ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – More than 20 protestors pushed their way past security to deliver letters to Mayor R.J. Berry around 3 p.m. Monday afternoon, bashing his handling of the APD crisis.
In the end, 13 of those protesters left in handcuffs.
By all accounts, the protesters were ready to be arrested.
A group of activists had been planning this for a few weeks.
One woman chained herself to a building column, while some sat silently and others chanted. Several were holding signs saying “APD is guilty.” Others referenced the killing of homeless man James Boyd in the foothills by APD.
When city officials told them they would not be seeing the mayor, they read their letters anyway.
“Dear Mayor Berry: I’m writing to express my concern about the role of the police in the community,” one protester read.
“APD has a tradition that nurtures a culture of aggressive policing and expectations of impunity,” said another protester, as he read from his letter.
They announced they were not going to leave the Mayor’s office until they talked to him or until police forced them out. That’s when they were arrested and booked into MDC.
City Council officials blamed protestors for the cancellation of Monday night’s City Council meeting.
Ultimately, the protestors were the only voices heard.
“Not only has Mayor Berry refused to use the authority of his political office to take any positive action to address the pattern of police violence, he has also refused to meet and speak with the community at every turn,” said Chris Banks, representing Community Coalition.
In a written statement following Monday’s protest and meeting cancellation, APD chief Gordon Eden said:
“We had to pull officers off the streets to handle this incident–officers who should have been working their regular assignments, answering calls for service.”
For a group wanting so desperately to talk to the Mayor, they didn’t time it quite right.
Berry is in New York, for a mayors’ conference.
Twelve of the 13 were arrested for trespassing,unlawful assembly and interfering with a public official or staff — all misdemeanors.
The other, UNM Professor David Correria, was booked for felony battery on a police officer.
City officials say he pushed an officer as he made his way past the door.