The Council crammed a lot into their last meeting before summer recess. Councilors voted to: review APD’s deadly force policies; allow big restaurants not to install fire sprinklers; and let the city to vote on red-light cameras.
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.
My husband and I read the Alibi every week and were both very disappointed with this week's issue [Feature, “Who Watches the Watchmen?” Sept. 16-22]. Your cover title "Copwatch: 11 Shootings and Counting" suggested that the police here are trigger-happy and we should be concerned. The article then had nothing to do with the shootings. While oversight and community awareness would probably be a good thing, I would much rather read a well-researched report on the frequency of officer involved shootings here and how that compares with national and annual statistics. I personally cannot find these statistics easily, so I wish your newspaper would address this issue, especially if your front page is going to suggest that we should be concerned. Are we above average per capita? If so, why? Have these shootings been found to be unjustified? Before we scapegoat the men and women we call to protect us, I would like to read an article about the subject at hand, not a misleading, inflammatory, anecdotal story about a New York couple that doesn't like APD's attitude.
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.