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Protesters gather at Roosevelt Park against APD, city leadership

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — [photoshelter-gallery g_id=”G0000vf16VFRDTkI” g_name=”06-21-2014-APD-protest” width=”600″ f_fullscreen=”t” bgtrans=”t” pho_credit=”iptc” twoup=”f” f_bbar=”t” f_bbarbig=”f” fsvis=”f” f_show_caption=”t” crop=”f” f_enable_embed_btn=”t” f_htmllinks=”t” f_l=”t” f_send_to_friend_btn=”f” f_show_slidenum=”t” f_topbar=”f” f_show_watermark=”t” img_title=”casc” linkdest=”c” trans=”xfade” target=”_self” tbs=”5000″ f_link=”t” f_smooth=”f” f_mtrx=”t” f_ap=”t” f_up=”f” height=”400″ btype=”old” bcolor=”#CCCCCC” ]
Hundreds of protesters peacefully marched down Central Avenue on a hot Saturday afternoon to continue their outcry against the Albuquerque Police Department and city leadership about what they say is their complacency in allowing excessive force and police brutality.

The protest began and ended at Roosevelt Park near Coal and Spruce SE, harkening back to social-justice riots led by the Black Berets that occurred there in the early 1970s. The march stretched 20-people wide, taking more than a minute to pass as protesters walked and chanted about officer-involved shootings and officers’ failures to capture citizen encounters on their department-issued lapel cameras.

“They say ‘justified’! We say ‘homicide’!” the protesters shouted in the march that started at Roosevelt Park, headed north to Central and east to Girard before doubling back along Silver Avenue.

Albuquerque police have shot and killed 26 people since 2010. The U.S. Department of Justice in April found that APD has a pattern of excessive, unreasonable use of deadly and less-lethal force against residents.

Protesters also spoke out against the District Attorney’s Office for its failure to prosecute any of the officers involved in the shootings — despite tens of millions of dollars paid out in damages in civil lawsuits often for the same shootings — and for its failure to indict the neighbor involved in the shooting death of Jonathan Mitchell. Mitchell is an African-American man who was shot and killed by a neighbor before midnight on March 19, 2013, outside Mitchell’s West Side home.

Protesters, angry about the Albuquerque Police Department's officer-involved shootings, march up Sycamore Street from Roosevelt Park to Central Avenue today. The group made its way back to the park, where a rally was held. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

Protesters, angry about the Albuquerque Police Department’s officer-involved shootings, march up Sycamore Street from Roosevelt Park to Central Avenue today. The group made its way back to the park, where a rally was held. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

Speakers at a rally included a retired 24-year APD veteran, Samson Costales, who blasted what he said was the department’s culture of harassing officers who didn’t shoot at citizens, and longtime Albuquerque activists who said the police department problems have been ongoing for decades.

When the protesters returned from the march, organizers held a “die-in” with participants holding fake tombstones for the 26 people fatally shot by Albuquerque police, Mitchell and Kendal Carroll, who was shot and killed by State Police at a SWAT situation involving both State Police and APD.

The 28 protesters fell softly to the ground during the demonstration, and most of the rest of the protesters followed suit.

Protesters then held a moment of silence for the “victims of APD,” followed by a “people’s trial” of APD Chief Gorden Eden.

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