Protest against APD shootings today at 4 p.m.
There were two fatal shootings by Albuquerque Police Department officers last week. On Monday, March 19, officer Martin Smith killed Daniel Tillison, who rammed two vehicles as he tried to avoid arrest, according to police. On Wednesday, March 21, SWAT officer Russ Carter killed Gary Atencio near Laguna Pueblo. Police say Atencio fired shots at his wife on the Westside of Albuquerque then led officers on a chase down I-40.
On Friday, the Albuquerque Journal revealed that the police union cuts checks for $300 or $500 to officers who’ve shot people. They money is intended to help officers and their families get out of town for a while, according to the union. Mayor Richard Berry and Police Chief Ray Schultz weren’t happy about it, with Berry saying he was “shocked” and Schultz calling the practice “troubling.”
This afternoon, the families of those who’ve been killed by APD will be joined by local activist organizations on Civic Plaza. The rally will start at 4 p.m., and demonstrators will demand the federal Department of Justice examine Albuquerque’s police force. Citizens have long been calling for such an investigation, and though the Council passed a measure requesting one last year, the mayor vetoed it.
Organizer Mike Gomez’ 22-year-old son Alan was shot and killed by police in May 2011. Alan was holding a plastic spoon. “We will bring signs and photos of loved ones,” says Mike Gomez in a news release. “We will let everyone know we still want justice. We have them on the defensive. We must continue the pressure.”