Police officers in Albuquerque took a defiant stand last week after one of their own was disciplined for miscommunication during a counterprotest in New Mexico’s largest city earlier this month.
What is the background?
During a counterprotest on April 11 for a Proud Boys rally that never happened, police detained Deyontae Williams, who they say was armed with a rifle, KOB-TV reported.
There was subsequent confusion over whether Williams, who said he is not associated with Proud Boys, would be charged with a crime.
“There was a lot of concern throughout because this gentleman did have a child with him,” APD spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos told KOB. Ultimately, police charged Williams with one charge of child endangerment. Williams later told KOB that he had not been charged, but the APD said he simply had not yet received his summons.
How did officers respond?
Twenty APD officers resigned from the department’s emergency response team last week after the department placed one member of the ERT on leave due to the confusion over Williams.
The department cited a breakdown in the chain of command for the disciplinary action taken against the officer.
“Chief Medina made it clear that we cannot have a breakdown in communication during critical incidents. We have worked hard to earn back the public’s trust. We will lose that trust if we resist accountability and culture change,” an APD spokesperson told KOB.
In total, 17 officers, two sergeants, and one lieutenant resigned from ADP’s emergency response team.
Shaun Willoughby, the president of the Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association, said the officers resigned because they don’t feel supported by APD management.
“They don’t feel supported here, and they don’t feel trust. They feel second guessed, and they don’t feel that they can do their job, no matter how perfect they do their job, without getting in trouble,” Willoughby told KOB.
“They’re damned if they do, and they’re damned if they don’t,” he added.
While the officers who resigned from the emergency response team did not resign from the APD altogether, Willoughby explained that about 20 others officers have resigned from the APD over the last two months.
“We are seeing a dramatic increase of Albuquerque police officers applying to go to other departments,” he said. “Morale, let’s not even talk about it because it doesn’t exist. There is no morale. Your Albuquerque police officers are absolutely miserable at work— nobody’s happy.”
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