City leaders have voiced concern over a reverse drug sting operation brought to light earlier this month by the Burque Media collective. At the May 16 City Council meeting, Councilor Pat Davis criticized APD for its “reverse stings,” and sent a letter to Chief Gorden Eden's office afterward asking him to reevaluate the practice. During these operations, undercover officers would use up to eight ounces each of cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine to lure suspects into illegally purchasing one of the drugs. Many of the arrests made in this way targeted citizens who were homeless or mentally ill, making leaders like Councilor Davis question the operations' use of police resources at a time when the department is known to be underfunded. Ethical concerns have also been raised after Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg said that an APD detective presented an affidavit to a state District Court judge on Feb. 23 that misled the court to believe the DA's office had been consulted on the proposed operations. Last week, APD publicly announced that it will stop targeting homeless people in reverse drug stings.
UNM No Longer Hosting Gathering of Nations, Cites Security Concerns
The Albuquerque Journal reported that tensions between University of New Mexico administration and Gathering of Nations organizers were mounting for months before UNM terminated their contract to host the event. For more than 30 years, WisePies Arena (aka the Pit) has hosted the PowWow, which brings artists and families from around the continent as well as a large sum in tourist revenue to the city. Last month, Gathering of Nations organizer Derek Mathews received a letter from UNM Executive Vice President David Harris notifying him of the university's decision. Harris has stated that security concerns were the driving force behind the contract termination, pointing out that ticket control and security—usually overseen by the university at UNM-hosted events—are left up to Gathering of the Nations organizers, a condition the university is no longer happy with. Mathews says these concerns were already dealt with in the past—crowd flow and ticket sales are monitored with hand-held tally clickers at entrances and exits, and he believes police presence would encourage violence rather than discourage it—and believes financial concerns are the primary impetus behind the move. The Journal reported that Harris recently said “money was never the issue,” but initial statements by university authorities noted that hosting the event had become “prohibitively costly” to the athletic department.
Police to Arrest Violent Protesters
Police want to arrest suspects involved in last week's anti-Trump protest outside of the Republican forerunner's rally. Six APD officers received injuries to the face and limbs from rocks allegedly thrown by protesters, who police say also threw urine-filled bottles and burning T-shirts. Local business owners have also claimed thousands of dollars in damages from violent participants, who jumped on squad cars and broke windows at the convention center. Mayor Berry has said that about 30 out of the 1,000 demonstrators caused the evening's violent turn. A Trump rally in San Diego on Friday met similar violent outbursts when anti-Trump protesters mixed with his supporters. Apologists have cited Trump's hateful rhetoric as the cause of these destructive activities. The mayor has estimated $10,000 in damages to property, and is offering a $10,000 reward for any information that will lead to the arrest of the perpetrators. APD claims to have multiple credible witnesses as well as hard evidence that will lead to more arrests this week.