ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Angry protesters took over an Albuquerque City Council meeting Monday night, calling for immediate change at APD, the ousting of both Albuquerque’s Police Chief and Mayor and more.
The meeting got out of control quickly about an hour after it started. Things got so chaotic and unruly that Chief Gorden Eden left and city councilors canceled the meeting.
The scene was unlike anything many people have seen in recent memory inside the council chambers. One person even tried to serve APD Chief Gorden Eden with a warrant for his arrest.
“We have no control of this meeting! So if this is your meeting, go ahead,” said Albuquerque City Council President Ken Sanchez.
The meeting started like any other, but quickly deteriorated just after 6 p.m. during public comment. That’s when protesters took complete control, pushing many councilors to abandon their seats and leaving citizens to sit in their seats.
Through several chants and “motions” of government, protesters made it clear they were upset with APD and city council “inaction,” demanding immediate change.
Protesters chanted phrases including “fire the damn Chief,” and “fire Mayor Berry.”
The outburst started when protester David Corriea, an assistant professor at UNM, took the podium during public comment. Corriea immediately directed his words towards Chief Gorden Eden.
“We now serve a people’s warrant for arrest on Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden! He is charged with accessory!” shouted Corriea as the group tossed arrest warrants in the air.
One woman even tried to hand Eden a warrant for his arrest. However, Eden got up and left without acknowledging the woman.
“We’re not leaving this podium, I am not leaving this podium!” Corriea continued to shout at Eden as he left the room.
Protesters kept their promise, not leaving the podium, and taking over when councilors tried to a take a break.
“We will be back in five minutes!” announced Councilor Sanchez.
Councilors took that break for about ten minutes, but protesters kept going.
“Quit sitting on your hands!” shouted one woman with a bullhorn.
Some councilors eventually returned to the chambers and Council President Ken Sanchez tried to defuse the situation.
“I would prefer to give people an opportunity to speak, we are here to listen to your concerns. Please respect the chambers,” said Sanchez.
But the plea was useless as Sanchez was nearly drowned out by protesters shouting.
“We have no control of this meeting, this meeting is official adjourned,” said Sanchez.
Councilors left, clearly upset, unable to get anything done to fix the troubled police department.
“They’ve got some serious problems that need to be addressed, but we can’t address them by not conducting city business,” said Sanchez.
It took protesters about a half-hour to clear out of city council chambers after the meeting was called off. No one was arrested. Councilors were supposed to talk about proposals to take away the mayor’s power to hire a police chief. They’re now hoping to do that in a special meeting on Thursday.
Chief Gorden Eden sent out a statement Monday night:
“We understand there are those in our community who have expressed concerns about APD issues related to the Department of Justice report. We are working hard to make proactive improvements now and in conjunction with DOJ recommendations. While we welcome constructive discussions, we do not believe disruption of tonight’s city council meeting was a productive way to meet those goals.” –Chief Gorden Eden