“...With his death, Alan Gomez joined the list of at least 27 people killed by Albuquerque police officers since 2010, and the more than 40 wounded by gunfire. In a city of just over 540,000, the body count is staggering. Indeed, the rate of officer-involved shootings by Albuquerque police is eight times that of the NYPD and two times higher than in Chicago, a megalopolis with one of the steepest levels of violent crime in the country….”
New Mexico is a wonderful place to live. It is strange, quirky, with amazing people. Those who are natives to the state pride themselves on the sense of frontier which still exists. Some of the kindest, most genuine people I’ve ever encountered in my life live in New Mexico. It is a multicultural showplace of staggering natural beauty. The legacy of the Wild West exists, hand in glove with the Space Age. Modern rocketry was literally born about 50 miles from the location where I am writing this paragraph. Allegedly we have been visited by aliens, some of them not even human. I suspect, like to most people who have lived here very long, that those encountering those little green men have encountered something with a worm in the bottom of the bottle, and have probably consumed that worm, after drinking the contents of the bottle. That’s why I moved here, it is fun, quirky, dramatic, silly, and you never know what is going to happen next. I had an opportunity to move – anywhere. I chose to move to New Mexico, wart and all. And, the state does have warts, including being one of the most corrupt states in the country. It is currently governed (likely story) by the most corrupt governor in the nation, who is literally bought and paid for by the Brother’s Koch. She is a corrupt Koch Whore who, like many other corrupt Koch Whores, manipulate the old ‘law & order’ cliche to garner votes. During her years as governor, we’ve seen a dramatic rise in police corruption, from the highest levels, downward. The worst of the worst is in ABQ, where the force is considered one of the worst in the country. It is brutal. As one person put it, it is as though ABQ cops have been trained to kill.
What happens when a police force, which is out of control, and considered one of the most barbaric and brutal in the nation purchases 350 AR-15 rifles, when that type of weapon was used to murder a homeless man a few months earlier? Well – nothing, zip, nada, zilch. In ABQ, a cop can literally get away with murder. According to the chief, who refused to respond in any way except via spokesperson:
“…“The rifles were ordered as replacements for officers’ authorized personally-owned rifles. They are being issued only to officers who are qualified to carry rifles and do not represent an increase in the number of rifles carried by APD officers. Chief Gorden E. Eden, Jr. ordered replacement side arms for all officers in a move towards standardization of weaponry. This is an extension of that program to ensure that officers who are authorized to use certain equipment are using the standardized equipment issued by the Department. The replacement rifles are the standard type of rifle used commonly by police departments throughout the United States and may be purchased by any person at a commercial retailer. The rifles cost approximately $1000 each and the bid was awarded to a local vendor.”…”
To make matters worse, the police union contains some members who aren’t exactly the kind of cop you want walking that euphemistic neighborhood beat.
“...Alan Wagman, an assistant public defender who served on Albuquerque’s Police Oversight Commission, told me he observed a pattern of brutality that extended well beyond the shooting of unarmed people. He described witnessing numerous cases of officers applying a technique known as a “sternum rub” to homeless people. “They take their knuckles and hold it against the breastbone, push and rub back and forth,” Wagman explained. “The pain is so extreme only a comatose person wouldn’t wake up. So cops will come upon a passed out drunk, give him a sternum rub, the person wakes up and hits the cop and they charge him with assault on a peace officer. I’ve seen this more than once. It’s clear they’re trained to do this.” Wagman described the Albuquerque police as the most violent department he has ever encountered in his career as a public defender. “I think they’re trained to kill people,” he said. “I can’t understand it any other way.”…”
“…In one recent case that received some national attention, police shot and killed a homeless white man in Albuquerque, New Mexico, sparking a wave of demonstrations in the city. Police officers gunned down 38-year-old James Boyd on March 16 in the Sandia foothills following a standoff and after he allegedly brandished a small knife, authorities said. But a helmet-camera video showed Boyd agreeing to walk down the mountain, gathering his things and taking a step toward officers just before they opened fire.
Amid the popular uproar that ensued, the U.S. Justice Department issued a report on April 10 documenting that the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) has for years engaged in a pattern of excessive force that violates the U.S. Constitution and federal law. The investigation, launched in November 2012, specifically identified three general patterns of police abuse in Albuquerque:
–APD officers too frequently use deadly force against people who pose a minimal threat;
–APD officers use “less lethal” force, including tasers, on people who are non-threatening or unable to comply with orders; and
–Encounters between APD officers and persons with mental illness and in crisis too frequently result in a use of force or a higher level of force than necessary.
While these findings specifically pertained to law enforcement practices in Albuquerque, largely vindicating the grievances of demonstrators protesting the shooting death of James Boyd, they could just as easily apply to any number of police departments across the country that engage in similar practices of excessive force….”
I love living in New Mexico. I don’t like ABQ, avoiding it like the plague. I have, though, been terrorized by a very bad NM cop who is now in prison for multiple rapes. I suspect, when he gets out of prison, he can always find a job in ABQ.