Thanks to Billy for sending me this one. He writes:
APD protecting the rights of the handicap, maybe mañana.
I'm sure you see plenty of asshole parking jobs, take a picture and email me.
Below is an e-mail interview with Derek Minno Bloom, one of the founders of Albuquerque's Copwatch. The Alibi talked to him in September, when the organization was getting started. I checked in earlier this week to see how things are going with the citizen observation group.
How many times has the group formally gone out?
Fives times now.
How many of you go?
Anywhere from eight to four. This week we should have 12 or so.
Do you have Copwatch shirts so you're easily identified?
Not yet. We always have one person who is the intervener and announces ourselves to the APD and person who is being arrested or detained.
What has the reaction been?
For the most part real good. The people love us. We hand out flyers and a lot of the responses are either: This is great, thanks for your work; some type of police harassment story, or just a plain and simple "Fuck the police." (Normally people who have said this have had a few drinks.)
APD has been very respectful. One officer even thanked us for our work and said that APD does need to be held accountable.
Some police officers have refused to give us their names or badge numbers, which is illegal: We have the right to know who our public servants are in the U.S. But that has been the worst of it.
Have you seen anything important?
We have seen that a lot of APD officers do their job very professionally. Who knows if that is because we are there with a camera or not? We have also seen that we have a chance to break up fights before APD gets to the scene. We have also seen that a lot of people are not aware of there rights, so it has been good to have lots of conversations about our rights. We have been able to tell people their rights while they were interacting with the APD.
For more info, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or look up "Albuquerque Copwatch" on Facebook.
Every Oct. 22, people nationwide nonviolently protest police brutality and repression. 2010 marks the 15th year of this action.
Albuquerque’s Copwatch is participating and organized a silent march and vigil to remember the people who’ve been shot by the Albuquerque Police Department. There have been 11 officer-involved shootings this year.
People will gather at Fourth Street and Roma at 3:30 p.m. Family members of Kenneth Ellis III , the Iraq War veteran who was killed by police in January, will speak. The friends and relatives of Enrique “Kiki” Carrasco will also attend. At 4:30, the silent march will begin making its way up Central and end at Robinson Park on 8th Street.
The event is also sponsored by Vecinos United, Young Women United and the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition.
A range of public reactions to Albuquerque Police Department shootings took center stage at the Monday, Sept. 20 City Council meeting. So far this year, there have been 11 officer-involved shootings, and seven people have died. Brian Swainston and several other men said they saw the most recent incident, which happened Downtown on Tuesday, Sept. 14. Officer Leah Kelly shot Chandler Barr, who was cutting himself with what was later discovered to be a butter knife. Police Chief Ray Schultz says Barr lunged at Kelly.
In addition to our coverage of the citizen-formed copwatch group and police oversight, the Alibi also spoke with the lieutenant who directs training at the police academy about officer-involved shootings.
On Tuesday morning, the Albuquerque Police Department fired its guns for the 11th time this year down the street from our Downtown office. The man who was shot is in stable condition at UNMH and is said to have been armed with a serrated butter knife.
The Albuquerque Police Department has not instituted any special de-escalation training due to the the high number of officer-involved shootings this year. The Tuesday, Sept. 14 shooting in Downtown Albuquerque was No. 11. In 2009, there were only six.
Every city administration tiptoes on a precarious thin line, balancing public safety against the civil rights of its citizens.