David Correia says ‘make it 14’, as Silvio Dell’Angela, Air Force veteran and neighbor of Chris Hinz, who was killed by APD in 2010, was barred from attending future city council meetings for daring to hang an upside down American flag on the railing separating ‘guests’ from the council tables.
But still, the 13, including FDL’s good Barbara Grothus, had been arrested during a peaceful protest at the ABQ Mayor’s office on June 2, another in a series of brilliantly planned actions designed to stop the brutality and murders by the APD. Twenty-five citizens have been killed by cops since 2010. Read more background at the link, and the genesis of the protests here.
Watch this vicious June 4 KOAT hit piece by Nancy Laflin masquerading as ‘UNM Professor Correia Background’. Note Correia has been designated as ‘the leader’ of citizen protests in the banner.
“Albuquerque police say that the parent of the child could face child endangerment charges.” Wow, a total mouthpiece for the APD and city government, it seems.
Rob Perry is ABQ’s CAO who was in Mayor Berry’s office since the mayor just happened to be ‘out of town’ that evening. And yes, UNM, where Correia teaches, was indeed watching and waiting to see whether or not the felony assault on a police officer David had been arrested for…would result in a conviction. He has maintained his innocence since that night, and that there was citizen video that would prove it. But how kind of the Mayor’s office to provide KOAT with that closed circuit video from his lobby, eh? I It’s hard not to wonder when that was installed.
On June 6, La Jicarita, an online magazine of NM environmental politics Correia co-edits, published ‘In Defense of David Correia’ by Amy L. Brandzell, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Women’s Studies at the University of New Mexico. It is a short and clear statement of her solidarity with David and his comrades protest actions, but also his right to do so as a UNM professor. She calls media headlines that he might, or should, lose his job ‘salacious and scandalous’, misrepresenting the fact that his social activism are at odds with his profession. Good on her.
We may only know later how much other support he was given at UNM by students and faculty, but in any event Correia most gloriously announced on Monday:
Both Charlie Grapski at photographingpoliceisnotacrime.com (PINAC) and V.B. Price at NewMexicoMercury.com have shared background and indictments of the ongoing perfidy at play from city officials, including these bits from Price:
‘Thank goodness for modern technology. Last week’s peaceful sit-in at Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry’s City Hall office was bristling with cameras, cell phones, and Ipods. Probably most significant moments were caught on somebody’s video. The incident has become in many people’s minds an example of the corruption of authority and sinister aggression that’s infecting our city. It was an utterly unnecessary, overplayed, and grossly insulting use of force to haul 13 non-violent people off to jail for “trespassing” on public property and exercising their First Amendment Rights to freedom of speech and the “right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Speaking loudly and forcefully to disdainful politicians does not constitute an act of physical violence or “battery” against city officials.
Now it becomes clearer why the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged the Albuquerque Police Department with a sordid record of unconstitutional applications of both lethal and non-lethal force. Judging from official behavior at the sit-in last Monday, Mayor Berry and his people clearly are not followers of the rule of law as laid out in the U.S. Constitution.
What city officials did to the protesters was an unconstitutional disruption of a peaceful assembly. There was no danger to city property or city personnel. The protesters wanted to talk to the mayor. And they have a right to do that. He’s dodged them for a long time. The families of many of them have been grievously harmed by city employees with guns and badges. And they needed satisfaction. They wanted him to acknowledge the fathomless trauma their families have suffered. They wanted the buck to stop with him. But instead the powers that be arrested a grandmother, an artist, a professor, and ten more people — all upstanding nonviolent members of our community.
It seems like the last straw. Imprisoning people for exercising their First Amendment rights has, I’m sure, gotten the attention of every civil libertarian in the state. City Hall whacked a hornet’s nest. This is not going to go away.’
It was partially by way of introduction to this citizen video of events that has now gone viral. A friend in the area said that the DA is considering her next steps. Grapski’s PINAC link has the ‘sworn’ arrest complaint based on lies told by Officer C. Romero shown manhandling Correia. Pffft and Ptui on Romero, et.al.
And breaking news from yesterday, the city of Albuquerque has been ordered to pay $6 million in a wrongful death lawsuit against the APD. ‘Judge blasts officers in Torres shooting death’
‘Two Albuquerque Police Department detectives created the dangerous situation that led to the death in April 2011 of a mentally ill, 27-year-old man in his own backyard when they tried to confront him with a warrant over a road rage incident, a judge ruled Tuesday.
State District Judge Shannon Bacon, who rejected claims by the officers that they were acting in self-defense when they shot Christopher Torres, awarded more than $6 million to Stephen Torres, Christopher’s father and personal representative of the estate – exceeding the $4 million requested by attorneys for the Torres family.
However, the payout will be limited to $400,000, the maximum allowed under the state Tort Claims Act.
Although the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office reviewed the case and declined to file criminal charges against the officers, Bacon concluded in the civil case that Detectives Richard Hilger and Christopher Brown committed batteries on Christopher Torres – Hilger by beating him and Brown by shooting the unarmed Torres three times in the back at point-blank range.
Bacon also found the testimony by the officers, who were in jeans and sweatshirts that day, was “not credible.”
Here’s where it gets worse, if that’s possible:
‘Christopher Torres, who was being treated for schizophrenia, lived at home with his parents and worked part-time at a metal fabrication business. His illness sometimes led him to misperceive events, so the family had approached APD’s Crisis Intervention Team, asking that they be contacted if there were a need to speak to Christopher.
Hilger and Brown were not aware of that at the time they went to the Torres home – either to serve an arrest warrant or get a statement from him on an earlier road rage incident – when Christopher was home alone. When no one answered the doorbell, they jumped the fence into the backyard.
The ABQ Journal has more, including the fact that Judge Bacon said that ‘the officers had not made adequate inquiry into the facts underlying the warrant when they went to the home’.
And let us sing the praises of their good and courageous neighbor Christie Apodaca.
‘A month before the March trial began before Bacon, prosecutors cleared the officers while calling it “unfathomable” that APD had waited almost two years to question the sole eyewitness to the event, backyard neighbor Christie Apodaca.
Apodaca, who called 911 on the day of the incident because she believed her neighbor was being mugged by men in jeans and sweatshirts, testified on behalf of the family.’
From the courtroom on March 13 during the Torres’ civil suit, this heart-rending testimony:
#APD Protest account had announced a week of peaceful protests two days ago, and oh, my: here they were at 7:00 this morning to greet APD Chief Eden at the Hotel ABQ at an event he’s said to be attending:
Ah, you stellar warriors for justice and social equality: would that more of us could be with you there, not just in spirit and solidarity. Blessings on all of you!
This just in:
(cross-posted at My.firedoglake.com)