By DAVID CORREIA,
On Saturday, March 14 from 1-4PM, a group called ABQJustice plans a “People’s Tribunal on Police Brutality” in Albuquerque. ABQJustice formed in 2014 as a community-based group of activists and residents concerned with poverty, inequality and police brutality in Albuquerque. They have worked in coalition with social justice and civil rights organizations to confront violence, racism and injustice in Albuquerque.
According to organizers (disclosure: I am one of the organizers), the refusal of previous investigations of unconstitutional policing at APD to consider racial bias in policing prompted ABQJustice organizers to launch its own investigation. Beginning in September 2014, investigators at ABQJustice began interviewing people who have been victims of police brutality in Albuquerque.
The findings of the investigation will be released at the Tribunal in a report that “examined everyday police practices in the City of Albuquerque with a focus on the patterns and frequency of force used by police officers on homeless people and people of color.”
More than a dozen ABQJustice investigators spent six months conducing field interviews at four locations in Albuquerque: 1) the International District, particularly the Central Avenue corridor between Wyoming and San Mateo; 2) downtown Albuquerque, particularly the area surrounding the Alvarado Transportation Center; 3) The campus of the University of New Mexico; and 4) The Barelas neighborhood. These four locations were chosen in order to capture a representative diversity of responses and respondents, and because these four areas include many of the City’s facilities and services for homeless (Barelas, downtown), and services and resources for Native Americans (International District). Street interviews began in September of 2014 and were completed in February 2015.
Investigators conducted 41 interviews. Thirty of the people interviewed were male, eleven were female, one of whom identified as a transgender woman. Twenty-one people were Native American; fourteen people were Hispanic; two were African-American, and four were White/Anglo. The interviews were transcribed in March 2015, at which time ABQJustice researchers analyzed interview responses for all respondents. Instead of relying on APD self-reported use-of-force data, as DOJ did, the ABQJustice study relied on street interviews with residents of Albuquerque.
Seven jurists will preside over the Tribunal, where they will hear from victims of APD police brutality.