Rioters hurled rocks at police officers and their horses, set small fires, spilled trash, damaged police cars and attacked fellow citizens.
In response, police in riot gear sprayed stinging chemical agents, used their batons, detained dozens and called for reinforcements to quell the bedlam outside Donald Trump’s rally Tuesday night.
The Albuquerque Police Department described the incident as a riot and said officers were injured when people threw rocks and other projectiles at them and their horses. Every officer on scene reported getting hit with something, said APD spokeswoman Celina Espinoza said.
Six officers suffered more serious injuries when they were hit with fist-size rocks. All police officers were treated at the scene, she said. All of the police horses are OK.
One State Police officer was struck with a broom or stick.
“They were continuously pelted with rocks all night, but there were only minor injuries,” said New Mexico State Police Sgt. Chad Pierce, a spokesman for the agency.
He said State Police officers reported rescuing two people from an unruly mob.
Four people were taken to a hospital for falls, medical episodes and heat issues. No one was hospitalized because of police force, Espinoza said.
Despite the protests outside Trump’s rally unraveling into madness, things appeared back to normal in Downtown Albuquerque on Wednesday. Few arrests were made, and the entire cost of the events – including public and private property damage, and police, fire and dispatch overtime – was estimated at $50,000.
A volatile mix of about 1,000 protesters outside a Trump rally with 8,000 people in the convention center led Albuquerque to become a national breaking news story as mayhem erupted in the streets. The protesters, some waving Mexican flags, mainly targeted Trump’s comments about immigration and Mexico, as well as his pledge to build a border wall.
Pierce said State Police originally sent 21 officers to the Downtown area about 2 p.m. to help Albuquerque police maintain order and direct traffic outside Trump’s campaign appearance.
But as the situation turned into a free-for-all, reinforcements were called. By 8 p.m., 30 to 40 additional State Police officers from surrounding areas were assisting Albuquerque police. They stayed on scene until about 12:30 a.m.
There were also Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputies and Rio Rancho police officers on scene, in addition to 200 Albuquerque police officers, Espinoza said.
To control the riot, some officers were on horseback and others wore riot gear and carried batons. They formed lines across the streets and marched toward protesters to get them to disperse.
The officers shot smoke and pepper spray at protesters. In one instance captured on national television, an officer doused a woman with pepper spray who was at the back of a pack of protesters slowly walking away from officers in riot gear, and another officer knocked her to the ground with a baton. She was pulled away and had water poured into her eyes by fellow protesters.
In some cases, rioters jumped onto police cars and caused damage. Pierce said two marked State Police police units were damaged. One of the units had a window smashed.
Protesters caused $10,000 in damage at the convention center, breaking eight windows and a glass door.
The Imperial Building, an anticipated mixed-use building coming to the Downtown area, was tagged with spray paint and had a window broken.
Only one man, Jose Cuevas, 19, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for the riot outside Trump’s rally.
Espinoza said additional arrests may be pending and dozens of people were detained and escorted from the area.
The situation may have been worse, she said. Although a riot was underway when the Trump rally ended, police kept Trump supporters inside for a while and led them out through a second-floor breezeway.
“We didn’t want there to be any face-to-face confrontation,” she said.
There was a confrontation between protesters and supporters as people were heading into the rally. People both for and against Trump yelled insults at each other.
In addition to the fracas outside, dozens of Trump protesters caused disruptions inside his rally.
Tylina Hardy, 30, was dragged from the rally and spent the night in jail on misdemeanor charges, and two minors were issued citations and released to their parents.
Hardy was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting, evading or obstructing an officer. She said she was one of about a dozen people who presented themselves as supporters to get into the rally with the goal of causing a disturbance.
“My goal was just to let (Trump) know that hateful rhetoric is not welcome in Albuquerque and New Mexico,” Hardy said in an interview Wednesday morning shortly after her release.
As Trump was speaking, Hardy started screaming, “Stop the hate, stop the hate, stop the hate.” She said nearby Trump supporters started grabbing her and pulling her hair before authorities arrived and pulled her from the crowd.
“I was wrangled down and definitely scuffed up, I’ve got a good-size bruise,” she said. “Granted, I was fighting to be seen and not being extremely cooperative.”
Hardy said she hopes to be sentenced to community service.
After being pulled from the convention center floor, she said, things changed once she got into hallway. She described her arresting officers as jovial and said they spent a couple hours “palling around” until she was booked into jail.