Nikki Archuleta said the show of force was ridiculous. “It just shows you how militarized our police are,” she said. “That’s not something that should be present at a protest where people are peacefully protesting.” She said she was there to call for accountability. “This is an epidemic, police brutality, murders going on across the nation right now.”
Tanya Frazer and Lavona Linson also stood in front of the Bernaillo County courthouse, but their poster-board signs showed support for police officers. They both have family members who work in law enforcement. “I would hate to think that they would have to go to jail for doing their jobs,” Linson said. “That’s wrong.”
Frazer agreed. “Everybody is so quick to judge police officers,” she said. “They don’t get much support.”