Dozens of people asked councilors to consider police department policies, given the number of officer-involved shootings. One by one, family members of nine shooting victims spoke through tears and anger at the Monday, June 6 City Council meeting. “When you kill these people, you not only kill them, you kill a part of every member of the family,” said Mike Gomez, father of 22-year-old Alan Gomez who was shot by an Albuquerque Police Department officer on May 10.
There have been four officer-caused deaths this year. Another 14 people were shot last year, resulting in nine deaths. “A police force working for a city is supposed to protect and serve. Citizens count on them to help but not in Albuquerque. Here, citizens are afraid to call 911 because of APD’s shoot-to-kill policies,” Gomez said.
Bernalillo County Deputy Manager Renetta Torres and her husband, Stephen Torres, spoke about the April shooting death of their 27-year-old son Christopher. “You may not think it could happen to you. It is unimaginable,” Renetta Torres said. The couple beseeched the Council to listen to the pleas of the distraught families present at the standing-room-only meeting. “Please, I beg you, I implore you, don’t let our loved ones die in vain. Let us work together. Let us learn from these tragedies,” Stephen Torres said.
Much of the agenda—including approval of a new strip club and discussion on how to regulate private parking lot car-booters—was either deferred at the start of the meeting or left undone when the Council ran out of time. One piece of business was quickly dealt with before councilors adjourned: proclaiming hazardous fire and drought conditions throughout the city and in Open Space, including the Bosque. Since the area has not seen any measurable rain for about 70 days, Albuquerque Fire Chief James Breen was given the authorization to ban fireworks citywide.