PINAC Visits Site of one of Many Controversial Police Shootings in Albuquerque


As an introduction to my work here in Albuquerque the past two weeks I’d like to direct PINAC readers to the following resources.

I highly recommend reading the history of what has been happening in Albuquerque since 2010 – when the Department of Justice began investigating the patterns of police abuses – until its recent issuance of a scathing report concluding that the APD has a history and pattern of excessive use of force and of deadly force – and concluded that more than half of the 20 deadly shootings they investigated between 2009 and 2012 were unjustified and unconstitutional (with many more since – but the DoJ has passed several of the more recent incidents to the FBI for potential federal prosecution – and did not comment in any detail, therefore, on these more recent shootings).  

You’ll be able to look back to this as a guide to put into context some of the stories I am going to be sharing with you and some of the people I am going  to be introducing you to in the upcoming posts.

Making matters worse it took the James Boyd murder (video below) by police for “unlawful camping” this March to expedite the DoJ’s findings being released.  Yet despite the extreme lengths the DoJ went to criticize the Albuquerque department in the weeks that followed there have been four more fatal shootings that have been deemed highly questionable.

I will have more in upcoming reports from here on the ground in Albuquerque.  But I encourage readers to familiar themselves with the links above to put what I have to present in perspective and context.  There is a national problem but Albuquerque is an extreme outlier and it has taken the efforts of the victim’s families, beginning in 2010, and slowly joined by their neighbors over the years, to bring this issue to a boiling point.  Why so little has been done so far is a serious question that I have been looking into as I have met the families of these victims, been embraced by the community, and have been offering my assistance helping them in their organizational efforts – particularly in terms of taking advantage of NM’s public records laws.

What is going to happen next – and will it be sufficient to solve this problem – is another question.  After last week’s alleged “citizen takeover” (it was actually first “abandoned” – without following the rules – by the Council) of City Council and the overreactions by the Council at the meeting reconvened a few days later – where they attempted to deny opportunities for the families and their supporters to speak and forcefully removed the family members who chose to “speak” through their silence, a clearly protected first amendment “speech-act,” – it appeared that the situation was spiraling out of control.

Yet behind the scenes I have been getting signals that within the Albuquerque City Government there is growing dissension – and a number of officials are starting to see that the problem does not lie solely within the police department but in the dysfunctional nature of the City’s government as  a whole.  This has given some optimism to those who have been fighting this battle for years – even decades – that the increased national attention and public scrutiny of the past weeks may have been enough of a straw to “break the camel’s back.”

We will certainly see this Monday, at the next City Council meeting, if there is any visible change on the Council.  I will be adding further reports as the weekend and into my stay through midway next week.  But I encourage all to view the above links to become familiar with a major problem of national importance.

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Public Records Again Expose Albuquerque Police Misconduct


  • nosepicker

    The police were entirely wrong to shoot and kill this man. With that being said, as a homeowner and a father with 3 kids, there is no way I would want a homeless man living that close to my house.

    • inquisitor

      Camping is a recreational activity. He did not look to be recreating.
      I would question if he was in violation.
      It seems more likely that this guy was a squatter.
      There may be one billion squatters on the planet, or one in every seven people.
      Some may do it simply as a lifestyle choice or even as a political statement.
      He may have recently lost his job due to the current economy and had a bank fraudulently foreclose on his home as is so rampant these days.
      He may have needed a month or two, or three to clear his head and engage a new plan, but just did not want to accept welfare or welfare housing assistance. Maybe he just wanted to enjoy the outdoors for a while and live primitive.
      Maybe he lived a good lifestyle and just wanted to know what it was really like, psychologically, to be homeless. I did that for six months.
      He even could have been working a local job, financial means and a bank account.
      We are all descended from squatters.
      But perhaps some feel a man or citizen without a house or a home is less of a man or citizen or is presumed guilty until proven innocent.
      Was Jesus homeless?

      I would have more concern for my and my family’s safety regarding the military-style police patrol’s firing and ricocheting of rounds.

      I wonder if two officers had approached him one day when he had walked down the hill at the local food store where he shops and had engaged him in a friendly conversation about what he is doing up there in the hills and why, that maybe there would have been a different outcome. They could determine and provide him with information about welfare housing or charitable accommodations in the immediate area or inform him he was in violation and cite him.
      But instead he got the local grown kid cowboys playing Delta force.
      No wonder the guy pulled a knife when he saw that assault force coming up the hill at him…for…camping.
      The more militarized these psychopath police become the less they will apply logic and think rationally in reaction to simple situations that could have been addressed humanely and in service to their community.
      Surprised the officer didn’t grab the corpse by the ears and pose for the camera like a big game hunter and post it on facebook so his buddies could reminisce about how it was back in Fallujah.

      “Yep. Bagged me another one of those domestic camping terrorists. Bin Laden camped in caves. Can’t let them campers live for reasons of national security and public safety. Remember what they did with simple boxcutters? And look, he has a beard…just like Bin Laden. Damn homeless camping scum…serves you right.”

      • Pete

        Just FYI. Camping is not allowed in the city limits.

        • Misery

          And the penalty for camping without a permit is… execution?

          • inquisitor

            Apparently these officers got the call about a camper and geared up a team and sent them out to neutralize the threat. Could have made it really easy on themselves and just picked him off with a sniper, but then you don’t get to see the blood…no fun there.

        • inquisitor

          I believe I was considering and speaking in the context that the guy was not camping because camping is a recreational activity. He looked not to be recreating, but actually squatting or living.

          • Jack

            Yes he had mental issues and it was not some sort of lifestyle choice or a political statement. You can call it squatting, fact is he had been getting beat up downtown on a pretty regular basis. I met some people that knew him from the shelter. He was off the trail, not trying to live in that spot but to get some sleep. Had the dick neighbors just ignored him for a night or two he would have moved on. After they shot him one officer shouted “booya”. This is not an issue of one man in Abq, this is an epidemic with the poorly trained, trigger happy military personnel called “police”. Abq has had more people killed by the police since 2010 than NY,, and NY has 16 times the population.

        • saliarena

          He was outside of city limits and technically outside APD jurisdiction. He was in Open Space and NOT in someones “back yard” as others seem to assume. He was viewable from someones backyard, but so is the entire mountain range.

    • saliarena

      He was in Open Space and NOT in someones “back yard”. He was viewable from someones backyard, but so is the entire mountain range, all the wild animals that come up to peoples houses, and everyone else that goes through there while hiking, mountain biking, etc.

  • anonymous user

    i just saw the video of the homeless man being Shot to death. OMG… this is my opinion…. I think that Those pigs should be in Prison sitting on death row for Pre Meditated Murder….

    • saliarena

      it was absolutely premeditated. those shots were not fired in the heat of the moment with “no time to think” they had been there for a few hours just standing there pointing guns at this guy who was just minding his own business. I’ve never seen them confront and assault the homeless squatters with a swat team when they’re asleep in a park under a tree.
      What exactly was the reason and agenda other than to execute him?

      If that wasn’t the agenda, then two officers with weapons holstered telling him to leave, then walking away should have been sufficient. Then they could have checked back the next day to make sure he left and given him a warning with a stern threat of incarceration if he was still there. There is no law that gives them the right to go out of their jurisdiction and kidnap someone off public land by force, when they have committed no crime and weren’t being violent to other citizens. They had no right. All they have the right to do is assist in helping search and rescue when someone is hurt or lost out in the wilderness.

      • inquisitor

        It was a trophy kill to satisfy bloodlust, clearly.

  • Consult Hardesty

    Portland received DoJ Findings in 2012. A hasty, ill-prepared proposed Settlement Agreement, which neither the DoJ nor City will amend, has yet to find acceptance by a Federal court. If it would help your cause to find out all the ways The People have been stymied while demanding true police accountability, we may be able to help. Here’s a draft model of reform we’re floating:

  • 1shot1kill

    Albuquerque is now referred to as KEVLAR Country.

  • Jim Holmes

    “Unjustified and Unconstitutional” – why don’t they prosecute for Murder? Typical weasel words with a failure to act by going after the murderers.

  • theaton

    Yippie, I visited the site where James Boyd was murdered by APD. I’ve now solved all ABQ problems.

    • Charlie Grapski

      No – that cannot solve the problems. But it can begin to give an understanding of both the particular issue and the broader problems.