ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A small but vocal group of Albuquerque residents sat before a Police Oversight Commission meeting Thursday afternoon in the city council chambers and vented their frustration and anger at a litany of people that included the mayor, police chief, city council, and the POC itself.
Some of them took to the microphone and quoted line and verse from the scathing Department of Justice report released earlier in the day.
Amalia Montoya said she’d like to see all police officers mandated to use lapel cameras for all calls and that the video be made available to the public quickly. She called the mayor and police chief “morally inept.”
Lora Lucero expressed concern about the increasing “militarization of the police,” noting their “gear and attitude resembles a military unit more than a police force.”
Barbara Grothus noted that the millions of dollars the city will pay for settling police shooting cases could have been used to fund a mental health facility, something that would have benefited many of the shooting victims.
The POC has for too long “relied on the excuse that they have no authority,” said University of New Mexico graduate student Desi Brown, a frequent attendee at POC meetings. He challenged them to stand en masse before the Albuquerque City Council and demand that the rules and regulations that reduce them to no more than “offering resolutions and recommendations” be changed so they in turn can demand accountability from others — including the independent review officer who is attached to the POC and regularly “refuses to answer questions,” he said.
“Until they demand change, they’re useless.”