Groups oppose BernCo sheriff's run for ABQ mayor - Albuquerque Journal

Groups oppose BernCo sheriff’s run for ABQ mayor

On behalf of the following caucuses and affiliated organizations within the Democratic Party of New Mexico – the Adelante Progressive Caucus, the Black Caucus, the Hispanic Caucus and the Young Democrats of New Mexico – we must ensure our elected officials uphold values that are key to our Democratic platform.

With the upcoming Albuquerque municipal election, and the announcement that Bernalillo County Sheriff Manny Gonzales is running for mayor, it is important that we speak out.

Since being elected sheriff in 2014, Gonzales has taken controversial positions, refusing to enforce laws he alone deems unnecessary and rejecting standard police reforms that would have improved public accountability, transparency and safety for our communities.

Examples include:

I. Gonzales worked with the Trump administration, not local law enforcement, to the detriment of vulnerable communities. In 2020, during the height of political unrest over police shootings and the backlash over federal agents’ heavy-handedness in response to protests, Gonzales worked with the Trump administration and Trump’s attorney general, William Barr, to bring federal agents to Albuquerque …

His behavior was condemned by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Sen. Martin Heinrich and many other Democratic leaders in New Mexico. Community and immigrant groups feared the specific targeting of low-income neighborhoods in Albuquerque. In August, Trump praised Gonzales in a tweet, thanking him for his support.

II. Gonzales was responsible for excessive use of force, systematic racism and expensive lawsuits. According to the ACLU, the “Bernalillo County Sheriff Office (BCSO) has shown an alarming escalation in the use of force which has resulted in unnecessary loss of life in the community and cost taxpayers millions of dollars in lawsuits resulting from excessive force.” Multiple lawsuits have been filed against BCSO for systemic racial profiling against African Americans. Yet, Sheriff Gonzales denies there is a problem and believes his deputies don’t need further training.

III. Gonzales refused to adopt mainstream policing tools like body cameras and stalled on law enforcement transparency and accountability. Gonzales refused to equip his deputies with body cameras, first saying the department couldn’t afford them, and after funding was made available by the County Commission, saying he didn’t trust they worked. Not until the state Legislature passed a law in July 2020 was he forced to begin using body cameras.

IV. Gonzales worked with the NRA to defeat common-sense gun reform legislation. In 2019, he endorsed the NRA’s “2nd Amendment Sanctuary Counties” in New Mexico to defeat common-sense gun safety laws like background checks and “red flag” laws that would take guns away from the most dangerous people.

V. Gonzales picks and chooses which laws to enforce based on his conservative political views. In late 2020, he called the governor’s COVID-19 health orders “unconstitutional,” saying he wouldn’t enforce them. … Last December, Gonzales tangled with 2nd Judicial District Attorney Ra ú l Torrez after advising his deputies to ignore the officer misconduct questionnaire that Torrez’s office asked APD officers and BSCO deputies to complete, also known as “Giglio disclosures.”

We stand in strong condemnation of Manny Gonzales and the actions he’s taken as sheriff. He is no Democrat and does not stand for the Democratic values that we fight for, and we cannot support his candidacy for mayor. These opinions are from these Democratic caucuses of the Democratic Party only and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the DPNM or other caucuses within the DPNM.

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