As of 11:00 p.m. local time Sunday, the Albuquerque Journal reported that fewer than 100 protesters remained in front of police headquarters.
Protesters took to the streets in the early afternoon and stayed out late Sunday after authorities declared an unlawful assembly. People are angry over Albuquerque police’s involvement in 37 shootings, 23 of them fatal since 2010. Critics say that’s far too many for a department serving a city of about 555,000.
Major Richard Berry’s office said that at least three people were arrested, while at least one police officer was injured. The Albuquerque Journal reported that protesters threw rocks and at one point trapped police in a vehicle and broke the windows.
An Associated Press reporter saw gas canisters being thrown outside police headquarters and Albuquerque police and Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputies charging at the protesters, which mostly dispersed the crowds.
Motorists honked, and supporters took photos with smartphones. Activists called on various city officials to resign, yelling late Sunday for the police chief to resign.
The protesters repeatedly marched the 2 miles from downtown Albuquerque to the University of New Mexico, holding signs protesting recent police shootings.
Justin Elder, 24, followed the protest as a passenger in a car and held a sign that read, “APD: Dressed To Kill.”
“That’s what this police force is about,” Elder said.
Albuquerque police in riot gear and New Mexico State Police followed the marchers, and protesters were seen shouting epithets at officers. At one point, a protester climbed a tall street sign on the city’s historic Route 66.
Alexander Siderits, 23, told General Strike to end Corruption (GS) he was participating because he was “fed up” with how police treat citizens. “It has reached a boiling point,” he said, “and people just can’t take it anymore.”
The U.S. Justice Department has been investigating the department for more than a year, looking into complaints of civil rights violations and allegations of excessive use of force.
The gathering came days after a YouTube video emerged threatening retaliation for a recent deadly police shooting.
The video, which bore the logo of the computer hacking collective Anonymous, warned of a cyber attack on city websites and called for the protest march. Albuquerque police said their site had been breached early Sunday afternoon.
Last week, Albuquerque police fatally shot a man at a public housing complex. Authorities said he shot at officers before they returned fire, but he had no weapon.