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Businesses boost reward pool for rioters

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque’s business community weighed in Friday on the violence that erupted Downtown amid Tuesday’s anti-Donald Trump protest.

Business leaders thanked police for doing what they could to protect lives and property, and they chipped in extra reward money for people with information leading to the arrest of rioters who committed acts of violence.

Protesters ripped out landscaping, left graffiti and broke windows at the new Imperial Building this week. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Protesters ripped out landscaping, left graffiti and broke windows at the new Imperial Building this week. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

“It’s unfortunate that the disgusting actions of the few during the Trump rally in Downtown Albuquerque on Tuesday have overshadowed the beauty of this state and its people; now those actions are playing out on a national stage,” said Terri Cole, president and CEO of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce.

The city, in any case, now has about $11,500 available for tipsters who have information about those involved in the violence.

Albuquerque police are trying to identify about 30 people who threw rocks, broke windows or engaged in other violence.

They are offering rewards of up to $1,000 for each person who can provide information leading to arrests and convictions.

The pot of money swelled Friday with $500 donations each from Geltmore LLC, co-developer of the new Downtown grocery store; Jaynes Corp., a construction company; and Dekker/Perich/Sabatini, an architecture firm.

Mayor Richard Berry and David Silverman of Geltmore LLC, co-owner of the new Imperial Building, say police helped keep property damage to a minimum during Tuesday’s protest. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Mayor Richard Berry and David Silverman of Geltmore LLC, co-owner of the new Imperial Building, say police helped keep property damage to a minimum during Tuesday’s protest. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

David Silverman of Geltmore said Friday that his company’s project – the Imperial Building, a mix of apartments, retail and a grocery store – had ripped-out landscaping, broken storefront windows and graffiti after Tuesday’s protest.

“It’s pretty disheartening,” he said.

Other businesses Downtown also withstood damage, he said, but he thanked law enforcement officers for their work as the protest spun into a riot.

“It could have been a lot worse,” Silverman said.

It may cost about $2,000 to order new materials for repairs. People are already living in the Imperial Building’s 74 apartments, though the grocery store isn’t set to open until late July.

The development is considered a key to Downtown revitalization.

“Turning a political assembly into the scene of a riot in our Downtown area is a setback to everyone working on this effort,” Silverman said.

Mayor Richard Berry said only a “few” people set out to do violence Thursday.

“This is not a reflection on Downtown,” Berry said.

He thanked both the protesters and the Trump supporters who remained peaceful.

Earlier this week, he estimated that about 1,000 people turned out to protest Trump’s rally inside the Convention Center. About 30 of them threw rocks or engaged in other violence, he said.

The rally itself drew about 8,000 people.

To donate or offer tips, call 242-COPS.

Cole said the chamber is encouraging businesses to donate to the reward pot.

“The rioting that happened Tuesday night in Downtown Albuquerque was not a demonstration of free speech,” she said. “It was an excuse for cowardice actions and mayhem positioned under the guise of political freedom; these actions crossed the line. The people of New Mexico deserve to be outraged. As a community, we’re better than this.”

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