Protesters demand justice in Albuquerque police shootings

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Protesters in Albuquerque, New Mexico said today they would not be silenced.

They packed City Hall last night, demanding justice after a series of deadly police shootings.

Police escorted several protestors from last night's Albuquerque City Council meeting. It's the second meeting this week disrupted by demonstrators.

Mike Gomez held up a photo of his 22-year-old son Alex. He was shot dead by Albuquerque police three years ago.

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Mike Gomez's son Alex was killed by Albuquerque police three years ago
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"They never admit accountability here in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from the police chief all the way up to the mayor," Gomez said.

A police video of the shooting of a homeless man in March sparked outrage here and beyond. Thirty-nine people have been shot by Albuquerque police since 2010. Twenty-five were killed.

In April, the Department of Justice found a pattern of excessive force, saying, "officers too frequently used deadly force against people who posed a minimal threat."

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Demonstrators were away
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Since that report, police have shot two more people. One of those people had a gun.

Sam Costales was an Albuquerque police office for 24 years. He retired in 2009.

"They're just more eager to make an arrest, more eager to react with violence," Costales said.

Is that the culture that he saw?

"Rather than think to themselves, 'What can I say to this person, to bring down the situation?' they think, 'What weapon can I reach for, to take this situation under control?'" he said.

Police Chief Gorden Eden was appointed by the mayor three months ago. CBS News wanted to talk to him for this story. He agreed, then cancelled.

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A police video of the shooting of a homeless man led to an outcry
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Mayor Richard Berry also declined to do an interview. But City Council President Ken Sanchez told CBS News that the city is working with the Department of Justice on reforms.

"We will reassure the public that the City Council will definitely do what is necessary where the public is comfortable, where the public will feel safe, and basically when the public is not afraid to call 911," he said.

The police told us today they are making changes and bringing in consultants. But activists are also disturbed because they say in the most recent shootings, police videos don't seem to show precisely what happened.


  • Anna Werner

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