Around 60 residents held signs and photos of loved ones killed by Albuquerque police last night in southwest Albuquerque. The gathering, organized by the U.S. Department of Justice, was held to give civilians the chance to speak with federal investigators about possible police misconduct that may have gone unreported.
The interviews are part of an ongoing Civil Rights investigation into the Albuquerque Police Department launched last fall. The Department of Justice is examining what appears to be a spike in officer-related shootings. From 2005 to 2010, Albuquerque Police were involved in 27 officer-related shootings. From 2010 to 2012, the number jumped to 25 shootings and 17 deaths.
Civil Rights activist Dennis Montoya says he hopes the investigation will challenge what he calls a culture of police bullying and fear.
“One good thing that is happening is greater community involvement,” says Montoya. “At least for the time being people are putting aside their fears and coming forward a lot of people showed up at the community meeting on Monday and a lot of people showed up this evening and we hope this trend continues.”
This is the second meeting held by the Department of Justice in a week, and two more meetings will be held in March in the hopes that more citizens will attend and be vocal.