ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Albuquerque City Council cleared its agenda Monday evening, inviting the public to come down and air out their feelings about the Albuquerque Police Department and hundreds of people took councilors up on their offer.
While a handful of people spoke in support for APD, the overwhelming majority had some harsh words for the department in what ended up being a five-hour meeting.
With a casket resting in front of Albuquerque City Councilors and Chief Gorden Eden sitting nearby, it was clear that the packed meeting could boil over emotionally.
“This city and APD are supposed to work for their citizens and it is far time that you listen to us and show us some respect,” said one woman during public comment.
More than 200 people packed the room as the meeting started, the first time councilors have met since Albuquerque Police released the footage of an officer involved shooting in the foothills which resulted in the death of James Boyd.
“I take my hat off to you good officers, but to you dirty officers out there, you make the department look bad!” said John Lujan, who also offered public comment.
“This has to stop, it cannot go on any longer,” said another woman during public comment.
City leaders didn’t escape critics either.
“The problem is with APD’s corrupt leadership and it begins in the mayor’s office,” said another man.
“Blame yourselves,” Nicole Moreland-Torres said to city councilors.
More than 115 people signed up to speak, most unhappy with the city.
“This habitual problem has not been addressed,” said Arnold Studevan.
While outnumbered, there was still vocal support for APD.
“I, my friends, family, have been pulled over by APD officers and guess what we’re still alive no injuries, no shootings, nothing,” said another man.
Many APD supporters were interrupted and drowned out by booing from fellow audience members.
Amongst dozens of suggestions, one of the biggest demands on the night called for extreme DOJ oversight.
“We demand that that the United States Department of Justice completely take over operations and leadership of the Albuquerque Police Department,” said Ralph Arellanes, director of New Mexico LULAC.
Councilors didn’t take any action but say they heard voices loud and clear.
“Believe me, we are listening,” said Councilor Diane Gibson.
APD Chief Gorden Eden sat through the entire five hour meeting Monday, but declined to comment to KRQE News 13.
City councilors were expecting such a big crowd Monday that they even set up TV’s outside of the council chambers on the Civic Plaza grounds where dozens of people watched.