Albuquerque protests over police shootings in the city recently turned violent on Sunday as crowds of demonstrators squared off with riot police. A police shooting of a homeless man in the Sandia Mountains, for what protesters called “dubious reasons,” was the catalyst for the protests.
In the afternoon hours of an otherwise quiet weekend in Albuquerque, hundreds of angry protesters marched down a two mile stretch between downtown and the University of New Mexico. Placards with slogans such as “APD: Dressed to Kill” were prominent, as was abusive language hurled at law enforcement officers.
The Mayor of Albuquerque, Richard Berry, told reporters that the protests had started off peacefully, but then descended into what he described as “mayhem,” with the night hours of Sunday setting in.
Only about 50 demonstrators remained as the evening drew on, but those who did turned an otherwise relatively quiet demonstration into a violent one. They hurled rocks and other objects, spat at police officers, and defaced police stations.
One officer was injured during the Albuquerque protests and police responded with tear gas, and arrested a number of protesters. On top of that, the APD confirmed that its official police website had been hacked at 11 a.m on Sunday, even though no vital services were affected.
The idea for the protests originated when a video on YouTube was posted a week ago on behalf of the global hacking group – known only as “Anonymous” calling for the demo. and announcing plans to hack police and government websites.
It has been reported that since 2010, police in Albuquerque have been involved, in one way or another, in 37 shootings, 23 of which were fatal. The FBI have already started a criminal inquiry into the Sandia shooting, while the two officers involved are on leave.
Mayor Berry spoke shortly and briefly to the press saying: “We need answers as a community. I want answers as a mayor.”