The Albuquerque, New Mexico Police Department has had 40 police shootings since 2010. 26 of them led to suspect deaths, prompting the United States Department of Justice to issue a report critical of the agency’s use of force.
Saturday, protesters petitioning for policy changes regarding the departments use of force employed a unique tactic. A mock trail of controversial Albuquerque police Chief Gorden Eden.
Eden, who has sparked outrage in recent months for his rampant and continuous police violence apologism, took the job only four months ago as the Dept. of Justice finished its internal inquiry.
The protesters, who numbered in the hundreds, marched from Roosevelt Park with signs listing the names of people killed by Albuquerque officers, before returning to the park to rally and hold the “trial.”
Of the protest, Chief Eden said this in a statement:
“We acknowledge their First Amendment rights to voice their concerns. Our job will be to protect public safety during the time they are in Roosevelt Park and while they are marching. Additional officers will be on call in case they are needed.”
On hand was Amy Dunn. “We are coming together to raise awareness about what is happening in Albuquerque,” Dunn said in a Police State Daily telephone interview from the march. “It is important people know what the police are doing here. This is not a city I want my children to grow up in.”
“Chief Eden has failed to stop his subordinates from using excessive force and refuses to enact internal policy changes,” Dunn affirmed in reference to the mock trial. “This appears to be the only way for the peoples voice to be heard. Police Chief Eden, you’re guilty!”
As a result of increasing public pressure, the Police Department has announced some new changes. Among them is an order that officers stop shooting at moving vehicles. Others pertain to how new officers are trained.
The Department of Justice is expected to announce reforms the department must abide by in coming weeks.
Update: KROE reports that undercover officers were spotted at the march after being outed by journalists and protestors.
Reporters spotted an undercover officer wearing a tie-dyed t-shirt and dark sunglasses with long hair and an unkempt beard. The disguised officer, part of the police force’s Criminal Intelligence Unit, carried a camera and was seen filming and photographing the peaceful rally.
Mayor Richard Berry declined to comment to local reporters on the decision to put undercover officers at the gathering but Albuquerque police Chief Gorden Eden said the decision was consistent with U.S. Department of Justice recommendations, for the sole purpose of monitoring for public safety issues.
Safety issues? Ironically, or rather fittingly, one of the undercover officers that was on hand – who KRQE refused to name – has been identified as Albuquerque police Sargent Jason Peckwas by Police State Daily.
Peckwas was involved in the Aug. 6, 2012 shooting of Dominick Solis-Mora, which occurred after the officer claimed that Solis-Mora pointed a gun at him during a drug bust though video showed the man being cooperative.
“I’m at a loss to explain the purpose, the need, the value in embedding an undercover officer (in this situation),” retired Albuquerque Police Commander Nick Bakas told KOAT. “If the individuals identity is now made public, he’s now broadcast on the media, Internet, what have you, his effectiveness as an undercover officer has been compromised,” he said.
Police State Daily was unable to contact our on the ground source Amy Dunn who spoke with us during the event Saturday for comment, but pictures of the infiltrators were supposedly posted online.