And the Crowd Goes Wild
By Carolyn Carlson
“Remember you work for us!”
People shouted angrily at councilors at the Wednesday, Sept. 7 meeting. The Council failed to override Mayor Richard Berry’s veto of a bill that asks the feds to look into the Albuquerque Police Department.
A rash of officer-involved shootings, inappropriate social media postings and other allegations of bad behavior prompted the measure. But Berry axed the bill, saying the Justice Department will decide on its own whether an investigation is warranted, and the city is already cooperating fully with the feds.
“Override this arrogant and disrespectful veto because it is the right thing to do,” said Jewel Hall, president of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Multicultural Council. “Please do not fail your constituents.”
Councilors Rey Garduño, Ken Sanchez, Isaac Benton, Debbie O’Malley and Dan Lewis favored the override. Councilors Brad Winter, Trudy Jones, Don Harris and Michael Cook voted against it, saying they do not think such a probe is necessary and the city can take care of its own problems. A veto override requires a two-thirds majority—6 to 3—vote.
“We do not need the federal government in our city or telling us what to do,” said Council President Harris. Winter made a point of saying he is 100 percent behind Police Chief Ray Schultz.
Public comment lasted for several hours, with councilors hearing from community groups, as well as friends and family of men killed by the police department. A handful of people spoke in favor of APD: One man noted that officers make up the fine line between residents and “the bad and ugly.” Other speakers reminded Mayor Berry that he ran for office on the principals of transparency and cleaning house, which could include replacing the police chief.
The next Council meeting is set for 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 19, in the Council Chambers in the basement of City Hall.
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