New Mexico ‘Killer Police’ Riots Turn Violent After Cops Throw Tear Gas into Crowds
A peaceful protest against police brutality turned to mayhem late Sunday after officers in riot gear threw tear gas into the crowd.
One Associated Press reporter claims that he saw police officers in front of the Albuquerque police headquarters discharge tear gas into the crowds and charge at the protesters in an effort to get the people to disperse after nearly 10-hours of protests drawing attention to the use of lethal force in the city.
Since 2010, the town of 555,000 has had 37 police shootings, including 23 cases where the suspect was killed due to police fire. The most recent killing occurred two weeks ago, when an officer’s lapel-cam caught police shooting a mentally ill homeless man with bean bags, stun guns and six live rounds.
That case is currently being investigated by the FBI, but local Albuquerque residents attending the protests claim that this latest incident is simply business as usual for the notorious police department which has been under a Department of Justice probe for violence for over a year.
“That’s what this police force is about,” Justin Elder, a 24-year-old holding a ‘APD: Dressed to Kill’ sign said during the protests.
Andrew Siderits agreed, adding that the local community can not longer stand the violent, police state in the city. “It has reached a boiling point,” he said, “and people just can’t take it anymore.”
The protest began at noon on Sunday when citizens gathered to demand that the local police be held accountable for their use of lethal force and violence on Albuquerque’s residents. The group then marched on the street for 2 miles, surrounded by police in riot gear, ending at police department headquarters.
The large crowd began shouting “Hey hey, ho ho, killer cops have got to go,” and according to police blocked traffic causing an unruly mob which was declared an unlawful assembly.
When the group failed to go home, the police cracked down violently with protesters, throwing tear gas into the crowds, resulting in skirmishes with police that ended in several arrests.
Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry defended the police’s use of force on the anti-police brutality protesters. “We respected their rights to protest obviously,” Berry told the Albuquerque Journal, but “they’ve taken it far beyond a normal protest.“
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