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Rioters set fires, break windows in Downtown ABQ; shots fired at officers

Albuquerque police attempt to clear Downtown of rioters. (Anthony Jackson/ Albuquerque Journal)

 

A peaceful Sunday night protest in Downtown Albuquerque erupted into chaos overnight as rioters fired shots at police, broke windows at several buildings and set multiple fires. There were also reports of some looting.

“At this time there are no reports of injuries,” Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said in an early morning email. He said APD deployed emergency response teams to a large portion of Downtown to stop those who were vandalizing property and getting violent with officers.

Officers reported that someone fired shots at them in front of the Kimo Theater on the 400 block of Central. The aggression toward police didn’t stop there.

Protesters taunted officers, shouting profanities at them. At one point, one man threw what appeared to be a Molotov cocktail toward police, though it didn’t hit anyone.

A helicopter circled above after midnight ordering the group of 80 to 100 to disband or be arrested as two columns of police in riot gear, one at Second and Central and the other at Third and Central tried to break up the crowd. The riot police on Third and Central threw perhaps as many as six canisters of teargas at the group.

Many in the crowd coughed as some tried to throw the canisters back at police.

Protestors scattered south of Central, although many of them were throwing objects at officers.

Earlier on Sunday night, hundreds marched down Central to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man killed on Memorial Day as police in Minnesota took him into custody. Protests were held throughout the country on Sunday, and many of them turned violent.

In Albuquerque, marchers started at the University of New Mexico and blocked most of Central as they made their way west to Robinson Park in Downtown Albuquerque chanting, “I can’t breathe.” Many carried homemade signs. “Being black is not a death sentence,” read one; “silence is violence,” read another.

The group reached Robinson Park, at 8th and Central, around 8 p.m. They observed a moment of silence, many raising a fist in the air, before turning back toward UNM.

The crowd began to disperse when the march made it back to University and Central, where the protest began.

But by 11:30 p.m., the peaceful demonstration began turning chaotic as one male tried breaking a window at the NYPD Pizza Department off Second and Central.

Shortly thereafter, a dumpster fire was burning south of Central and Third while another fire was smoldering at the intersection of Third and Central. Yet another dumpster fire was burning at Gold and Second, while a trash fire was set at Third and Gold.

Rioters could also be seen throwing objects at the windows of buildings at Third and Gold.

Several buildings along Central and along Gold also had their windows broken. A number of buildings were also vandalized with graffiti, including ACAB (all cops are b——-.)

The APD, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s office and State Police all responded, including APD’s horse unit.

By about 2:30 a.m., most of the protesters had left and law enforcement was doing a sweep of the area.

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