Privacy SOS

Albuquerque police department faces protests, federal monitoring after horrific shooting of unarmed man

The Albuquerque, New Mexico police department has one of the highest per-capita police shooting rates in the nation. In recent months, long simmering outrage about police violence erupted, after the department released a video showing officers shoot and kill an unarmed man who was sleeping in the mountains. The video, shown in the Democracy Now! clip embedded above, is incredibly disturbing. It depicts officers approach James Boyd, a homeless man, shoot him in the back, and then fire beanbag rounds at and sick a dog on him while he lay bleeding out, pleading for help.

After the police chief told the public he thought the shooting was justified, the FBI announced it would investigate the killing. Yesterday, the Republican mayor of Albuquerque published a letter he wrote to the Department of Justice, asking for an expedited investigation, and to help him draft a monitoring proposal that would put the police department under federal observation. According to local activists, it's the first time the mayor has publicly spoken out against a police force that has shot 37 people since 2010, killing 23 of them.

Protests erupted this past weekend in response to Boyd's killing. Demonstrators took to the streets, while computer activists associated with the loosely-organized Anonymous performed a sustained DDOS attack on the police department's website, taking it down for some time between Saturday night and Sunday. The Albuquerque police department came out in full force to repel demonstrators. Below are some of the photographs protesters and journalists posted on Twitter from the march. The militarization of police continues apace.

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.