By Rene Thompson, Editor in Chief
The Tuesday, March 25 protest of APD officers’ excessive use of force had a massive turnout of more 1,000 people, and was really a very peaceful event that went as smoothly as it could have when ending at APD headquarters.
Unfortunately though, the other protest on Sunday, March 30 seemed to have an eerie and anxious feel in the crowd right from the get go.
I got the impression that there were instigators and troublemakers throughout the mass from the beginning; getting people riled up to walk the streets, and not to really show solidarity, but to wreak havoc on central and antagonize police officers, who seemed to have no other choice but to try to shut down the event that lasted from noon to 12 a.m. throughout sections of Downtown and Nob Hill areas.
The weird vibes in the crowd seemed to start when organizers tried to speak on behalf of family members who have lost loved ones, and were booed and interrupted by the crowd.
From that moment on the protest seemed unorganized and the march stopped sporadically, with people not knowing where they were going next, and eventually ended up circling Central Avenue from Downtown to Nob Hill and back again.
While doing so, entire groups stopped completely in the middle of Central, blocking traffic, provoking cops while screaming and yelling at officers on Girard, attempting to tear down the Central street sign at Yale Boulevard, and standing in the middle of the I-25 freeway, as well as attempting to block the I-25 on-ramp at Central.
Police were forced to stop protesters with an officer barricade while in riot gear, after demonstrators started getting even more out of hand when reaching Fourth Street and Roma Avenue, and again at Carlisle and Central where police had to finally tear gas protesters to get people to disperse, as well as arresting six people.
It seems that activists and protesters were intentionally provoking the police to do something and ruining what great work, effort, and results had been made from the Tuesday protest event.
People were aggressive from the beginning of this protest and seemed to intentionally want this event to get out of hand by acting out throughout the city in order to try and make people aware of the city’s issues, but it only takes a few bad apples to ruin a cause; like people prepped with weapons and gas masks, and this is exactly what happened at the protest on Sunday.
This issue has divided the community in our city, including some people who are supporting APD as well and even had a “wave or thank your local officers” event on the same day.
Some protesters acted hastily and without regard for others on Sunday, while losing much of the local support for this cause in the process of making citizens in Albuquerque look like fools.
This issue of APD violence has gotten to a boiling point that seriously needs to be addressed by city officials before anything worse occurs, because the community of Albuquerque deserves to feel somewhat safe and to have the peace of mind in knowing that ensuing chaos (like hundreds of people blocking city traffic for hours) and poor leadership will not be the city’s eventual downfall.