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APD Methods Blasted

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — About 50 people gathered Downtown on Tuesday to chant and hold signs against the Albuquerque Police Department’s use of force.

Many of the protesters who were at Civic Plaza were friends and relatives of those killed by police. Officers have shot 18 people since January 2010, killing 13 of them.

Speakers talked about their efforts to change what they say is a certain mentality at the Police Department that leads to excessive force.

“I’m here committed to this movement. If we stick together, we can do something about this,” said Eric Gomez, the brother of 22-year-old Alan Gomez, who was holding a spoon and walking away from police when he was fatally shot May 10.

“They’ll never have any idea what they took from our family,” Gomez said.

Others at the protest referred to a recent court ruling in favor of the family of a man fatally shot by police in 2009. The ruling blasted the department’s training on use of force.

State District Judge Theresa Baca awarded the family of 19-year-old Andrew Lopez more than $4.25 million in the wrongful death lawsuit against the Albuquerque Police Department. In her ruling, Baca referred to the department’s training methods as “designed to result in the unreasonable use of deadly force.” Two protesters quoted Baca in signs at the rally.

Police have defended the shootings this year and last year, saying officers were responding to dangerous situations and had to act quickly to defend their lives. “We respect their right to protest and (their) freedom of speech,” police spokeswoman Sgt. Trish Hoffman said.

Photo Credit – Greg sorber/journal
Cutline – Natalie Gomez, sister of Alan Gomez, holds a sign with a picture of her brother at a rally protesting the use of lethal force by Albuquerque police. Alan Gomez, 22, was fatally shot while holding a plastic spoon and walking away from police May 10.

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