ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Thursday’s long-awaited announcement from the Department of Justice on it’s findings regarding the Albuquerque Police Department, quickly went viral.
The conversation spread beyond Albuquerque on-air and online, even getting national media attention.
“We are here today to announce our findings and conclusions,” said Damon Martinez, acting U.S. Attorney for New Mexico. The feds accused APD of “unreasonable deadly force.”
National correspondents were sent to cover the story, as APD also made headlines in the New York and L.A. Times.
The scathing report released in a packed room in Albuquerque, sparked a national discussion. “It is a very strong current event, it’s something that everybody has been so passionate about,” said Kristelle Siarza, an online account executive for the Garrity Public Relations Group.
Siarza monitored online trends during Thursday’s press conference. “That’s why it’s so fascinating for anybody to engage themselves into the #DOJAPD hashtag, which went viral this morning,” explained Siarza.
Siarza found that the hashtag, #DOJAPD went from reaching 30,000 potential views, to more than 5 million by 4 o’clock.
The biggest peak online happened right after the presser. Trending buzzwords online include “APD,” “excessive,” “force,” and “findings.”
And one of the most shared links online, was to the full DOJ report.
Twitter posts covered a wide range of reactions. One person said, “the only thing that surprises me is how much more excessive use of force was going on that didn’t make headlines.”
Critics and supporters have been vocal about APD, but as for Thursday’s conversation, “the general sentiment of it was very neutral, it wasn’t quite multiple messages of people angry or upset, it was more people fact-sharing, which is crucial to adding transparency to the situation,” explained Siarza.
Most people followed the discussion from mobile devices, while the other half followed along from a desktop.
Social media experts hope APD is listening.
“The city of Albuquerque, the Albuquerque Police Department, really need to take a serious look at how do we re-engage the public conversation,” explained Tom Garrity, President of the Garrity Public Relations Group. “And I think now that the Department of Justice report is out, there’s great opportunity for the city of Albuquerque to engage the public directly…to rebuild the trust.”