I have lived in Albuquerque for the past three years. This shooting was kind of the “last straw” that led to a lot of protests and arrests, particularly in my neighborhood. I went out a few days after the news broke to get some groceries, found the end of the my street blocked off by police vans with riot police in full gear at the ready (I turned around and went back home, obviously). The immediate aftermath of this shooting was really a low point in this city’s recent history, and that’s kind of saying a lot. I don’t know if everyone actually read the linked article but as it says there: “Records show that 26 people have been killed by city police in Albuquerque since 2010, a per capita rate of officer-involved deaths higher than New York City and Chicago.” There is definitely a feeling that the APD is out of control, and it’s not just the college student/left-wing/activist crowd who feel that way, either. A poll conducted by the Albuquerque Journal in the week after the shooting found that only 15% of the city’s residents considered the shooting of Boyd to be justified or possibly justified. A solid majority of city is against the police department in this case and similar cases, and confidence in department to reform itself or repair its relationship with the citizens is very low, particularly since the Department of Justice released its findings from a year long investigation into allegations of excessive use of force, which concluded that the APD frequently uses excessive force, including deadly force, in situations in which it is not justifiable, and that the conduct of APD officers often increases the danger involved in police interactions with the public. You can read the report, watch the press conference associated with it, or skim highlights of it courtesy of KRQE (the local news) at this link.
Neither Albuquerque nor the APD is all bad, but this is one area where things are really not up to code for a city of this size. There are already certain places I wouldn’t go because of crime not involving the police, but unfortunately I also avoid any place where I see police talking to people, even if it’s on my way. It’s not worth potentially getting tangled up in something, given the deserved reputation the police here have for letting their aggression get the better of them. It’s sad that the APD has such an adversarial relationship with the public and some of city government, but I suppose that’s what happens when you kill a bunch of people for reasons that don’t really stand up to scrutiny. Even Mayor Barry has gone on record as saying that APD’s police chief was wrong to call the shooting justified.