Christians Censor Scorsese Film

By Sue Schuurman

27 Years Ago This Week

In 1998, police oversight is, for the most part, calmly discussed in city council chambers. But for two days in mid-June 1971, Albuquerque residents took to the streets to vent their anger against what they termed "police brutality." National Guard troops had to be called in after $2 million in damages from arson and looting occurred primarily to the Downtown, Roosevelt Park and Yale Park areas. The Duke City was put under a curfew and declared in a civic state of emergency. Many partially blamed the rioting on remarks made by then-Lt. Gov. Roberto Mondragon to protesters at a Roosevelt Park rally on June 13, where he had conceded APD needed changes.

"Nine Shot As Police Battle Mob

"Window-breaking, looting, burning and shootings erupted in Albuquerque's downtown area Sunday night following a major confrontation earlier in the evening at Roosevelt Park between heavily-armed police and nearly 500 youths.

"Police said nine persons were treated at three city hospitals for gunshot wounds. Three of the injured were reported in critical condition. Dozens more persons were injured, but not seriously. Two policemen were injured.

"Roving bands of rioters began hurling rocks and sticks through windows of downtown stores at about 8:30 p.m. following a demonstration in front of the new Police-Municipal Court Bldg.

"The crowd at the park, estimated at nearly 1000 persons, began gathering on the green park slopes after noon for a scheduled rock concert, but the music groups failed to appear. The large crowd remained and the violence followed about five hours later. ...

"The park disturbance erupted at 5:30 p.m. apparently when police attempted to arrest a young man. The park was crowded with young picnickers as the temperature hovered near the 90-degree mark.

"As the officers attempted the arrest, a crowd gathered and within minutes police were facing an angry crowd. Numerous witnesses told reporters the youths were angered at alleged police brutality.

"Five police vehicles were damaged at the park. Two of them were burned and police resorted to teargas to disperse the crowd. ... At the height of the confrontation, police left the area and regrouped. ...

"The crowd ... headed down Central Avenue toward downtown. The crowd broke windows as it marched. ... People chanted 'We want the pigs,' and a group of about 15 men were escorted into Police Chief Don Byrd's office in an effort to iron out differences. ... "

--compiled by Susan Schuurman

Source: Albuquerque Journal;

June 14, 1971

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