Updates on the #APDProtest 13 and more

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)

2 responses to “Updates on the #APDProtest 13 and more

  1. This is a stellar post, wendydavis, and while for family reasons I cannot actively participate in this ongoing expansion of protest, my heart is most certainly with the parents and others who have suffered from what can only be described as an epidemic of ebola type dimensions. It may not be unique to Albuquerque, but certainly the seeds of destruction germinated there, and it begins with our assaulted youth. Just a very general description of what happens:

    Out of work, disenfranchised, abysmally educated, the dregs of society are lower income youths in Albuquerque today, as they have been since the early ’90s when I had the misfortune of moving there with my young sons. Public education was already a disgraceful amalgam of gigantic school complexes with law enforcement punitive overtones, the bad side of drug culture plus gangs circled the drain, and single parents who needed to work helplessly left their latchkey kids vulnerable to all of the above.

    It wasn’t particularly violent as far as shootings or confrontations with cops went – more the graffiti and nighttime underground corruption of values, petty thievery, delinquent older kids preying on the younger more vunerable, drugged out adults doing even worse depravity – that sort of thing. I moved away as soon as I could manage it.

    What happens is, (and it was happening then,) the youth get their minds made psychotic by that culture in peer pressure defiance of aggressive law presence in the crowded schools, and then in comes the medical “treatment”, which in our time was the neurotoxic drugs still very much unknown as to the irreversible damage they do to the brain. (Treat drugs with drugs – what could be wrong with that? After all, we treat war with war, fight fire with fire…) Terrible, terrible damage has been done, and parents all unknowing, wanting to help their kids, sadly making it all worse for them.

    Now the fruits of this very bad policy are coming home to roost in Albuquerque and no doubt other larger metropolis areas. The kids have been wrecked. So, it’s like what do you do with GM crops nobody wants?

    Sweep it all under the rug as quickly and quietly as possible.

  2. i thought a day might give me a better idea how to respond to this, juliania, but it hasn’t. you have indeed provided a very dystopic narrative of abq youth, and i can even agree with a lot of it, but not all. no matter.

    but really what’s been going on with the 26 murders by the apd since 2010 seems to bear little correlation with your narrative, at least as far as i read it. it’s NOT as though most of these folks were acting out against police authority, i think, but had long been determined to be expendable by the neo-colonizing PTB, just echoing the first colonial class. yes, a few were homeless, and mentally ill, but certainly not a majority, i think. but most were brown-skinned and poor, seen more as animals to dispatch.

    i did get to hear most of the radio broadcast from santa fe on which david correia and bill bradley (iirc) were interviewed, and one shocking thing david said should be trumpeted widely, and that was one councilman’s saying that his constituents (apparently an affluent district) really didn’t give a shite about the killings. and that, in a nutshell, is exactly what’s wrong in this nation in so many different directions. lack of empathy for our fellows, no sense of inter-connectedness, .the inherent value of each life, and the growing cavalier disregard for the general welfare that ensues.

    i’ll have to say that i know people who’s faulty neuro or chemical wiring was handed to them genetically, and some have had a hell of a time finding the right drugs that put their mental health diseases at least in abeyance, but many could not be out of mental hospitals without them, or so they say, and i tend to believe them. but of course society should be designed to aid them and comfort them, not throw them away as happens widely, much as returning war vets have been.

    but please let me know if i’ve taken your comments the wrong way. and i know you wish you could be there with them, as do i and mr. wd. as to abq being the epicenter, i think not really, but it is seen as ground zero now precisely because of the dedication of these good citizens. even the guardian posted about the recent arrests at the sit-in of mayor berry’s office. :)

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