The Most Violent Police Force in U.S.: Albuquerque, New Mexico
The most violent police force in the country isn’t in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles. It patrols Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“There’s no accountability here. There’s no justice. There’s no respect,” resident Mike Gomez told AlterNet. “There’s no humanity here. There’s nothing. It’s so disgusting that they get away with it.” Gomez has reason to be angry at the police department. An off-duty officer shot and killed his son, Alan, who was holding nothing more than a spoon at the time.
Afterwards, the Albuquerque Police Officers Association paid Sean Wallace, the officer who killed Alan Gomez, $500 and provided him with three days off work. “Other cops who shot local residents have received checks ranging from $300 to $1,000, along with several days of leave—payouts the police union calls ‘decompression money,’” Max Blumenthal wrote at AlterNet.
Alan Gomez is one of 27 people killed by Albuquerque police in just four years. Forty more have been wounded in that period.
“In a city of just over 540,000, the body count is staggering. Indeed, the rate of officer-involved shootings by Albuquerque police is eight times that of the NYPD and two times higher than in Chicago, a megalopolis with one of the steepest levels of violent crime in the country,” according to Blumenthal.
One of the department’s most notorious killings was captured on video. James Boyd, a homeless man who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was shot in the back by Albuquerque police officers on March 16 as he was gathering his belongings to leave his campsite.
The rash of police shootings has forced the city to pay $26 million to settle lawsuits filed by families of those killed.
The U.S. Department of Justice investigated the department earlier this year and found (pdf) the “Albuquerque police department engages in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional use of deadly force.” The report also noted the department has “shot and killed civilians who did not pose an imminent threat of serious bodily harm or death to the officers or others.”
To Learn More:
Inside the Twisted Police Department That Kills Unarmed Citizens at the Highest Rate in the Country (by Max Blumenthal, AlterNet)
Letter to Richard Berry (U.S. Department of Justice) (pdf)
United States v. City of Albuquerque (U.S. District Court, New Mexico) (pdf)
Albuquerque's Shoot-First Police Finally Begin Facing Questions (by K. Annabelle Smith, Esquire)
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