ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – As they marched through the streets of downtown Albuquerque, protester chants reverberated off the building walls.
“Albuquerque P-D, you are guilty”
“Jail killer cops, jail killer cops”
“We are all James Boyd”
Frustration over the controversial shooting of homeless camper James Boyd in the Albuquerque Foothills and a string of other officer-involved shootings in recent years were the focus of a Tuesday evening rally calling for significant Albuquerque Police Department reform.
A number of groups organized the protest. It featured a coffin with the names and pictures of others shot by APD officers in the last several years and mock arrest warrants for Mayor R.J. Berry and Chief Gorden Eden.
The rally started at 1st and Central before protesters marched to APD’s main headquarters, filling the streets while the officers many were protesting against cleared the way ahead. Organizers estimate at least 1,000 people participated.
One of the protesters holding signs was retired APD officer Samson Costales, who says helmet camera video of Boyd’s shooting stunned him.
“The guy didn’t have to die,” Costales said. “The methods they used were not methods I’d ever been taught.”
The protest was also attended by a number of elected officials, including State Rep. Moe Maestas, D-Albuquerque, and City Councilor Rey Garduno.
Although the rally itself was loud and emotional, it was not violent.
APD reported no arrests stemming from the march. Some bike officers and patrol cars helped divert vehicle traffic away from the march, but officers themselves appeared to keep their distance from the protest.
KRQE News 13 spotted Kenneth Ellis, an outspoken critic of APD whose son was killed by officers in 2010, reaching into a patrol car to shake the hand of one of the officers positioned ahead of the march.
“[I] told him to please understand we’re not anti-police, that we’re here for the police department,” Ellis said. “We’re here to help our police get it right.”
Mayor Berry’s office only offered limited comment on the rally.
“We recognize their right to peacefully protest,” said Rob Perry, the city’s chief administrative officer.