Albuquerque Protest Against Police Leads to Tear Gas, Arrests

Image: Albuquerque Protest Against Police Leads to Tear Gas, Arrests Riot police launch tear gas toward activists in downtown Albuquerque, N.M. following a 10-hour protest.

Monday, 31 Mar 2014 04:02 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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An anti-police protest in Albuquerque, N.M., on Sunday turned unruly after police tried to break up the rally and marchers ignored authorities' orders.

Police arrested at least a half dozen people at the protest late Sunday and sprayed tear gas at crowds, the Albuquerque Journal reported. 

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The rally began at noon and continued through 9 p.m. local time, at which point policed tried to break it up with tear gas.

"We respected their rights to protest, obviously," Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry told reporters at a news conference late Sunday, according to The Associated Press. "But what it appears we have at this time is individuals who weren't connected necessarily with the original protest. They've taken it far beyond a normal protest."

Marchers taking part in the daylong protest were calling for justice in the March 16 shooting of James M. Boyd, a homeless, mentally ill man whom officers killed in the Sandia foothills.

A YouTube video with the logo of the famed hacking group Anonymous reportedly emerged after the killing. The group threatened retaliation for Boyd's death and called for the march.

Albuquerque police said the department's website had been hacked early Sunday afternoon, inaccessible throughout the day only to become available at night. Hackers also allegedly released officers’ personal phone numbers, authorities said.

"I definitely was encouraged by Anonymous to come out," Jennifer Girod, told the Albuquerque Journal, who held a sign saying, "APD: Not judge, jury and executioner." "We're saying something, these killings need to stop."

Tensions between the public and local police have been rising for years. Since 2010, Albuquerque police have been involved in 37 shootings, and 23 of them have been fatalities.

Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden said that some protesters dragged city barriers into the road near Fourth and Central roads around 11:30 p.m., while others threw rocks at police and attempted to break the windows of police cruisers.

March organizers told KRQE-TV that about 1,000 people took part in the protest, which featured a coffin with the names and photos of those shot by police officers in the last few years and mock arrest warrants for the mayor and police chief. 

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