Target: Gorden Eden Jr., Albuquerque Chief of Police
Goal: Demand Chief Gorden’s resignation following his department’s violent response to a protest against the city’s ongoing police brutality
In late March Albuquerque, New Mexico protesters took to the streets to demand reforms following the city’s 23rd fatal officer-involved shooting since 2010. More than 300 citizens gathered outside the police department and later marched to the University of New Mexico where police met them in riot gear and on horseback, later firing tear gas into the crowd.
The city’s police have frequently shown themselves unable to deescalate volatile situations and often resort to deadly force while leaving other options unexplored. Protests followed the release of a YouTube video which appeared to show James Boyd attempting to surrender just before Albuquerque police killed him. Authorities confronted Boyd for illegally camping and claim that after a long standoff he pulled a knife on them, prompting them to fire multiple rounds and to sick an attack dog on him. He later died at a local hospital. The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is looking into the shooting and the Albuquerque City Council President called the video evidence “a cause for concern.”
Not only did newly-instated police chief Gorden Eden order a violent response to what began as a peaceful protest but he later defended his and his officers’ actions. His department maintains that officers were justified in killing James Boyd, and that they showed “restraint” in their handling of March protests. Demand Eden’s immediate resignation along with much-needed, systematic reforms to end this pattern of deadly police violence.
Dear Chief Eden,
The FBI and U.S. Justice Department are both investigating your city’s police force following years of unrestrained brutality and civil rights violations. For many Albuquerque residents the final straw was the fatal shooting of James Boyd, a homeless and mentally ill man who died with his back turned to police. Boyd had a history of heated exchanges with officers but this does not explain why deadly force was used to end a stand off when other options, such as stun guns, remained available.
Protestors rallied out of understandable frustration once video of the shooting was released online. Patrick Davis of ProgressNow New Mexico condemned the unnecessary use of force. “The over-militarized approach to law enforcement is having a very real effect on people’s lives here in New Mexico,” he said. According to his organization Albuquerque officers have shot more people than the New York Police Department despite serving a city just a fraction of the size.
By responding to the protests with tear gas and police in riot gear you demonstrated your inability to respond effectively and to deescalate tense situations. Clearly the Albuquerque police force requires comprehensive reforms, beginning with new leadership that refuses to support excessive use of force. I call on you to immediately resign from your post as Albuquerque Chief of Police.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Unknown via News Radio 105.5 WERC