Our View: Albuquerque must police the police

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Posted: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 11:30 pm | Updated: 11:37 pm, Tue Apr 8, 2014.

An extraordinary five-hour Albuquerque City Council meeting on Monday night makes clear how upset the people of New Mexico’s biggest city are after years of police violence.

Since 2010, 23 people have been shot and killed by Albuquerque Police Department officers. Only when James Boyd, a homeless camper, was shot last month as he appeared ready to surrender — a killing captured on video — did citizens demand answers. In short order, Albuquerque has seen protests, including one where officers dispersed tear gas into the crowd, and this week, witnessed a city council meeting with testimony from more than 100 people. Hundreds more showed up at the meeting, for a more-than-capacity crowd. On Thursday, the federal Justice Department will announce its findings after a months-long investigation into whether the department has a pattern of using excessive force. That investigation began before the shooting of Boyd.

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  • oscar michael posted at 1:08 pm on Thu, Apr 10, 2014.

    oscar mike Posts: 267

    Jesus did tell us to love our neighbors as ourselves, this is true. However the "brothers keeper" reference is used only once in the bible. That would be in genesis when an arrogant Cain answers the fathers question with a defiant question of his own. We are taught again and again to love one another, but we are not charged to be a "keeper".

  • Khal Spencer posted at 7:49 am on Thu, Apr 10, 2014.

    Khal Spencer Posts: 890

    I always find it humorous how folks can find a way to weasel out of the Gospels. Over and over, we are taught to be our brother's keeper (Good Samaritan is another example). In the case of mental illness, family is often as helpless as government under present law, i.e., you can't involuntarily commit someone, only a judge can do so and that never happened. A relative of mine felt that helplessness when one of his kids became a drug addict and avoided family.

    So a Kendra's law and the funds to back up treatment are a logical way to extend the hand of care to the sick or imprisoned. One does not ask government to do things just to get them done. One asks government to do things that are the proper role of government and not of anyone else. Judging someone's mental state, and requiring treatment so a person doesn't end up in Boyd's shoes, falls to government. That doesn't let family off the hook. It just means we empower the government to help where it can help rather than shooting someone.

    Good article here in the NCR. http://tinyurl.com/lonf8p8

  • oscar michael posted at 4:38 pm on Wed, Apr 9, 2014.

    oscar mike Posts: 267

    the interpretation is not mine. Read the entire chapter and find for yourself the entire context. I know its tempting to find and recite scripture to justify a behavior, but shouldnt it be the other way around?

  • Khal Spencer posted at 4:11 pm on Wed, Apr 9, 2014.

    Khal Spencer Posts: 890

    I am unconvinced of your interpretations.

  • Khal Spencer posted at 4:09 pm on Wed, Apr 9, 2014.

    Khal Spencer Posts: 890

    Sure would be nice to be a fly on the wall in the police dept right now and know what the average officer is thinking. Perhaps we need another Frank Serpico to come out of the woodwork and give us the unvarnished inside scoop.

  • Billiam Rodge posted at 2:58 pm on Wed, Apr 9, 2014.

    SleepawayChamp Posts: 6

    I wish people would quit hedging criticism leveled at police departments with that "most officers work hard" line, as though they're afraid of hurting someone's feelings. Yes, police work sucks. Yes, most of them are normal workaday people, but those facts do not, and should not matter when we're discussing things like the ongoing inexcusable bloodbath in Albuquerque.

    Splitting the discussion of police up into spheres of good apples vs bad apples detracts from the public's initiative to solve the very obvious problems going on with departments like APD. It almost cheapens the deaths of the victims. These are vast, institutional disasters we're dealing with, not individuals. A level, sane, competent officer should be the norm. That's what we deserve. If an officer can't handle the job without beating the snot out of people or shooting a mentally ill homeless man in the back, then they're not fit to work for us. With that in mind, it should be the responsibility of decent cops everywhere to keep their fellow officers in check. That means taking a stand, ignoring pressure to circle the wagons around problem officers and not holding rallies for themselves in light of the James Boyd snuff film that came out last month. If individual officers would get on the right side of the discussion on this subject and work with us in solving the problem THAT would be worthy of praise.

  • Pierce Knolls posted at 1:12 pm on Wed, Apr 9, 2014.

    Mister Pierce Posts: 2824

    "... the outcome was inevitable." - Yup, when the police are trained to think of every member of the public as a dangerous threat and that every encounter with the public is a desperate "us or them" survival situation, then it's inevitable that some folks are going to get murdered by fearful cops.

  • oscar michael posted at 12:37 pm on Wed, Apr 9, 2014.

    oscar mike Posts: 267

    This verse is about the separation of the sheep and the goats. Referring to those who knew and lived in Christ and those who thought they did. This is not a command to spend money on crisis training and human services. Maybe a more relevant verse would be from 1st Timothy 5:8. "He who does not provide to their relative, especially their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."
    Where was Boyd's family? The one institution that is charged to care for him. While he may have been placed in one facility to the next, left with inadequate mental health treatment, is it not the responsibility first of his family to find him the help he needed? I cant help but think that the police were left to deal with his illness and the outcome was inevitable.

  • Mark Ordonez posted at 12:22 pm on Wed, Apr 9, 2014.

    marcoordonez Posts: 1021


  • Khal Spencer posted at 10:33 am on Wed, Apr 9, 2014.

    Khal Spencer Posts: 890

    Perhaps we need to remember Matthew 25.

    “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    James Boyd was one of the least of us. Homeless, mentally ill, bounced from jail to homeless shelter to mental hospital to hillside camp, and finally shot and killed by police as though he was a rabid dog. If there is not a message in Matthew for this situation, and how we have been too negligent to deal with the James Boyds of the world when it comes to writing the check for human services and police training, there ain't no use in reading the Good Book.


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