NAACP Demands Apology Or Resignation From City Councilors Jones And Borrego; No Demands Made Of City Councilor Pat Davis For His Shooting Of African American And Violating Constitutional Rights

On July 9, it was reported that Albuquerque NAACP President Harold Bailey issued a statement and said that councilors Cynthia Borrego and Trudy Jones used “offensive, inflammatory and insensitive” language during a debate over a $1 million appropriation for the Black community. He said they should apologize or resign and went on to recommend “sensitivity and positive human engagement training.”

The link to the entire news article is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1473925/naacp-criticizes-councilors-offensive-language.html

The $1 Million dollar appropriation was described as “an investment that creates positive impact for the African American community.” The legislation was sponsored by Councilor Klarissa Peña and the city council voted yes with an 8-1 vote. According to City Councilor Pena:

“I look at this as a way to focus on addressing what we started out addressing as a part of the Black Lives Matter movement, and that’s … systemic and institutional racism.”

The $1 million dollar appropriation was to Mayor Tim Keller’s “One Albuquerque Fund Foundation” created to raise money for city initiatives by collecting donations from the private sector and citizens who have wanted to donate to the city for city initiatives.

LINE OF QUESTIONING QUESTIONED

During the one-hour debate, Democrat City Councilor Cynthia Borrego and Republican Trudy Jones questioned Charles Ashley III, president of the One Albuquerque Fund for details about how the money would be used. Jones asked whether it would go toward loans or grants, asked who would administer the disbursements, and asked whether it would support businesses or housing and more. Borrego questioned what the city wanted as to “deliverables” for the $1 million, and how the expenditures and program progress would be reported back to the council. Ashley told the council the foundation had not developed a specific plan and said the board will first convene members of the Black community to determine how best to apply the money based on existing needs, he said.

The NAACP took strong exception to what City Councilor Trudy Jones said which was as follows:

“This is not good business, and if we’re trying to help people better themselves, one of the best things we can do is teach them how to do business before they are harmed by doing bad business. … I absolutely cannot support this, not because I don’t support the intent; I don’t support the fact we’re jumping into something with no information, not knowing who’s going to … administer it, what it’s going to be for, how people apply, what qualifies. … Every question out there that anyone would ask before they loan their child money isn’t there. … I’m not saying I’m older and wiser than the people who will get money from this program; I’m saying there should be a question asked: What are you going to do with it? … It could be my brother, it could be my neighbor; if I’m going to loan money to someone, I would like to have an overview … or at least an idea of what it’s going to be used for, or a report or accountability of what it was used for.”

City Councilor Cynthia Borrego came under fire by the NAACP when she said:

“And who is the African American community that is going to be receiving the funding? I would like to know a little bit more about the structure and how this money is going to be used” . … and later in a statement said “After some of my questions were addressed at council, I voted in favor of the proposed … appropriation for $1 million to Albuquerque’s African American community.”

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

It is clear how the NAACP and many others could take exception to the comments of Republican City Councilor Trudy Jones especially her comment “Every question out there that anyone would ask before they loan their child money isn’t there.” This comment by Jones was exceptionally insulting because what Jones was saying is African Americans business people are to be treated like children and they need to be taught how to use and invest their money.

The entire content of councilor Jones line of questioning, whether she realizes it or not, is a reflection of her own “institutional racism” beliefs that usually are not articulated in public. Without a doubt, the comments were out of line and reflect an element of “entitlement” on her part. The fact that Jones is Anglo, is in the real estate private sector industry and representing the most affluent district in the City, just compounds the appearance that she does not really understand systemic racism.

When it comes to Democrat City Councilor Borrego remarks, it is doubtful that they reflect anything more than legitimate questioning as to how taxpayer money will be spent. Given the fact that Borrego is a woman of color, a native of Albuquerque, and a retired city hall employee who for many years dealt with city finances, and ultimately voted for the appropriation, it is far more likely her comments were taken out of context.

Dr. Bailey and the NAACP are calling for a resignation or apology and “sensitivity and positive human engagement training”.

This is understandable when it comes to City Councilor Trudy Jones. Given the remarks made by Jones, an apology is the most one can expect. Do not hold your breath on resignation. It would be a complete waste of time for Councilor Trudy Jones to have “sensitivity and positive human engagement training” given her track record on the City Council. After all, Republican Jones is a Trump supporter, opposed sanctuary city legislation and she sponsored an ordinance to criminalize panhandling, an ordinance later struck down by the Federal Court as violating people’s first amendment rights.

When it comes to City councilor Cynthia Borrego, given her reputation for honesty and integrity and her past votes and past employment with the city, it is likely she learned a valuable lesson and is already very sensitive to systemic racism.

NAACP SHOULD BE DEMANDING PAT DAVIS TO RESIGN FROM CITY COUNCIL FOR HIS CONDUCT

Dr. Harold Baily and the Albuquerque Chapter of the NAACP has not said anything about Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis resigning after a June 25 news report where ProgressNow, the very progressive organization that Davis was head of at one time, demanded Davis resign from the City Council.

NOT A REFORMED COP

In its news release ProgressNow accused Pat Davis of a pattern of upholding racist institutions and said in part:

“Unfortunately, Davis’ shooting of a Black man isn’t the only example of his troubling actions. A pattern has unearthed that continues into the present. After Davis moved to Albuquerque he had multiple civil rights complaints lodged against him while serving as a cop at the University of New Mexico. …

Later, as he ran for elected office, Davis reflected on his experience as a cop, utilizing a “tough on crime” narrative, referencing his time as “zero-tolerance cop– the kind you wouldn’t want to pull you over”. As he ran for Bernalillo County Sheriff, his website highlighted his targeting of community members for low-level offenses, like marijuana possession. …

We want to make it clear: Davis’ case is not an issue of a “reformed cop”. In fact, Davis has continued to uphold racist institutions ….

Surely, our community does not need someone who routinely targets and criminalizes Black and Brown people to be serving on committees that select judges, decide the future of marijuana legalization in our state, or pass policies and make financial decisions for the City of Albuquerque.”

TROUBLING HISTORY

Pat Davis has never been held accountable for a shooting African American Moses Bell in 2005. Albuquerque City Councilor President Pat Davis is a former Washington DC Police officer who on August 31, 2004 shot Moses M. Bell, age 37 at the time, and who was a Washington, DC resident. Moses M. Bell on August 31, 2004, was driving his car and giving his male African American friend a ride to his girlfriend’s house.

According to court filings, while sitting in his idling parked vehicle to allow his passenger to exit his vehicle, Moses M. Bell was shot twice in the left shoulder by Washington D.C. Police Officer Pat Davis when Davis approached the driver’s side of the car and opened fire without provocation. At the time of the shooting, D.C. Police Officer Patrick Davis was allegedly investigating Moses M. Bell for failure to make a left turn signal and his passenger’s failure to wear a seat belt. Davis claims he saw Bell trying to hide a gun and so he opened fire. Bell was first charged with “Assaulting, Resisting or Interfering With A Police Officer With A Dangerous Weapon”, those charges were dropped and Bell was then charge with carrying a gun without a license, plead guilty, and sentence to 18 months in jail.

Approximately 3 months after the shooting, Pat Davis left the Washington DC Police Department and came to Albuquerque and worked for the UNM Campus Police as a supervisor and Lieutenant. In 2007 and 2008, Pat Davis as a UNM Campus Police Officer, was involved in at least 3 incidents that resulted in civil lawsuits and judgements in the thousands paid for violations of people’s civil rights.

One case involved the execution of a “sealed search warrant” for marijuana by 21 law enforcement personnel, including Pat Davis as a UNM Police officer, who stormed a home, broke in and caused $20,000 in property damaged searching the home. The next case involves the unauthorized search of 2 homes without search warrants where the homes located in Corrales were occupied by single women. UNM Police officer Pat Davis along with two other UNM Police officers essentially coerced both woman to allow searches of their homes without court approved search warrants.

All 4 cases, which include the shooting of Moses Bell, combined reveal an alarming pattern of violating people’s civil rights and unconstitutional policing practices by Pat Davis as a police officer. As City Council President, Pat Davis is calling for major changes and reforms to the Albuquerque Police Department (APD). Davis is questioning and challenging police practices, policies, procedures, training and funding of APD.

PAT DAVIS DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WHEN JONES SHOT OFF HER MOUTH

Davis is proclaiming that because of his experiences as a police officer, he is essentially a reformed cop and has changed and he has an understanding of institutional racism in police work. Pat Davis has actually said recently he “made arrests and instigated some encounters I wouldn’t be proud of today” yet there is no apology for his actions to any he brutalized.

Pat Davis now proclaims that because he was a former cop and did things in the past he was not too proud of, he has changed and for that reason he is the guy to lead the charge in reforming APD. What is so damn pathetic is that Pat Davis probably believes people are buying into his garbage, but his actions say otherwise. When City Councilor Trudy Jones shot off her mouth about the funding for African American businesses, Pat Davis as City Council President did not bother to gavel her out of order. Davis did not denounce Jones comments and neither did any other city councilor. Perhaps Davis did not gavel Jones out of order because Davis needed Trudy Jones’ vote to become City Council President.

If Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis is sincere and truly wants to make amends for his past conduct as a police officer, he needs to show some degree of honesty and integrity and step down.

The NAACP, and for that matter, the Black Lives Matter movement, need take a position on Pat Davis and if he should resign otherwise their silence speaks volumes more essentially saying their is no need to take Davis to task or hold him accountable for his past actions.

Links to related blog articles are here:

African American Moses M. Bell’s Version Revealed Of His 2004 Shooting By White Wash. D.C. Cop Pat Davis; Outcome Unknown Of Davis Internal Affairs Investigation And Why Davis Not Charged With Crime

City Councilor Pat Davis Needs To Step Down To Atone For His Own “Black Lives Matter” Moment And Violations Of Peoples Civil Rights As A Police Officer

Pat Davis Shooting A Black Man As DC Cop Only Part Of Story; Davis Engaged In Pattern Of Civil Rights Violations As A UNM Cop Costing Taxpayers Thousands

ProgressNow New Mexico Statement on Councilor Davis’ Shooting of a Black Man and Pattern of Upholding Racist Institutions; Calls For His Multiple Resignations

The “Spin Doctor Pat Davis” Is Not “Authentic And Honest” As He Proclaims; City Councilors Protecting One Of Their Own Looking The Other Way; Take Another Vote To Decide If Davis Should Remain As President

Pat Davis Booted From Judicial Selection Commission; Same Political Consultant Behind Pat Davis, DA Raul Torrez And Mayor Tim Keller; Davis Needs Step Down As City Council President Or Be Removed By City Council Vote

Keller And Davis Adopting Gus Pedrotty’s Platform Ideas In 2017 Mayor’s Race; Peter Cubra Guest Column: “Two Fixes For APD Are Staring Us In The Face”

On Friday, June 13, Albuquerque City Council Pat Davis announced that he and the city council have come up with their own plan to overall the Albuquerque Police Department (APD). Davis does not think the council’s reform plan will mean fewer police officers for the Albuquerque Police Department (APD). Davis said police officers should not be responding to many calls involving a mental health crisis, homelessness and other behavioral health-related issues.

The Davis proposal would change multiple levels of the department, from reorganizing the police budget and officers’ jobs on the street to emphasizing behavioral health assistance and studies to determine the best route for community engagement. Davis said he believes the city can rededicate $1 million of APD’s $207 million budget to community organizations and social services. Davis is also suggesting a 24/7 dispatch line for calls regarding the homeless that would be answered by those in a public health role and not by the APD reducing APD’s volume of 911 emergency calls.

Davis also announced that the council will meet with the community in July to gain input into possible changes to APD’s budget, police operations and other avenues where funds could be placed to better the community. Davis had this to say:

“I think the mayor and I both share an appreciation that we don’t think politicians should just be deciding where dollars come out and where they go. … We don’t want to get into this knee-jerk reaction that we can solve this by just writing a check, so we’re trying to figure out how we can create a process.”

Shaun Willoughby, president of the Police Officers’ Association, labeled City Councilor President’s “defund the police reforms as Davis’ “political pandering”. He added saying the possible cuts to funding were “ignorant, idiotic and ludicrous” saying the department is already understaffed. He said, if Davis wants better community policing, the city needs to invest in more officers and not undermine the reform efforts under the Department of Justice Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA).

https://www.abqjournal.com/1465979/council-leader-unveils-police-reform-proposal-ex-more-community-engagement-rerouting-of-some-calls-included.html

MAYOR KELLER ANNOUNCES NEW PUBLIC SAFETY DEPARTMENT

On Sunday June 14, in a phone interview with the Albuquerque Journal, the very day after City Councilor Pat Davis announced the City Councils plan to overall APD, Mayor Tim Keller announced plans to create a new Public Safety Department that would send trained professionals to respond to certain calls for help in place of armed officers. The Albuquerque Community Safety Department would have social workers, housing and homelessness specialists and violence prevention and diversion program experts who would be dispatched to homelessness and “down-and-out” calls as well as behavioral health crises. The new department would connect people in need with services to help address any underlying issues. The department personnel would be dispatched through the city’s 911 emergency call system. The intent is to free up the first responders who typically have to deal with down-and-out and behavioral health calls.

In his Sunday, June 14 phone interview Keller said “down and out” calls usually end with someone going to jail or to a hospital. According to Keller:

“And the determiner of [whether a person goes to jail or a hospital] is either firefighter or police [officer]. … Neither of them should be making that initial call, unless it’s a situation of violence. … We’re just expecting them to solve every individual’s problem, and I think that’s totally unfair to them and their training. … We should have trained professionals do this, instead of folks with a gun and a badge. But in general, that’s what we have to fix.”

https://www.abqjournal.com/1466317/mayor-proposes-public-safety-department.html

Mayor Tim Keller, despite the change in the national conversation and calls for police departments to be defunded, said his goal is still adding 100 police officers every four years to the point APD is fully funded with 1,200 sworn police. It is projected APD will have 985 sworn police officers after the graduation of the July APD Academy class. In a Channel 4 interview, Keller had this to say:

“We have to adequately fund violent crime law enforcement, and that means we got to get those other officers, but here in Albuquerque, we can do things– like, we’re trying to shift towards diversion programs, towards violence intervention programs. … All of these are essentially, many ways, decriminalizing sort of the interaction between the police and individuals. And so trying to have more civilian interactions and trying to invest in communities, trying to invest in upstream issues like education and poverty, we absolutely have to do a better job at that.”

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/mayor-keller-goes-1-on-1-to-discuss-policing-in-albuquerque/5758739/?cat=500

On June 15, Mayor Keller and Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair held a press conference to discuss details of the new Public Safety Department. It was reported that very few details had been worked out and the new department is still in the planning process. The Keller Administration said rough estimates suggest the new Community Safety Department will need 32 people for each its 6 area commands, staffed around the clock, to respond to tens of thousands of calls a year. The Keller Administration intends to submit a final fiscal year budget in August for City Council budget hearing.
Mayor Tim Keller, despite the change in the national conversation and calls for police departments to be defunded, said his goal is still adding 100 police officers every four years to the point APD is fully funded with 1,200 sworn police. It is projected APD will have 985 sworn police officers after the graduation of the July APD Academy class.

Links to related news articles are here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1466317/mayor-proposes-public-safety-department.html

https://www.abqjournal.com/1466672/details-about-mayors-public-safety-proposal-remain-scarce.html

GUS PEDROTTY, 2017 CANDIDATE FOR MAYOR

If Mayor Tim Keller’s “new idea” to send trained professionals to respond to certain calls for service in place of armed APD officers sounds at all familiar, it’s because it was a concept that former Mayoral Candidate Gus Pedrotty, then 22, proposed when he was one of the 7 candidates who ran against Tim Keller for Mayor. Pedrotty did his homework on the issues facing the city and he ran issues-based campaign. Crime, homelessness and mental health care services were 3 of those issues. Pedrotty sounded, and many would say, far more informed than all the other candidates at the forums and debates.

WEEKLY ALIBI INTERVIEW

On June 16, 2017, the Weekly Albi published one of the first interviews of the 2017 Mayors race. The following question and answer was published:

Weekly Alibi: One of the things you talked about in your introduction was healthcare. How important is healthcare for our citizens, with regards to public safety and for citizens who are marginalized?

Gus Pedrotty: To put it in simple terms, healthcare is everything. We tout our civilization as having a longer life expectancy; we have security in our bodies. But anyone watching this or reading this knows what a personal healthcare crisis does to your productivity, to your mental state, you know how crippling it can be … it’s hard to engage in our society if you’re unhealthy. Going back to the Hyde shootings, when Ray Schultz was chief of police, it clearly showed that we [city government] didn’t have the capacity to deal with mental health in the community, and it resulted in a [police] culture of violence that resulted in the Boyd shooting and all the ones in between, that brought the DOJ here. Of course healthcare is related to public safety. We’ve chosen to engage this as a problem we can fix. When it comes to public safety, we don’t give people resources to be better. … One of the biggest ways we can start to encourage mental health outcomes and how they affect our city is to begin cooperating with programs that already exist, pairing Albuquerque Heading Home with the already existing healthcare structure. Homelessness is not just not having a home. It’s everything that comes with it. I’m interested in holistic and contextualized solutions.”

http://alibi.com/news/53602/Pedrottys-Bigger-Picture.html

“WHY WE RUN” INTERVIEW

On Sep 21, 2017, in an interview with the on line publication “Why We Run” Mr. Pedrotty had this to say:

“We had an incident, in our city, involving the shooting of a homeless person by our police force. I went to all the rallies and protests, sat with the community organizers, and I saw that the city government was not paying attention to us. They were systematically marginalizing a population that I didn’t realize had been marginalized for so long. And after our city kept ignoring these groups who were protesting, all this community engagement culminated in what the media deemed a “riot.”

As it went on, I saw a militarized police force show up. It was the first time I had encountered that and I walked the riot line and looked into the faces of these people who were supposed to be on our side, and we were sizing each other up like threats. Eventually, they tear-gased the crowd. I’m not assigning fault, but it did make me start thinking about what our responsibilities are, as citizens to their city, and as a city to their citizens.

I also started working with Project Echo. Healthcare is one of the most complex structures in our country. Project Echo approached it as a contextual thing — if we understand what’s happening socially, if we treat things in context, we can provide better outcomes. We looked at the entire umbrella of healthcare — from peer-to-peer workers, community representatives — and how they could provide care outside of hospitals, which reduces strain on taxpayers.

And our city never cooperated with this work. They have asked how the model could be used to deal with situations of addiction and homelessness in our community, that underline the things we quickly and irresponsibly label as “crime.”

https://medium.com/why-we-run-young-people-in-government/why-we-run-gus-pedrotty-288e6ab9a02a

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/vb7yv4/how-a-22-year-old-mayoral-candidate-wants-to-make-millennials-vote

ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL QUESTIONNAIRE

During the 2017 Mayor’s race, the Albuquerque Journal sent out a questionnaire, as it always does, asking candidates questions they deem are important. The Answers submitted are usually edited down and gives little chance for expansion. Following are the first two Journal questions and answers given by Gus Pedrotty:

1. What is the biggest issue facing the city, and how would you address it?

Crime, but crime is a symptom of economics, health, and opportunity. We’ll address mental health and homelessness to decrease crime. In turn, we’ll create a larger and more invigorated workforce and business climate to bring jobs and opportunity to Albuquerque.

2. What would you do to tackle Albuquerque’s crime problem?

Finish the Department of Justice mandate, fully staff police and legal departments, and overhaul emergency service delivery. Through non-officer, service-based response to homelessness and addiction, we save money, reduce strain on officers, and provide better outcomes and services for all residents.

The link to the full questionnaire is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1052367/qa-mayoral-candidate-gus-pedrotty.html

PETER CUBRA GUEST EDITORIAL COLUMN

Peter Cubra is a highly respected New Mexico civil rights attorney. He represents a class of individuals at the Metropolitan Detention Center with physical or mental disabilities in the McClendon class-action lawsuit, a federal civil rights case that is still being litigated on behalf of that group of inmates. He’s also filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of people with mental disabilities in the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit against the city alleging excessive force by police.

On June 22, the Albuquerque Journal published the following guest editorial column written by Mr. Cubra:

Headline: Two Obvious Fixes For APD Are Staring Us In The Face

“Since 1984, I have worked with the city, county, court system and jail attempting to improve how law enforcement and the legal system deal with people with disabilities. I believe the “defund police” movement can guide how to improve Albuquerque’s longstanding problems.

The U.S. Department of Justice identified APD as among America’s most violent police departments, with an unconstitutional “culture of aggression;” and certain APD employees and police union members still resist real culture change. So I understand why many people suggest entirely replacing our police department with other mechanisms that aren’t staffed by personnel acculturated to aggression and led by supervisors habituated to unnecessarily using force.

Nonetheless, rather than completely “un-funding APD,” I support the approach suggested by Christy Lopez, a retired Department of Justice lawyer, who wrote, “Defunding the police means shrinking the scope of police responsibilities and shifting most of what government does to keep us safe to entities that are better equipped to meet that need. It means investing more in mental-health care and housing and expanding the use of community mediation and violence interruption programs.”

As a first step, I support City Council President Pat Davis’ proposal to study APD staffing to determine which of APD’s current activities should be performed by others instead. Mayor Keller’s newly proposed “Community Safety Department” could bring vast improvements, some day, if properly conceptualized, resourced and administered.

Without any study or new department, two APD activities should be performed by others, immediately.

COAST

In 2003, a homeless man with schizophrenia who was frequently arrested for petty offenses resisted another arrest, shooting APD Sergeant Carol Oleksak with her gun. In response, Mayor Martin Chavez convened a summit to “address the issues of mental illness and homelessness.” Thereafter, APD created its “Crisis Outreach and Support Team” (COAST), comprised of “civilian employees supervised by a department sergeant” who provide “crisis intervention, access to mental health services, and education” and “perform case follow up in order to connect individuals in need with service providers.”

None of COAST’s functions are “policing,” but the city has refused to move those tasks from APD to another entity that serves people experiencing homelessness and/or mental disabilities. No study is necessary to know that tracking down people with mental disabilities to encourage them to participate in treatment is not “policing.” Transferring the resources of the COAST team out of APD is a no-brainer. But the city’s administration hasn’t done it.

WELFARE CHECKS

When a family member wants help getting mental health treatment for a loved one, the city sends APD officers to conduct “welfare checks” despite frequent, including recent, tragic results. On March 30, APD officers responded to Valente Acosta-Bustillos’ family’s request for a welfare check. Two police officers went to his home, ultimately shooting him to death. On June 4th, Max Mitnick’s family similarly called 911 requesting help getting Max mental health treatment. Reportedly, Max had not threatened anyone when the call was made. Nonetheless only police responded, then shot him in the head.
Mental health professionals, not police, should be in charge of “welfare checks.”

The core problem is budgetary. Albuquerque spends one third of its general funds on APD and almost nothing on mental health services. The city’s budgets for 2014 and 2020 prove the point: In fiscal 2014, Animal Welfare received $10,069,000, Parks and Recreation $36,072,000, mental health services $2,470,000 and police $163,070,000. In fiscal 2020, Animal Welfare received $12,512,000, Parks and Recreation $42,888,000, mental health services $3,696,000 and police $210,057,000.

Albuquerque spends three times as much on animal welfare as it spends on mental health services, more than 10 times as much on parks and recreation, and spends 50 times more on APD than it spends on mental health services. This year, Albuquerque is spending more on golf courses – $5,146,000 – than on mental health services. As Lopez said, Albuquerque needs to “invest more in mental-health care and housing and expand the use of community mediation and violence interruption programs.”
If not now, when?”

The link to the Peter Cubra guest column is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1469237/two-obvious-fixes-for-apd-are-staring-us-in-the-face.html

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

During the 2017 Mayor’s race, the voters and the other candidates running were very dismissive of Gus Pedrotty, many did not take him serious nor his ideas, because of his age. Some said he had no business running for Mayor because of his age and his lack of experience. Truth is, none of the candidates Pedrotty ran against had any experience being Mayor. I have found that my generation (55+) has a real bad habit of underestimating the talents, abilities and wisdom of millennials that Mr. Pedrotty represented. Voters and his opponents made a major mistake not listening to what Mr. Pedrotty said during the election. It is a Mayor’s job, and indeed any leaders job, to present ideas and solutions in broad strokes and set the goals and objectives, hold people accountable and not hide from problems and surround yourself with those who can carry out your objectives. Mr.Pedrotty did not just wave, look good and just smile parroting talking points but actually had real substance.

Mayor Keller’s creation of a Public Safety Department really is nothing knew when it comes to the types of services it will be providing with experts who would be dispatched to homelessness and “down-and-out” calls and the behavioral health crises services. Using the term “Public Safety Department” is rebranding of old ideas. The suggestions have been made for a number of years, even before Mayor Tim Keller was elected, during the 2017 Mayor’s race by Gus Pedrotty and before that with the implementation of the federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) mandating 276 reforms by APD. It is disappointing that Mayor Keller felt he was in some sort of competition for press coverage with Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis. There was absolutely no need for him to call the Albuquerque Journal to do an interview announcing his plans which were also going to be the subject of a full-blown press conference the next day. What is even a bigger disappointment is how Mayor Tim Keller essentially ignored Gus Pedrotty and gave him the cold shoulder after the election when he should have brought him into city hall.

Most of the suggestions proposed by City Councilor Pat Davis to overhaul APD are included in Mayor Keller’s proposal for the creation of a Department of Public Safety or are mandated by Federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) mandating 276 police reforms. It is very likely that Pat Davis was very familiar with the ongoing plans of Mayor Keller, saw an opportunity to steal the limelight and credit from Mayor Keller. Councilor Pat Davis Saying “I think the mayor and I both share an appreciation that we don’t think politicians should just be deciding where dollars come out and where they go” is down right disingenuous seeing that is all Pat Davis has been doing since elected to the city council, with the ART Bus project being just one example.

Notwithstanding, the two fixes being proposed by attorney Peter Cubra in his Journal guest column letter are ones that need to be adopted and are solid ideas. It is also likely Mr. Cubra could not careless who gets credit for the ideas, so Keller or Davis should have no problem holding a press conference, separately or jointly, to take credit for Mr. Cubra’s recommendations. They already have the experience in the area political plagiarism when it comes to Gus Pedrotty.

US Congress And NM Legislature Must Ban “Citizen Militias” Or Enact Citizens Militia Registration Act; Sweeping Responsible Gun Control Legislation Also Needed

On June 15, a man was shot in Old Town over the “La Jornada” (The Journey) sculpture in front of the Albuquerque Museum. The shooting occurred during a protest for the removal of the figures of Juan de Onate de Salazar in the sculpture.

During the protest, there were 5 to 6 heavily armed New Mexico Civil Guard (NMCG) members, some dressed in military camouflage, present trying to “protect” the sculpture. It was reported that the shooting occurred when at least 3 of the protesters attacked a person identified as Steven Baca who was walking away from them. Steven Baca was struck in the head with a skateboard and Baca drew a gun, shot numerous times, with one shot hitting one of the protesters. The shot protester was rushed to the hospital and was listed in critical but stable condition. The shooting and violence resulted in the City taking the single figure of Onate in the sculpture grouping down.

Civil Guard members have said they take zero responsibility for the shooting and what happened at the June 15 protest and that Steven Baca is not a member of their group. They also have said Baca was “justified” in shooting a protester and believe their armed presence stopped more bloodshed.

NMCG Chaplin and Founder Bryce Provance said that after the gunfire, his men set their “scope” on Steven Baca and “would’ve blown his brains out” if he kept shooting. NMCG member John Burks, an Army veteran who served in “quite a few deployments” said that he could not “specifically speak on” his kicking Steven Baca’s gun away to “secure the crime scene“ but did say “People said we protected him after he shot. … No, we detained him and formed a perimeter around him so that he didn’t pick that gun back up and shoot more people.”

https://www.abqjournal.com/1472698/the-world-is-a-scary-place.html

On June 16, the Albuquerque Police Department released a photo of the 13 guns and 34 magazines taken from militia members at the protest. In the APD photo there are 4 semi-automatic rifles. A controversy is now brewing over the handling of the protest by the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).

GOVERNOR AND MAYOR REACT

Both Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Mayor Tim Keller reacted in no uncertain terms about the NMCG being at the protest.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said the militiamen had one reason for being there:

“to menace protesters. … there is no place for a group seeking to terrorize citizens.”

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller told the militia to stay away and said:

“We’re just trying to send a clear signal that we never want vigilantes in our town. We never want firearms at protests. … And both of those things … have been a dangerous combination for our community that we don’t want to see.”

https://www.npr.org/2020/07/06/886586653/new-mexico-leaders-to-militia-if-you-want-to-help-community-stop-showing-up-arme

THE SECOND AMENDMENT TO UNITED STATE CONSTITUTION

The United States Congress needs to take another look at the language of the he Second Amendment of the United States Constitution which reads:

“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Over the years, the United State Supreme Court has expanded the Second Amendment right to right to keep and bear arms. It is referred to as the “right to bear arms” and is a right for people to possess weapons or arms for their own defense.

“In United States v. Cruikshank (1876), the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that the right to arms preexisted the Constitution and in that case and in Presser v. Illinois (1886) recognized that the Second Amendment protected the right from being infringed by Congress.

In United States v. Miller (1939), the Court again recognized that the right to arms is individually held and, citing the Tennessee case of Aymette v State, indicated that it protected the right to keep and bear arms that are “part of the ordinary military equipment” or the use of which could “contribute to the common defense.”

In its first opportunity to rule specifically on whose right the Second Amendment protects, District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Court ruled in the landmark case that the amendment protects an individual right “to keep and carry arms in case of confrontation,” not contingent on service in a militia. The Supreme Court also said that restrictions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, on the carrying of arms in sensitive locations, and with respect to the conditions on the sale of firearms could be permissible under the constitution.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_keep_and_bear_arms_in_the_United_States

CITIZEN MILITIAS DEFINED

“Private Militias”, more commonly known by the general public as “Citizen Militias” are loosely defined as “armed military groups that are composed of private citizens and not recognized by the United State Government or state governments.” Upwards of half the states maintain laws regulating private militias. Generally, these laws prohibit the parading and exercising of armed private militias in public, but do not forbid the formation of private militias.

STATE OF WYOMING OUTLAWS CITIZEN MILITIAS

The State of Wyoming is an exception. A Wyoming statute prohibits the very formation of private militias. Wyoming State Statutes provides:

“No body of men other than the regularly organized national guard or the troops of the United States shall associate themselves together as a military company or organization, or parade in public with arms without license of the governor.”

Section 19-1-106, Wyoming Statutes Annotated

Wyoming statute also prohibits the public funding of private militias. Anyone convicted of violating the provisions of the law is subject to a fine of not more than $1,000, imprisonment of six months, or both, for each offense.

THE INSURRECTION THEORY OF SECOND AMENDMENT

“Legal and political scholars have argued that citizen militias are driven by what is known as the insurrection theory of the Second Amendment. Under this view, the Second Amendment grants an unconditional right to bear arms for self-defense and for “rebellion against a tyrannical government” defined as when a government turns oppressive and private citizens have a duty to “insurrect” or take up arms against their own government.

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a qualified rejection of the insurrection theory. According to the Court in Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494, 71 S. Ct. 857, 95 L. Ed. 1137 (1951):

“[W]hatever theoretical merit there may be to the argument that there is a ‘right’ to rebellion against dictatorial governments is without force where the existing structure of the government provides for peaceful and orderly change.”

Legal scholars have interpreted this to mean that as long as the government provides for free elections and trials by jury, private citizens have no right to take up arms against the government.”

https://law.jrank.org/pages/10067/Second-Amendment-PRIVATE-MILITIAS.html

In states that do not outlaw them, private militias are limited only by the criminal laws applicable to all. In other words, if an armed private militia seeks to parade and exercise in a public area, its members will be subject to arrest on a variety of laws, including disturbing-the-peace, firearms, or even riot statutes.

Links to quoted sources are here:

https://law.jrank.org/pages/10067/Second-Amendment-PRIVATE-MILITIAS.html

https://law.jrank.org/pages/10067/Second-Amendment-PRIVATE-MILITIAS.html#ixzz6RZtSrv00

CONGRESS AND STATE SHOULD ENACT MILITIA REGISTRATION ACT

Citizen Militias are not regulated in the State of New Mexico and there is no comprehensive federal law that regulates them under the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. Those who take it upon themselves to associate and bear arms calling themselves “citizen militias” take it to the extreme when they attend protests fully armed in military attire proclaiming they are their to assume the responsibility law enforcement to protect people and property. Such attendance amounts to nothing but vigilantism.

As things escalate with mass murders and protests, the State of New Mexico and the United State Congress need to enact legislation that defines what a “citizen miltia” is and either ban them entirely or regulate all citizens militias.

If the United States Congress, and for that matter New Mexico, does not ban citizen miltia’s. A Citizen’s Militia Registration Act needs to be enacted. Citizen militias need to be define along similar lines of how “gangs” are defined under federal criminal law.

https://nij.ojp.gov/topics/articles/what-gang-definitions

A “citizens miltia” could be defined as:

“An association of three or more individuals, whose members collectively identify themselves by adopting a group identity employing one or more of the following: a common name, slogan, identifying sign, symbol, flag, uniforms or military apparel or other physical identifying marking, style or color of clothing, whose purpose in part is to engage in the protection of private property and other people. A registered citizens militia may employ rules for joining and operating within the militia and members may meet on a recurring basis.”

A Citizen Militia Registration Act would require citizen militias to:

To allow only American Citizens to be members of a citizen militia.

Register with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATFE) within the United States Department of Justice.

Require members to register their firearms with the ATFE.

Pay yearly regulation fees and firearm certification fees and carry liability insurance.

Identify all their members by name, address and contact information.

Prohibit felons from joining.

Limit their authority and powers so as to prevent militias to engage in law enforcement activities.

Require members to pass criminal background checks and psychological testing.

Mandate training and instructions on firearm use and safety.

Require all militias and its members to agree to follow all local and federal laws.

Failure to register as mandated by federal would be a felony.

THE WEAPON OF CHOICE

Since 1995, the United States has had 95 mass shootings, including seven of the 11 deadliest. There is no doubt we have a deadly mass shooting epidemic on our hands.

The mass shooting with guns in the last 10 years include: Orlando, Florida (49 killed, 50 injured), Blacksburg, Va. (32 killed), San Ysidro, Cal (21 killed), San Bernardino, (14 killed), Edmond Oklahoma (14 killed), Fort Hood (13 killed), Binghamton, NY (13 killed) Washington, DC (12 killed), Aurora, Colorado (12 killed), Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Conn (21 children and 6 adult staff members killed) and the largest mass shooting in this country’s history that occurred in Las Vegas, Nevada with at least 59 dead and at least 515 wounded and the Parkland/Stoneridge High School shooting that resulted in 17 children’s deaths, El Paso,Texas, 23 dead and 23 injured.

“The deadliest mass shootings in recent history have had one thing in common: the perpetrator used an assault rifle. These weapons possess an incredible amount of killing power, and amplify the destructive will of the person who carries out an attack. Nine people died and 27 were injured in a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio in an attack that lasted 32 seconds. The killer used an AR-15 style assault rifle. Since 1999, there have been 115 mass shootings (defined below) in which 941 people were killed and 1,431 were injured. Of those 115 attacks, 32 — just over a quarter — involved semi-automatic rifles. But those attacks accounted for 40% of all deaths and 69% of all injuries. Since 2017, 12 of the 31 mass shootings involved assault rifles — which caused 39% of the deaths and 92% of the injuries. That includes the Las Vegas massacre — which alone accounts for almost 40% of all mass shooting injuries since 1999. The perpetrator of that shooting used over 20 assault rifles during that attack.”

https://www.axios.com/deadliest-mass-shootings-common-4211bafd-da85-41d4-b3b2-b51ff61e7c86.html

After so many mass killings, it is difficult to refute that something needs to be done about semi-automatic and automatic guns such as the AR-15 which are the type used in all the mass shootings. Semi-automatic guns are the weapons of choice that are carried by the citizen militias when they attend protests dressed in military garb and fully armed in order to intimidate.

RESPONSIBLE GUN CONTROL LEGISLATION

Assault weapons are also the weapon of choice for Citizen Militias. The regulation of Citizens Militias by congress in all likely will not solve a related problem and that is the proliferation of guns in the United States. Reason and responsible gun legislation on both the state and national level.

In New Mexico, our legislature should consider:

1. Repeal the New Mexico Constitutional provision that allows the “open carry” of firearms. This would require a public vote and no doubt generate heated discussion given New Mexico’s high percentage of gun ownership for hunting, sport or hobby.

2. Prohibit in New Mexico the sale of “ghost guns” parts. Ghost guns are guns that are manufactured and sold in parts without any serial numbers to be assembled by the purchaser and that can be sold to anyone.

3. Requiring in New Mexico the mandatory purchase of “liability insurance” with each gun sold as is required for all operable vehicles bought and driven in New Mexico.

4. Enact a gun violence restraining order and extreme risk protection process to temporarily prohibit an individual deemed by a judge to pose a danger to self or others, from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition and allow law local law enforcement to remove any firearms or ammunition already in the individual’s possession.

5. Restrict and penalize firearm possession by or transfer to a person subject to a domestic violence protection order or a person, including dating partners, convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor.

6. Mandate the school systems and higher education institutions “harden” their facilities with more security doors, security windows, and security measures and alarm systems and security cameras tied directly to law enforcement 911 emergency operations centers.

The Unites States Congress needs to consider:

1. Implementation of background checks on the sale of all guns.

2. Close the “Charleston loophole” or “delayed denial” where federally licensed dealers can sell guns if three business days pass without FBI clearance.

3. Call for the update and enhancement of the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check system (NCIS).

4. Institute mandatory extended waiting periods for all gun purchases.

5. Implement mandatory handgun licensing, permitting, training, and registration requirements.

6. Ban “bump-fire stocks” as was used in the Las Vegas mass shooting and other dangerous accessories.

7. Ban future manufacture and sale of all assault weapons and regulate existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act of 1934, and initiate a federal gun buyback program.

8. Impose limits on high capacity magazines.

9. Prohibit firearm sale or transfer to and receipt or possession by an individual who has: (1) been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor hate crime, or (2) received from any court an enhanced hate crime misdemeanor sentence.

10. Institute mandatory child access prevention safe storage requirements and prohibit the sales of handguns with “hair triggers”.

11. Provide more resources and treatment for people with mental illness.

12. Enhance accountability of federally licensed firearms dealers.

13. Implement micro stamped code on each bullet that links it to a specific gun.

14. Produce ‘x-mart guns’ with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) or biometric recognition (fingerprint) capability.

15. Limit gun purchases to one gun per month to reduce trafficking and straw purchases.

16. Prohibit open carry of firearms.

17. Digitize Alcohol, Tobacco and Fire (ATF) gun records.

18. Require licensing for ammunition dealer.

FINAL COMMENT

Until something is done with the enactment of citizen militia prohibition or regulation, citizen militias will be nothing more than vigilantes on the hunt using intimidation tactics to interfere with people’s first amendment rights as they attempt to assume law enforcement duties and responsibilities. Further without reasonable and responsible gun control legislation New Mexico and the United States need to brace for more mass shootings and violence given our toxic political climate during an election year and in the age of Trump given his propensity to call his followers to arms as our “law enforcement” President.

A link to a related blog article is here:

Details Emerge Of New Mexico Civil Guard Actions At June 15 Onate Protest; “Would’ve Blown His Brains Out If He Kept Shooting”; Trump’s Call To Arms; Learning Cool Things and Barbecuing On Fridays!

Details Emerge Of New Mexico Civil Guard Actions At June 15 Onate Protest; “Would’ve Blown His Brains Out If He Kept Shooting”; Trump’s Call To Arms; Learning Cool Things and Barbecuing On Fridays!

On June 15, a man was shot in Old Town over the “La Jornada” (The Journey) sculpture in front of the Albuquerque Museum. The shooting occurred during a protest for the removal of the figures of Juan de Onate de Salazar in the sculpture.

During the protest, there were 5 to 6 heavily armed New Mexico Civil Guard members, some dressed in military camouflage, present trying to “protect” the sculpture. It was reported that the shooting occurred when at least 3 of the protesters attacked a person identified as Steven Baca who was walking away from them. Steven Baca was struck in the head with a skateboard and Baca drew a gun, shot numerous times, with one shot hitting one of the protesters. The shot protester was rushed to the hospital and was listed in critical but stable condition. The shooting and violence resulted in the City taking the single figure of Onate in the sculpture grouping down.

On June 16, the Albuquerque Police Department released a photo of the 13 guns and 34 magazines taken from militia members at the. In the APD photo there are 4 semi-automatic rifles. A controversy is now brewing over the handling of the protest by the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).

THE NEW MEXICO CIVIL GUARD

On Sunday July 5, the Albuquerque Journal published a very lengthy front page story which is interesting and alarming on the New Mexico Civil Guard entitled “NM Civil Guard Is Marching Forward, Despite Calls To Stand Down” with the story written by Matthew Reisen, a Journal staff writer. According to a Journal introductory Editor’s Note: Journal reporter Matthew Reisen accompanied by a Journal photographer spent a weekend in Wagon Wheel, New Mexico with the New Mexico Civil Guard, the armed group that confronted protesters trying to remove the statue of conquistador Juan de Oñate in Old Town. You can read the full article here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1472698/the-world-is-a-scary-place.html

HIGHLIGHTS OF ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL ARTICLE ON JUNE 15 ONATE STATUE PROTEST AND SHOOTING

Following are the major highlights of the June 15 Onate Statue protest and shooting gleaned from the Albuquerque Journal news article:

Bryce Provance, age 30, is the chaplain and founder of the New Mexico Civil Guard (NMCG). Provance said the NMCG got involved in the Oñate incident after a local group associated with a presidential campaign told them there would be a riot after the statue fell and said they wanted “nothing to do with” Oñate and were there to give protesters “something to think about” and he had this to say:

“You know what the police are going to do, you don’t know what we’re going to do. … Our goal was to be that question mark in their minds that made them think maybe this isn’t the greatest idea to go burning through Old Town.”

NMCG group members said things would have escalated “either way” but admitted the protesters called their bluff on their firepower when they pulled out a pickax to remove the statue despite the armed patrol. According to the NMCG, its members do not shoot unless shot at or aimed at and they retreated soon after the pickaxe came out to knock down the Onate statue.

NMCG member David Rice said APD should have posted officers at the Oñate protest. Rice called Steven Baca’s actions of shooting a protester a “clean shoot,” asserting that Baca was being attacked. The shooting is still under investigation. Steven Baca’s lawyers say it was self-defense. District Attorney Raul Torrez has dismissed the most serious charges against Baca and far lesser charges have been filed against him that are unrelated to the shooting. Baca is charged with battery on other protesters and carrying a concealed weapon without a license.

After the gunfire, NMCG founder Bryce Provance said his men set their “scope” on Baca and “would’ve blown his brains out” if he kept shooting. NMCG member John Burks, an Army veteran who served in “quite a few deployments” said that he could not “specifically speak on” his kicking Steven Baca’s gun away to “secure the crime scene“ but did say “People said we protected him after he shot. … No, we detained him and formed a perimeter around him so that he didn’t pick that gun back up and shoot more people.” What the NMCG did with Steven Baca would also likely fall under the legal definitions of “aggravated assault with a deadly weapon” or “kidnapping.”

Civil Guard members told the Journal they take zero responsibility for what happened at the June 15 protest. They said Baca was “justified” in shooting Williams and believe their armed presence stopped more bloodshed.

Provance said when they were detained after the shooting, an APD officer and FBI agent treated them like “witnesses.” After being questioned and their guns siezed, Provance said the APD officers told them if it wasn’t for them, more people “would’ve left in body bags.” That may have been true, but what also would have been true is that NMCG members who did the shooting would have been arrested and charged with first degree murder.

THEY BARBECUE ON FRIDAYS AND OTHER THINGS WORTH NOTING

The July 5 Albuquerque Journal report contains the following highlights worth noting:

1. Local leaders and law enforcement authorities have condemned the group’s actions at the June 15 Onate statue protest even though the guard says it was not there to instigate and had “no clue” who the shooter Steven Baca was who shot a protester.

2. Albuquerque Police Department (APD) is not investigating the group but the city has asked the FBI to determine whether the Civil Guard meets the federal definition to be classified as a hate group. An APD spokesman said the group has repeated “blatant falsehoods” on social media to inject “anti-APD” sentiment into Albuquerque.

3. An FBI spokesman said the agency doesn’t designate hate groups. The FBI will “not confirm or deny” whether the agency is investigating the group.

4. The Black Lives Matter movement considers NMCG a hate group. Black Lives Matter organizer Kia Russ is quoted in the article as saying:

“Plain and simple, lives were at risk when they showed up as this ‘Civil Guard,’ and I feel that the police need to hold these individuals and hate groups accountable due to their blatant acts of just hate”.

Russ said the group with its guns, armor and posturing is a prime example of “white male fragility” emboldened by President Donald Trump.

5. Mark Pitcavage, with the Anti-Defamation League, said the New Mexico Civil Guard militia movement “as a whole” is about anti-government extremism, not white supremacy. According to Pitcavage, the Civil Guard, like most militias started since 2017, show up at places where they think leftists will be such as Black Lives Matter and George Floyd protests. Pitcavage had this to say about the recent militia that have emerged:

“There is a small amount of crossover [and some hold elements of racism and bigotry within their ranks but its too early to tell their intent] … They haven’t had much time to establish much of a track record. … They like the idea of confronting the leftists while rationalizing it, and by telling people that they are there to help police keep the peace or help protect everybody’s rights. … But what they really want to do is stare down the leftists and some of them probably wouldn’t mind brawling with them. … Even if they don’t ever break the law, they might do damage in terms of conspiracy theories, in terms of spreading extreme rhetoric and ideas. … The militia movement is not a beneficial or benign movement … Even if a particular militia group doesn’t have a track record of violence, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good thing.”

6. Bryce Provance, age 30, the chaplain and founder of the New Mexico Civil Guard (NMCG) proclaims he is 3 years sober, carries a Bible and claims he is the only member of the NMGC that does not carry a gun. Provance hides several revealing tattoos, including a swastika on his shoulder that he said he got “to survive” a lengthy prison stretch. Provance told the Journal his group does not take sides and is “very centrist” even though the majority of its members lean conservative and libertarian.

Bryce Provance told Journal reporter Matthew Reisen:

“The world is a scary place and, it seems like, if you don’t have friends with weapons – you better find some. … So we decided we want to protect our communities, we want to be an auxiliary force. … We go out and train, we learn cool stuff, then we barbecue on Fridays. … Your feelings don’t matter. … Well they do, but your feelings don’t dictate what happens in the world. … Because I have feelings on history, doesn’t mean that history is fake, just because I don’t like it. My feelings shouldn’t dictate your actions, your feelings don’t dictate my actions. Laws and the constitutions dictate our actions.”

7. Members of the NMCG claim they are the victims of bad press and that they have been victimized by being fired from their jobs and threatened. They strongly dispute they are racists by noting they have Hispanic and African American members. According to NMCG member David Rice:

“This [being a member of NMCG] isn’t something you do because you hate something. … This is an act of love, kindness and generosity. We know we’re putting ourselves in harm’s way.”

8. APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos has told the NMCG they “are not welcome” at public events and said:

“The fact remains that the New Mexico Civil Guard has actively worked to intimidate peaceful protesters, make them fearful and raise tensions “Their presence and actions have made these events less safe and put the lives of officers in jeopardy.”

9. NMCG Founder Bryce Provance says his group is now practicing crowd control techniques and plans to elect a “colonel” who would oversee members statewide so they can grow their ranks and said the NMCG will go when called, whether it’s to a campaign event.

10. The NMCG is a mix of characters. According to the Journal article “Some are loud and others are quiet, they talk about the end of the world “as we know it” and wax poetic on the “good old days” of militiamen before everything got “politicized.” Members advance conspiracy theories in one breath and talk about creating their own political party in the next. Its members seem to align best with President Trump by expressing their opinions on issues using Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric. CNN, Bill and Hillary Clinton and former Vice President Joe Biden are held in low esteem by the group.”

NOT THE FIRST TIME CITIZENS MILITIA SHOW UP TO PROTESTS

On June 2, it was reported on KUNM in Albuquerque after hundreds of people demonstrated peacefully on and around the University of New Mexico campus armed militia men showed up along Central Avenue. According to the KUNM news report, minutes after organizers told protesters to head home, the Albuquerque Police Department radio dispatch indicated officers had seen men with long guns east of UNM. Just west of campus, protesters came upon a group of at least 9 mostly white men on the side of the road, by a white cargo van, with body armor and assault style weapons. Several protesters were upset at the presence of the armed men . One Black Lives Matter protester was so upset that he cried out repeatedly “We have a peaceful protest! … Go home! Don’t ruin it!” Other protesters urged their fellow demonstrators to ignore the provocation and keep moving.

According to the KUNM report:

“The armed men said they were from the New Mexico Civil Guard and that they were there to protect people. The militia group has been recruiting people throughout New Mexico online since March, and made a showing at an Albuquerque anti-shutdown protest in late April. A post on their Facebook page, which features pro-Trump posts and people posing with yellow “Don’t Tread On Me” flags, said their members would “be protecting local businesses every night until Sunday” amid what they called “violent protests.”

The first night of peaceful protests in Albuquerque calling for justice for George Floyd turned to violence when another group of people showed up after the protesters left. A confrontation with APD resulted, with some vandalism, but the incident ended with no one injured and the group dispersed. All subsequent protests have been relatively peaceful.

www.kunm.org/post/armed-militia-group-alarms-blm-protesters-late-monday-after-peaceful-rally

APD DISCOURAGES VIGILANTISM

On June 4, after three nights of protests, the Albuquerque Police Department felt compelled to discourage anyone from acting as vigilantes. APD’s discouragement is directly related to several groups saying they have been going to the protests to try and ease tensions and to protect local businesses while armed from break-ins, vandalism and looting. APD said that while these groups have good intentions, they’re asking them to leave public safety in the hands of trained law enforcement professionals.
APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos put it this way:

“We don’t want outside groups no matter what they’re intentions are to go out and enforce laws … Even if they have good intentions to protect protesters or property, generally it’s a bad idea. It can actually make the job more difficult for police, it can escalate tensions with people who are out there.”

Although New Mexico is an open-carry state, and people are allowed to have guns, APD is asking anyone going to the protests to leave the firearms at home in order to avoid escalating tensions.”

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

TRUMP’S CALL TO ARMS

The rise of vigilantism throughout the country and in New Mexico is on the rise and President Trump is contributing to the toxicity. There is no doubt that President Trump promotes hostility, mistrust and violence and he thrives on it and enjoys it. Trump is incapable of understanding the anger and the frustration African Americans feel about the violence they have endured at the hands of law enforcement for so many years. He promoted violence when running for President, he does it at his rally’s and he is doing it again after the killing of George Floyd.

Trump has already begun a campaign of promoting civil disobedience during the pandemic by tweeting on April 17 “LIBERATE VIRGINIA and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!”, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!”, “LIBERATE MINNISOTA!” There is nothing that would satisfy Trump supporters more than to blow up our democracy and simply watch as Trump enjoys while watching the country burn to the ground.

On Friday, May 29, President Donald Trump tweeted amid unrest in Minneapolis that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”. Trump’s tweet was flagged by Twitter as violating rules against glorifying violence. The tweet was the same language used by a Miami police chief in 1967 who believed that violent protests should be met with deadly force. About 13 hours after Trumps Tweet, he took to Twitter again and to claim that he wasn’t suggesting the shooting of rioters. Instead, he said he was referring to gun violence that has been spurred by the unrest.

https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2020/05/29/trump-tweets-when-looting-starts-shooting-starts-extremists-will-respond

https://kstp.com/politics/trumps-tweet-about-rioters-echoes-1960s-miami-police-chief-may-29-2020/5745055/

Soon after his telephone conference call with the country’s governors, President Trump declared himself “your president of law and order.” He went on to say:

“… If a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them. … I am mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting to end the destruction and arson and to protect the rights of law abiding Americans, including your Second Amendment rights … . “

Trump said he would call out and mobilize “thousands and thousands“ of soldiers to keep the peace.

When Trump says “I am mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting to end the destruction and arson and to protect the rights of law abiding Americans, including your Second Amendment rights”, many of his supporters no doubt are taking it to mean as call for vigilantism.

NEW MEXICO CIVIL GUARD

The Albuquerque Journal article confirms what many in law enforcement and the general public believe about the New Mexico Civil Guard and that it is organized vigilantism, like many in the United States. It is a symptom that is the result of President Trump’s call to arms on a national level.

Frankly, with so many guns seized by APD after the June 15 protest, Albuquerque is damn lucky it did not have a mass shooting during the June 15 protest. The 13 guns, including 4 rifles, and 34 magazines seized is an enormous amount of firepower that no doubt could have resulted in mass injuries and killings.

People showing up to peaceful protests bearing long rifles and assault rifles under the guise of protecting the general public, or for that matter themselves, and businesses from violence, vandalism and looting need to be called what they are: vigilantes. They are trying to take the law into their own hands and holding themselves out as law abiding citizens when they are not and they likely have evil intent. They are “on the hunt” to be able to use their weaponry when they attend protests.

Citizen Militia’s need to be condemned in no uncertain terms. It needs to be made clear they have absolutely no business showing up armed to the hilt with assault weapons and wearing military fatigues to peaceful protests. Such conduct only intimidates and antagonizes people which is the real intent of such militias.

No doubt self-appointed “citizen militias” and their supporters will argue they have second amendment rights to bear arms. The argument is nothing but a rue and a convenient excuse to start trouble.

Second Amendment advocates represented by citizen militias always ignore and seem to want to usurp people’s First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly. Many would say are rights far more important than their right to bear arms.

African American Moses M. Bell’s Version Revealed Of His 2004 Shooting By White Wash. D.C. Cop Pat Davis; Outcome Unknown Of Davis Internal Affairs Investigation And Why Davis Not Charged With Crime

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” April 16, 1963.

On August 31, 2004 , Moses M. Bell, age 37 at the time, was a Washington, DC resident. Moses M. Bell is African American and on August 31, 2004, was driving his car and giving his male African American friend a ride to his girlfriend’s house. According to court filings, while sitting in his idling parked vehicle to allow his passenger to exit his vehicle, Moses M. Bell was shot twice in the left shoulder by Washington D.C. Police Officer Pat Davis when Davis approached the driver’s side of the car and opened fire without provocation.

At the time of the shooting, D.C. Police Officer Patrick Davis was allegedly investigating Moses M. Bell, the driver of the vehicle, for failure to make a left turn signal and his passenger’s failure to wear a seat belt. Police officer David Tucker, Davis’ partner, remained in the vehicle when Davis got out of the patrol car to question the driver Moses M Bell. Moses M. Bell was first charged with “Assaulting, Resisting or Interfering With A Police Officer With A Dangerous Weapon” when a gun was found in the car Bell was driving. Bell’s hand gun was found to have never been discharged and Bell did not threaten or point his gun at Pat Davis.

The original charges were dismissed with new charges filed alleging “Carrying a Pistol Without A License”. Bell plead guilty to the lesser offense, sentenced to 18 months. Moses Bell filed a 1984 Civil Rights Act complaint for damages against Pat Davis. The civil case against Davis was dismissed without prejudice for Bell’s failure to serve Pat Davis with the lawsuit. Pat Davis has never filed an Answer to the 1984 Civil Rights Complaint.

This blog article is an in-depth report on the criminal charges filed against Moses M. Bell and how the charges were disposed. It also reports on the civil rights case Moses Bell filed against Pat Davis and why it was dismissed without prejudice. Until now the only version of what happened on August 31, 2004, is the version Pat Davis has given to the Albuquerque news media. This blog article gives Moses M. Bell’s detail version of his shooting on August 31, 2004 as gleaned and quoted from court documents filed in both the criminal case and the civil case. In a very real sense, this blog article is also a report on the injustice inflicted upon Moses M. Bell by our criminal and civil judicial system.

EXPLANATION OF HOW A PERSON IS CHARGED WITH CRIME

Given the types of pleadings that will be quoted, an explanation as to how a person is charged under federal law is in order. Under federal law there are four ways a person can be charged with a felony:

1. Criminal complaint,
2. “Superseding Information”
3. Criminal arrest warrant, and
4. Indictment by a grand jury.

A criminal complaint must be supported by oath or affirmation of either the victim or the arresting officer. A “superseding information” is virtually identical in form to the complaint, except that it is signed by a United States Attorney, it is required in felony prosecutions, and is used to add to or replace original charges that have or will be dismissed. With an indictment, prosecutors present evidence in secret to a grand jury who then votes to indict or not indict. A “target letter” is sent to a person who is under grand jury investigation and they can appear and testify under oath before a grand jury indicts to give their version of what happened and if they so choose to.

After a defendant is found guilty by trial or pleads guilty to charges, a pre-sentence report is prepared by “probation and parole” providing background of a defendant and making recommendations for sentencing which are submitted to the Court for review. Defense attorneys are allowed to submit a “Memorandum In Aid of Sentencing” allowing them to make recommendations to the sentencing judge and justifying acceptance of the plea.

All attorneys, prosecutors and defense attorneys alike, are “officers of the court”, and are required by law and the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct to make true and accurate representations to a court of law to the best of their knowledge and ability. Misleading a Judge is a very serious ethical offense and failure to disclose to a Court of law by any attorney can result in disciplinary actions, including jail for contempt of court, suspension or disbarment, against the attorney for ethics violations.

FEDERAL CRIMINAL CHARGES FILED AGAINST MOSES M. BELL

On September 1, 2004 Moses M. Bell was charged in a Criminal Complaint for “Assaulting, Resisting or Interfering With A Police Officer With A Dangerous Weapon, in violation of 22 D.C. Code, Section 405 (b) (2001 ed.)” and filed in DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SUPERIOR COURT, UNITED STATES v. MOSES M. BELL, Case Nos F-5513, Judge John H. Bayly, Jr., Felony Status: October 14, 2004.

The criminal complaint states as follows:

“On or about August 31, 2004, within the District of Columbia, Moses M Bell, without justifiable and excusable cause, and with a deadly and dangerous weapon, that is, a pistol, did assault, resist, oppose, impede, intimidate, and interfere with, Patrick Davis, a member of a police force operating in the District of Columbia, knowing Patrick Davis to be a police officer, while Patrick Davis was engaged in and on account of the performance of official duties. (Assaulting, Resisting or Interfering With a Police Officer With a Dangerous Weapon, in violation of 2 D.C. Code, Section 405(b) (2001 ed.))”

On September 1, 2004, the following affidavit of facts sworn to by a D.C. Police Officer and signed was part of the criminal complaint filed against Moses Bell:

“On Tuesday, August 31, 2004, at approximately 4:10 pm, Officers Patrick Davis and David Tucker were on routine patrol in … Washington, D.C. Both officers were in full uniform and operating a marked MPD cruiser. While on patrol, the officer observed a red in color 1986 Nissan 300ZX … occupied by two black males. The passenger in the vehicle was observed without his seatbelt on and the vehicle also failed to use a turn signal while making a left turn onto … Ridge Road, Southeast. Officers Davis and Tucker followed the vehicle which turned onto 37th Street, Southeast. Offices observed the vehicle pull over in front of 301 37th Street, Southeast, and at that time, conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle.

Upon approaching the vehicle on foot, officers observed a black male subject exit the passenger side of the vehicle and remain on the sidewalk near the vehicle. Officer Patrick Davis approached the driver’s door of the vehicle and observed the driver with a semiautomatic pistol in his hand attempting to conceal the handgun in the middle of the console area of the vehicle. Officer Davis reached inside the vehicle and attempted to grab the handgun from the driver and a struggle ensued.

The driver of the vehicle then sped off at a high rate of speed with Officer Davis partially inside of the driver’s window struggling with the driver and being dragged by the vehicle. The driver said to Officer Davis, “Get off my shit.” Officer Davis, fearing for his life, fired his service weapon into the vehicle. Officer Davis was able to untangle himself from the driver, and he fell backwards onto the street. The vehicle then fled the scene south on 37th Street and made a left turn onto Ely Place, Southeast.

Officers Davis and Tucker radioed for assistance and at 4:31 pm, officers canvassing the area located the Nissan 300ZX parked and unoccupied in the rear parking lot of 3710 Ely Place, Southeast. Further examination of the vehicle revealed apparent blood stains on the driver’s side door of the vehicle and a bloody Ruger 9mm semi-automatic pistol on the pavement just outside of the driver’s door.

Officers continued to canvass the area and at 4:39 pm, located the defendant, later identified as Moses Bell, hiding under a stairwell in the rear of 405 Ridge Road, Southeast. The defendant was suffering from a gunshot wound to the left shoulder. Officer Davis responded to the 400 block of Ridge Road, Southeast, and positively identified the defendant as the person with whom he struggled over the gun, and who drove away, dragging Officer Davis along.

The defendant was transported to Howard University Hospital where he was treated for his injuries. … ”

On October 13, 2004, the criminal complaint was dismissed charging Moses Bell with “Assaulting, Resisting or Interfering With a Police Officer With a Dangerous Weapon” relating to the August 31, 2004 shooting incident. Moses M. Bell was then charged by “Superseding Information” with “Carrying a Pistol Without A License” for the August 31, 2004 incident with Pat Davis.

On March 8, 2005, Moses M. Bell entered a guilty plea to the “Superseding Information” charging him with “Carrying a Pistol Without A License”. Under the plea agreement, the United States Attorney agreed to recommend that Moses M. Bell receive a sentence of 18 months in prison in exchange for Bell’s plea of guilty and he was in fact sentenced to the 18 months in prison. It is more likely than not that the Unites States Attorney’s Office sought jail time for a weapons charge because of Mr. Bell’s prior criminal record making him a convicted felon in possession of a firearm at the time of his shooting by Davis.

EDITOR’S NOTES HIGHLIGHTING PAT DAVIS CONTRADICTIONS

The sworn affidavit of facts filed in conjunction with in the criminal complaint states in part:

“Officer Davis reached inside the vehicle and attempted to grab the handgun from the driver and a struggle ensued. The driver of the vehicle then sped off at a high rate of speed with Officer Davis partially inside of the driver’s window struggling with the driver and being dragged by the vehicle”.

These allegations are seriously flawed and undermined by Moses Bell and his defense attorney with representations in court filings that state:

“Witnesses who observed the incident told counsel that the officer who approached the car did so with his gun drawn. … The witnesses further indicated that they observed the officer reach the side of the car and open fire. … [Pat Davis] would later claim that he was dragged down the block at high speed. … The defendant [Moses Bell], fearing that the shooting was not over, put his car in gear and pulled away. The officer fell away as the car pulled off. Suffering only superficial scrapes. … . This allegation, which, spawned a charge of Assaulting a Police Officer against the defendant, was as inaccurate and several other representations made by Davis … Officer Davis … stated that he fired in response to the defendant’s discharge of his own weapon. This version of events, was not only self­serving, but inaccurate. The defendant’s weapon was clearly never fired.”

FALSE STATEMENTS MADE TO ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL IDENTIFIED

In a February 6, 2017 Albuquerque Journal report entitled “ABQ Councilor Seeking Police Reforms Has An Insider’s Perspective”, it was reported that Pat Davis admitted that he drew his weapon and fired into the car twice, striking the suspect in the shoulder. However Pat Davis told the Journal that he fell to the ground and the “car ran over his leg.” He also told the Journal reporter that the driver crashed the car and was taken into custody.

The Pat Davis statement that the car ran “over his leg” is discredited with the defense assertion that Davis suffered only “superficial scrapes” and the fact Davis showed up within less of a half hour of the shooting where Moses Bell was apprehended and Davis identified Bell as the person he shot.

It was false when Pat Davis told the Albuquerque Journal that the “driver crashed the car and was taken into custody”. The September 1, 2004 Statement of Facts submitted in support of the criminal complaint states “the vehicle then fled the scene” and “officers canvassing the area located the Nissan 300ZX parked and unoccupied in the rear parking lot [of a building and] … located the defendant, later identified as Moses Bell, hiding under a stairwell … .

https://www.abqjournal.com/943318/davis-has-insiders-perspective-on-reforms.html

On June 25, 2020, the Albuquerque Journal in its front-page story entitled “Progressive Group Wants City Councilor Davis To Resign” , the paper for a second time reported Pat Davis’ version of the shooting and reported:

“Davis said he spotted a gun in the driver’s hand and lunged into the car to try to grab it. During the tussle, the driver hit the gas and sped off. Davis fired his weapon, striking the driver in the shoulder, then fell to the ground and the car ran over his leg.”

https://www.abqjournal.com/1470049/progressive-group-wants-city-councillor-davis-to-resign.html

Not a single court document obtained for review makes any reference or even suggest that Moses M. Bell ran over the leg of Pat Davis when Bell fled after he was shot by Davis.

MOSES M. BELL “MEMORANDUM IN AID OF SENTENCING”

On May 12, 2005, the defense attorney Edward C. Sussman for Moses M. Bell filed the below “DEFENDANT’S MEMORANDUM IN AID OF SENTENCING”. The court document provides for the first time Moses M. Bell’s version of his shooting by Pat Davis. It also exposes major discrepancies in what Pat Davis alleged in the criminal complaint as to what happened. Following is the court document:

“UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

V. CR. NO. 03-388 (JR)

MOSES BELL

DEFENDANT’S MEMORANDUM IN AID OF SENTENCING

The defendant, having entered a plea of guilty to the D.C. Code offense of carrying a pistol without a license, will appear before this honorable court for sentencing on May 19, 2005. He respectfully requests that this honorable court consider the following memorandum in imposing sentence.

On March 8, 2005, pursuant to a plea agreement, the defendant entered a guilty plea to superseding information charging him with Carrying a Pistol Without a License. Under the terms of the agreement, the government would recommend that the defendant receive a sentence of 18 months. While clearly the court is not bound by the agreement, the defendant, for the reasons that follow, would request that the court impose the sentence that the parties have agreed upon.

1.The prosecution arose from a rather unique fact situation that caused problems for both the defense and the prosecution. The defendant had pulled his car over to the curb on 37th Street S.E. to allow a passenger to get out. A marked squad car pulled up behind the stopped car. One of the officers in the squad car, for reasons that still remain unclear, approached the driver’s side of the defendant’s car. (FOOTNOTE 1: One police report indicated that the officer had observed the defendant’s car tum without signaling. However, it would be inconsistent for an officer’s partner to remain in the squad car while a traffic stop was occurring. The officer who remained in the car indicated that his partner wanted to talk to the driver about his hazard lights.)

2.Witnesses who observed the incident told counsel that the officer who approached the car did so with his gun drawn. These witnesses added that – in a rather rough section of the city ­ it was not unusual for officers to “unholster” their weapons in traffic stop situations. The witnesses further indicated that they observed the officer reach the side of the car and open fire. This is corroborated by the fact that the defendant was struck twice in the left shoulder, the shoulder directly in front of the officer.

3.Officer Davis, a relatively inexperienced police officer, stated that he fired in response to the defendant’s discharge of his own weapon. This version of events, was not only self­serving, but inaccurate. The defendant’s weapon was clearly never fired. After firing at the defendant, the officer attempted to reach inside the car, presumably to seize a weapon he had observed. The defendant, fearing that the shooting was not over, put his car in gear and pulled away. The officer fell away as the car pulled off. Suffering only superficial scrapes, Officer Davis would later claim that he was dragged down the block at high speed. This allegation, which, spawned a charge of Assaulting a Police Officer against the defendant, was as inaccurate and several other representations made by Davis. Following being shot, Bell drove a block or two away and got out of his car. Police officers located a blood-soaked gun near the car and arrested the defendant.

4.As the case progressed, and the officer was the subject of the routine police investigation regarding his use of deadly force, it apparently occurred to him that he lacked the necessary skill for his chosen profession. This revelation prompted him to relocate and, counsel believes, leave the police force. Clearly, he was not going to be available for motions hearings or trial of the matter. Although the absence of Davis, clearly weakened the government’s case, the defendant still faced possible conviction on the firearm charge. (FOOTENOTE 2 Counsel believes that the assault on a police officer, in the absence of Davis, and in view of available defense witnesses, was a “dead letter.” After all, driving off immediately after being shot was likely to be more consistent with fear and self-preservation than assaultive intent.)

5.When the parties weighed their respective problems, the 18-month recommendation seemed an appropriate resolution. It was somewhat less than the defendant faced for conviction as a felon in possession of a firearm, but certainly more than he would have faced had the government been unable to make its case. In essence, the parties weighed their respective cases and struck a reasonable compromise. The defendant would ask that the court “honor” their agreement and impose the eighteen (18) month sentence. That sentence, which could be accompanied by a period of supervised release under the D.C. code, would fall within the advisory guidelines utilized by that court.

6.Since the defendant was originally prosecuted in the D.C. Superior Court on the weapons charge (he was detained from August 31, 2004 until the case (F-5513-04) was dismissed in Superior Court on October 13, 2004) and then presented in the federal court on December 8, 2004), he should receive jail credit for the time between his arrest and the dismissal of that case.

7.The defendant believes that imposition of the suggested sentence represents a fair and equitable resolution of this matter.

8.Counsel and the defendant thank the court in advance for its consideration in this matter.”

Respectfully submitted,
Edward C. Sussman No. 174623
Counsel for Defendant Bell
Suite 900 – South Building
601 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W. Washington, D.C. 20004
(202) 737-7110

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

I hereby certify that on this 12th day of May, 2005, a copy of the foregoing was served by electronic filing on AUSA Lionel Andre, Gang Prosecutions, 555 4th Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20530 and by facsimile on Kathy McGill, U.S. Probation Officer, U.S. Courthouse, Washington, D.C. 20001.

OUTCOME UNKNOWN OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS INVESTIGATION AND REASONS WHY PAT DAVIS NOT CHARGED WITH SHOOTING OF MOSES M. BELL

The following Paragraph 4 of the Defendant’s “Memorandum In Aid of Sentencing” confirms that an Internal Affairs Investigation of Officer Pat Davis and his shooting of Moses Bell was conducted:

“As the case progressed, and the officer was the subject of the routine police investigation regarding his use of deadly force, it apparently occurred to him that he lacked the necessary skill for his chosen profession. This revelation prompted him to relocate and, counsel believes, leave the police force.”

Pat Davis also confirmed in a February 26, 2017 Albuquerque Journal article entitled “ABQ Councilor Seeking Police Reforms Has Insiders Perspective” when it was reported in part as follows:

“At the time of Davis’ shooting, the Metropolitan D.C. police were in the middle of a reform effort instigated by a U.S. Department of Justice investigation, which found the department too often used excessive force, including in police shooting cases. The department responded to the shooting in a way that was outlined in the settlement agreement between the DOJ and D.C. police, Davis said.

Albuquerque police are currently involved with a similar reform that also was brought on by a DOJ investigation into Albuquerque police use of force.

Davis said that after his shooting he had to take a mandatory three months of administrative leave and complete therapy sessions. He said it took him about a month to realize the gravity of the situation and to realize that he needed additional time to decompress.

“The stuff hits you about a month out and it takes a little while to work through. I should not have gone and worked in that neighborhood again (shortly after the shooting) because I was a little antsy. … You look at everybody and think, ‘Is this going to lead to another shooting?’

Davis said a group of D.C. officers trained by the DOJ completed the investigation and submitted the case to a federal grand jury, which produced a report on the shooting before Davis returned to work.

“The big questions were answered within 90 days,” Davis said of his shooting. “If there was a problem, they weren’t going to let me go back. And if there wasn’t a problem, they have to let the community know that it’s OK.”

The link to the full Journal article is here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/943318/davis-has-insiders-perspective-on-reforms.html

Pat Davis has never disclosed the results of his Internal Affairs Investigation. Further, Pat Davis has never disclosed if one of his problems was being a “target” of the grand jury and if criminal charges were considered to be brought against him by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for excessive use of force or deadly force or for civil rights violations.

Davis has not disclosed if in fact he returned to work for the Washington D.C. Police Department, why he left the D.C. Police Department and for how long before he came to New Mexico to be employed by the UNM Campus Police.

PAT DAVIS NEVER RESPONDED TO CIVIL COMPLAINT FOR SHOOTING BELL

On July 11, 2005, after pleading guilty of “Carrying a Pistol Without A License” an incarcerated Moses Bell filed a Civil Complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia naming Patrick Davis as a defendant.

The civil complaint is captioned as follows:

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

MOSES BELL,
Plaintiff

v. Civil Action No. 05-1372 (JR)

City of Washington DC, Anthony Williams, Mayor of the District of Columbia, Charles Ramsey , Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department, the Commanding Officer, (hereinafter C.O.), South District Police Precinct (name unknown) PATRICK DAVIS, Police Officer, South District Police Precinct, IMMEDIATE SUPERVISOR, (name unknown) of PATRICK DAVIS, DAVID TUCKER, Police Officer, Sixth District Police Precinct,
Defendants

Moses Bell filed the complaint without the assistance of a licensed attorney, pro se, with the court allowing Mr. Bell to proceed “in forma pauperis” to file his action. The civil complaint is in handwritten print, presumably in Mr. Bell’s own handwriting. Section I of the complaint identifies Moses Bell as the Plaintiff, Section II alleges “Parties, Jurisdiction and Venue”, Section III alleges “Previous Lawsuits by Plaintiff” with none listed. Section III contains a “Statement of Facts” with paragraphs numbered 17 to 35. A caption entitled “Prayer for Relief” follows the Statement of Facts with paragraphs number 36 to 41.

Paragraphs numbered 17 to 35 of Section III captioned “Statement of Facts” ostensibly written in Mr. Bells handwriting is the only version of the August 31, 2004 shooting in his own words that can be located in court documents reviewed.

Pat Davis was never served with the civil complaint and has never filed an Answer to the Complaint even though Davis has publicly acknowledged he is aware it was filed. Pat Davis has never admitted or denied the accuracy of what Moses M. Bell alleges as to what happened on August 31, 2004.

Following are the transcribed numbered paragraphs as they appear with all spelling and grammar mistakes :

“17. On Tuesday, August 31, 2004, at appro. 4:10 pm at 301 37th St. in S.E. Washington, DC

18. While at Greenway Shopping Center, After shopping, I ran into friend (hereinafter, passenger), (police records will reflect his identity)

19. Passenger asked me to give him a ride up the street so he could pick up some money from his girlfriend, and I did so,

20. In the process of giving passenger a ride, all was okay. And I reached his destination (37th place) and pulled over to let passenger out of my car (a 1986 Nissan).

21. Shortly afterwards defendant came up on the drivers side, I didn’t see him approaching . but I felt someone reaching into the car and reach over my lap.

22. I than jumped, and defendant Davis back-up and no reason at all fired shots into my vehicle, striking me twice in the left shoulder.

23. In fear of my life now, thinking the defendant was trying to kill me, for no reason at all. I pulled off and drove around the block to Ely Place (3720 Ely Place, SE), to get away from this defendant.

24. I parked my car, while in great pain and bleeding profusely, I got out of my car and walked up the hill, observed two people walking (names unknown) and asked them for help.

25. They refused to help me (probably because of the blood coming from me) I than sat under the stairs by the hall near 3720 Ely Place

26. I than used my cell phone (which was later confiscated) by police to call my cousin (Alfonso Jennings) to come help me, because I was afraid and I told him the police just shot me and I asked him to hurry up and come to me because were now probably looking for me, and I was afraid that they would find me and kill me (reference is being made to defendant P. Davis). So I wanted my cousin to get to me first.

27. And the reason is unknown why defendant P. Davis fired shots into my car striking me. So I could only think the worse, which was that for some unknown reason, he would find me and kill me.

28. By the time my cousin got there to me. I was apprehended by the police. And while being strapped to a carrying wheelchair and being taken to the ambulance, I spotted my cousin behind the news cameras. I was then transported to Howard University Hospital.

29. While at Howard Univ., the doctor (name unknown), said I had an in an out flesh wound, and a bullet was broken up into fragments. (While at Howard Univ., I was never told bullets were still lodged in my arm – please remember)

30. Several hours later, I was released by the doctors, to the care of the police, who took me to Sixth District Police Station, while enroute to said precinct, the transporting officers were making lud, offensive and threatening remarks, (e.g. it was not use who shot you, because if it was us you would be dead). And their tactics and behavior is well known to be [WRTING IS ILLEGIBLE]. And while being transported the officers, the same (name unknown) caused the car to jerk a lot and such movement, which was intentionally not unnecessarily done, reopen my gunshot wound (done by defendant P. Davis) causing it to bleed again.

31. When I reached the South District Police Precinct , I was bleeding profusely, while being processed and standing at the desk. And a different officer said I had to go back to the hospital because I was bleeding heavily.

32. I was than transported to Greater South East Hospital, where my arm was bandaged and I was given more medication, and once again released to the South District Police Officers, who did not transport me to South district police precinct, but transported me to Central Cell-Block, where I was taken to court, and than transported later to D.C. Jail.

33. During processing, it was determined that I was to be housed over at CTF/CCA (where I now at), because of mu gunshot injuries, which was caused by defendant Patrick Davis.

34. While receiving treatment for my arm, here at CTF/CCA, during my admission, an exray of my arm was taken, and I was shown the exray picture of my arm, which captured a bullet and some fragments, from the second bullet. (Which Howard Univ. neglected to treat, detect or inform me of.)

35. Said fragments and bullet still remains in my left shoulder. ….”

A “Prayer for Relief” follows the Statement of Facts with paragraphs number 36 to 41.

On October 27, 2005, Moses M. Bell filed a document informing the court:

“to my knowledge … Patrick Davis know longer works with the 6th District Police Department and I don’t have his address or anywhere about of this officer, all I have is his previous work address which is the 6th District address. “

MOTION TO DISMISS CIVIL COMPLAINT

On December 7, 2005, Defendants the District of Columbia and David Tucker, filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Moses Bell’s Complaint. The grounds for the Motion was “Failure State Claims of Relief”. The reasons given supporting the motion was that Moses Bell’s claims lacked merit, his injuries were not directly related to an established municipal policy nor custom as required by law and that Police Officer David Tucker did not shoot Moses Bell.

MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING DEFENSE MOTION TO DISMISS

On July 10, 2006 United States District Judge James Robertson filed his Memorandum Opinion and an Order of Dismissal of Claims in Civil Action No. 05-13 72 (JR) captioned Moses Bell, Plaintiff v. City of Washington, D.C.., et al. The Court specifically dismissed Bell’s Civil Complaint against the city and police officer David Tucker.

Judge Robertson noted that “Defendant Davis has been dismissed without prejudice because Mr. Bell has failed to provide an address for purpose of service of process.”

The Court adopted the following findings of fact as Background:

“In the afternoon of August 31, 2004, Mr. Bell was at the Greenway Shopping Center, 301 37th Street, S.E., Washington, D.C. when he saw a friend. … He agreed to give his friend a ride to his girlfriend’s residence. … As he was dropping his friend off, Officer Davis approached Mr. Bell’s vehicle on the driver’s side and began shooting at Mr. Bell, striking him twice on the left shoulder. … Fearing for his life, Mr. Bell fled, eventually parking his car, and calling his cousin to pick him up. … Before his cousin could arrive, Mr. Bell was apprehended by the police and transported by ambulance to Howard University Hospital. …

After receiving medical treatment, Mr. Bell was transported by the police, including officer Davis, to the Sixth District station. … En route to the station, the driver, Officer Davis, caused the car to move erratically, which resulted in the reopening of Mr. Bell’s wound. … The police transported Mr. Bell to Greater Southeast Hospital for further treatment and medication. … He was eventually placed into custody at the District of Columbia Central Detention Facility. …”

ONE DEMAND AND LACK OF DEMANDS FOR PAT DAVIS TO RESIGN

Fast forward in time to June 25, 2020 and Pat Davis is President of the Albuquerque City Council elected by the 9-member City Council after winning a second 4-year term as an Albuquerque City Councilor.

On June 25, 2020, ProgressNow New Mexico called for the resignation of City Council President Pat Davis from the City Council, the Bernalillo County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council as well as the Judicial Selection Commission.

What is very disappointing is that The Black Lives Matter movement, no other progressive organization other than ProgresNow, and no stake holder involved with the federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement mandating sweeping APD reforms for use of force and deadly for by APD, have made any demands of Pat Davis to resign. The news media apparently has not sought out their positions on the matter. Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and virtually the entire 9-member Albuquerque City Council have remained silent refusing to even comment when normally the most dangerous place to be is between them and a TV News camera.

City Council President Pat Davis issued a Statement to KOB Channel 4 in response to the calls of ProgressNow demanding his resignation. Following are the relevant portions to the statement given to KOB Channel 4 news followed by a link to the full statement:

“In two elections, voters have sent me to City Hall because I talked authentically and honestly about the problematic training and culture of policing that I was introduced to. I left that job to fix it, and no one will disagree that I’ve been effective implementing changes to do that. …

My evolution, from an officer trained to fight the war on drugs and criminalize communities of poverty and color, into a policy leader … is exactly the type of culture change we want to see in policing across the country, and especially here in Albuquerque.

It is unfortunate that a blogger’s misrepresentation of the facts is gaining attention and being shared, when court records and subsequent legitimate news stories that can be easily factchecked outline a different pattern of facts and conclusion. …

… At a time when we are at the precipice of long overdue changes in policing and racial justice, I regret that we are being distracted by relitigating my past which is not only well documented, but is core to my personal story and the reasons why I have dedicated my life to positive social change.”

— Pat Davis

The link to the full statement is here:

https://www.kob.com/kobtvimages/repository/cs/files/DAVIS%20policing.pdf

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

What is so damn nauseating is when Pat Davis says “It is unfortunate that a blogger’s misrepresentation of the facts is gaining attention and being shared, when court records and subsequent legitimate news stories that can be easily fact checked outline a different pattern of facts and conclusion.” Until now, the only version of the shooting of Moses M. Bell given to the news media is that made by Pat Davis.

This blog article, and quoting Pat Davis, directly quotes “court records … that can be easily factchecked that outline a different pattern of facts and conclusion”. However, those facts and conclusions are totally different to what Pat Davis wants the media and people to know regarding his August 31, 2004 shooting of African American Moses M. Bell when Davis was a Washington, D.C. Police Officer.

One thing is clear: after reading the documents, the shooting of Moses M. Bell by Pat Davis was a “Black Lives Matter” event that Pat Davis has never fully disclosed the detail of and what happened to Mr. Bell after being shot by Davis. What is extremely troubling is the cruel brutality by Pat Davis against Moses M. Bell after he shot Bell and when a Federal Judge included in a court order:

“Mr. Bell was transported by the police, including officer Davis, to the South District station. … En route to the station, the driver, Officer Davis, caused the car to move erratically, which resulted in the reopening of Mr. Bell’s wound. … The police transported Mr. Bell to Greater Southeast Hospital for further treatment and medication.”

COMPARING WORDS TO ACTIONS

Pat Davis issued a statement to the media in June, 2020 after ProgressNow demanded his resignation from the City Council and said:

“The defendant’s civil suit for violations against the police department and officers involved was dismissed by the court. Court records make clear that I was never even served notice of the lawsuit.”

In other words, Pat Davis admitted he knew Moses M. Bell had filed civil lawsuit over his shooting of Bell, but Davis was never served with the civil complaint as he left Washington, D.C. and the complaint was dismissed on a technicality. Most disturbing, it has never been reported if Pat Davis was ever disciplined for his conduct as a D.C. Police Officer for shooting Moses M. Bell and if the shooting was the real reasons he left or if he was asked to leave the D.C. Police Force. Davis has never been held accountable for his excessive use of force and deadly force against Moses M. Bell. Davis has never been held accountable for the brutality he inflicted on Bell after he was arrested and drove a vehicle erratically causing Moses Bell’s gunshot wounds to reopen.

DAVIS CONTINUED WITH PATTERN OF CONDUCT WHEN HE CAME TO NEW MEXICO

Pat Davis in his June, 2020 statement to the media said:

“I talked authentically and honestly about the problematic training and culture of policing that I was introduced to. I left that job to fix it …”

It’s true Pat Davis left his job as a Washington, D.C. Police Officer and that he came to New Mexico. It is not true he left his job as a cop in Washing D.C. to fix the “training and culture of policing that [he was] was introduced to.” The truth is once Pat Davis arrived to New Mexico, his first job was as a UNM Campus Police Officer. Davis was employed as a Lieutenant and he trained UNM Campus Police.

As a UNM Campus Police Officer, Davis engaged in a nefarious pattern of civil rights violations. There are at least two civil lawsuits filed in New Mexico involving 5 people who sued Davis for false arrest and imprisonment, negligence and civil rights violations. The two cases are civil actions filed in 2007 and 2008, one in federal court and the other in state district court.

In one case, Davis, along with 20 other police officers, stormed a home to execute a “sealed search warrant”, broke into the home and caused $20,000 in property damaged searching the home where they found nothing. In the other case, UNM Police Officer Pat Davis along with two other UNM Police officers essentially coerced two women to allow searches of their homes, located in Corrales, for marijuana and illicit drugs without court approved search warrants. One woman, who worked for UNM, asked Davis to produce a search warrant and she was told she would be “ratted out” to UNM officials if she did not cooperate. Review of the cases can be found at this link:

https://www.petedinelli.com/2020/06/22/city-councilor-pat-davis-needs-to-step-down-to-atone-for-his-own-black-lives-matter-moment-and-violations-of-peoples-civil-rights-as-a-police-officer/

UNM has never disclosed the reasons why Pat Davis left UNM and ostensibly no one in the media has asked UNM. What is known is that Davis went to work for then District Attorney Kari Brandenburg to be the Bernalillo County District Attorney spokesperson.

Although no other organizations have asked Davis to step down, no progressive organization has come to his defense nor has any other elected official come to his defense. Not a single City Councilor has gone to the defense of Pat Davis nor has Mayor Tim Keller. The fact that Mayor Tim Keller’s and Councilor Pat Davis’ paid political campaign consultant Alan Packman now works for the City’s 911 call center may explain why Mayor Keller has been silent on Pat Davis resigning from the council.

PAT DAVIS THE NEWLY MINTED APD REFORMER

You can only get nauseous when Davis proclaims in his statement “no one will disagree that I’ve been effective implementing changes” in reference to the Albuquerque Police Department. On November 27, 2014, the City and the Department of Justice entered into the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) mandating 276 reforms for APD. Pat Davis was first elected to the City Council in October, 2015.

For the last 6 years, APD has been struggling to implement all 276 police reforms. Each time the Federal Court appointed Monitor presented his critical reports of APD to the City Council, Pat Davis remained silent and was absolutely nowhere to be found. Throughout his years on the City Council, Davis has never said anything remotely critical of APD until the June, 2020 protest involving the Onate statue. He declined to demand accountability from the prior Republican Mayor and hold the APD command staff responsible for dragging their feet on the reforms. Davis failed to attend any one of the federal court hearings on the consent decree.

Only since the May 25, 2020 killing of African American George Floyd, 46, by a Minneapolis police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck to subdue him, has Davis decided to get involved with APD police reform revealing what an opportunistic politician he truly is and demanding hearings on APD. Now that APD is once again embroiled in controversy with the handing of the recent protests, Davis steps in and advocates changes and reforms to APD’s structure and management and is calling for City Council hearings he intends to preside over as City Council President no doubt to garner the publicity as a police reformer and to condemn APD for the very type of conduct he himself has never been held accountable for during his years as a police officer.

PAT DAVIS SHOULD ASK FOR RELEASE OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS INVESTIGATION ON HIS SHOOTING OF MOSES M. BELL

When Davis says “In two elections, voters have sent me to City Hall because I talked authentically and honestly” the message he is conveying is he has been vetted and forgiven for past mistakes by the voters because he won the two elections. Davis is seriously mistaken and is a fool if he thinks that way, and so are his political allies on the City Council and in Mayor Tim Keller’s office. Many people of nefarious reputation have been elected to positions of authority, even a President of the United States. Election vetting and even a pardon does not absolve any one from serious misconduct,especially conduct they hide and they have never been held accountable for it.

In order for Pat Davis to “talk authentically and honestly” about his shooting of Moses M. Bell, City Councilor Pat Davis needs to execute a release and waiver asking that his Internal Affairs Investigation of his use of deadly force be released and if there was any finding that the use of deadly force was justified. Further, Pat Davis can and should seek the United States Attorney’s Office to release any recommendations it made to a grand jury to charge Pat Davis for the shooting of Moses M. Bell and confirm if Davis was sent a target letter notifying him he was the subject of a grand jury investigation.

FINAL COMMENTARY

Fake news is “no news reporting” and it is happening in Albuquerque when it comes to Pat Davis past conduct as a police officer. Davis’ past conduct is extremely important given what is happening nationally with the Black Live Matter movement and with APD still under a federal court consent decree entered into after a finding of a culture of agression within APD and the excessive use of force and deadly force by APD. It is a reflection of pure laziness by the local news media who seem to have the need to be spoon fed news and who fail to do due diligence in their reporting. The local news media’s refusal to investigate City Council President Pat Davis on their own and ask him the hard questions about what he did to Moses M. Bell amounts to dereliction of duty owed to their viewers and readers.

Pat Davis says in his statement:

“I regret that we are being distracted by relitigating my past which is not only well documented, but is core to my personal story and the reasons why I have dedicated my life to positive social change.”

Davis says he regrets being distracted, but does not apologize for what he did to Mosses M. Bell nor all the others he has brutalized. What is really regrettable and at the core to the personal story of Pat Davis is his shameful refusal to accept and to dodge responsibility and be held accountable for his past conduct and his pattern of violating people’s civil rights as a police officer.

Given what is known about City Councilor Pat Davis, his actions as a police officer, his litigation history, his credibility is in serious doubt as are his political motives. The real Pat Davis, and his lack of respect for constitutional rights are revealed by his pattern of conduct he engaged in for years, first as a D. C. Police Officer and then as a UNM Police Officer where he was sued for his conduct and cases settled. Pat Davis has no business making decisions regarding police reforms, law enforcement policy let alone be involved in the process deciding how APD should be reformed under the Federal Court consent decree.

Pat Davis has refused to step down as City Council President and is refusing to resign as a city councillor. The City Council needs to replace him, otherwise they look like fools they are in the eyes of the general public if they do not act. They are protecting one of their own. At a bare minimum, Pat Davis or any other City Councilor who voted for him to make him President need to ask for another vote and get on record if he should continue to serve as President now that the truth has come out on his actions as a police officer.

The very last thing that this city and its police department needs is for Pat Davis to serve in any positions of trust, especially as City Council President, as someone who has said in the past that he has “made arrests and instigated some encounters I wouldn’t be proud of today” and who has engaged in “brutalization … of those who [he was] supposed to protect and serve.”

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LINKS TO RELATED BLOG ARTICLES:

City Councilor Pat Davis Needs To Step Down To Atone For His Own “Black Lives Matter” Moment And Violations Of Peoples Civil Rights As A Police Officer

ProgressNow New Mexico Statement on Councilor Davis’ Shooting of a Black Man and Pattern of Upholding Racist Institutions; Calls For His Multiple Resignations

Pat Davis Shooting A Black Man As DC Cop Only Part Of Story; Davis Engaged In Pattern Of Civil Rights Violations As A UNM Cop Costing Taxpayers Thousands

The “Spin Doctor Pat Davis” Is Not “Authentic And Honest” As He Proclaims; City Councilors Protecting One Of Their Own Looking The Other Way; Take Another Vote To Decide If Davis Should Remain As President

New Mexico’s Disgraceful Legacy Of Being Dead Last In Child Well Being Continues, Despite Gov. MLG’s Pledge To End Child Poverty Within One Year; New Child Well Being Agency Major Step To End The Disgrace

The Kids Count Data Book is published annually by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a nonprofit that tracks the status of children in the United States. The evaluation examines the percentage of children in poverty, the share of fourth graders proficient in reading and a variety of other factors such as economic well-being and health care.

The 2018 and 2019 Kid’s Count Data Reports revealed just how bad things became for New Mexico’s children under the previous Republican Governor “She Who Must Not Be Named”. The trend is continuing under the leadership of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, despite her June 16, 2019 promise to end child hunger within a year.

Notwithstanding New Mexico’s dead last ranking in child wellbeing, a huge step forward was made by Governor Lujan Grisham in dealing with early childhood development. On July 1, the state launched its new Early Childhood Education and Care Department. The new department is charged with preparing kids for school, promoting healthy families and developing a labor force to carry out the agency’s work.

2020 KIDS COUNT DATA BOOK RELEASED

The 2020 Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation ranks New Mexico in last place for a third year in a row. New Mexico was also ranked 50th in 2019, 2018 and before that ranked 50th in 2013.

The Kids Count Data Book rankings are based on 16 indicators under four major domains:

1. Economic well-being
2. Education
3. Health and
4. Family and community.

Much of the “new data” in the 2020 Kids Count Data Book is from 2018, which is the most recent data available. The data book provides comparisons with the 2018 data and the 2017 data book. What the data does not reflect are how the pandemic and economic slowdown have affected the data.

James Jimenez, executive director of New Mexico Voices for Children, which runs the state Kids Count program had this to say:

“[The data reflects] 10 years of stingy state budgets under previous administrations that starved our schools, courts, health care and other services. … We were able to undo some of that damage during the 2019 and 2020 legislative sessions, but how lawmakers respond to the current recession will determine whether those gains are sustained.”

Amber Wallin, the Deputy Director of New Mexico Voices for Children stated that the good news is that the state is beginning to see improvements in a number of the major areas as a result of major investment that have a direct impact on children. Those areas include early childhood education and child care programs.

WHAT THE 2020 REPORT DATA REVEALED

The Kids Count Data Book reports on children ages 18 and younger. According to 2018 census data, there are 540,084 children in New Mexico. Over a majority of the improvements reported are slight compared with the previous year. It is the overall improvement over the past 10 years that is more dramatic.

According to Deputy Director of NM Voices for Children, the indicator of children living in poverty showed an improvement of just 1% point, from 27% in 2017 to 26% in 2018. The national average is 18%. The 26% of children living in poverty results in New Mexico being the second-worst in the nation, with 124,000 kids living in poverty. This is far better than the 154,000 kids who lived in poverty in 2010.

Other major data highlights in 2020 Kids Count Data Book worth noting include:

The percentage of fourth graders not proficient at their reading level worsened from 75% to 76%, well above the national average of 66%.

The percentage of eighth graders not proficient in math improved from 80% to 79%, still worse than the national average of 67%.

The rate of high school students not graduating on time improved from 29% in 2017 to 27% in 2018 but remains worse than the national average of 15%.

Children living in single-parent families dropped from 45% to 41%, higher than the national average of 35%.

Children living in high poverty areas dropped from 24% to 21%, still more than twice the national average of 10%.

The death rate from all causes among children and teens age 18 and younger increased from 32 per 100,000 deaths to 34 per 100,000, higher than the national average of 25.

The teen birthrate fell from 28 per 1,000 births to 25 per 1,000 births, higher than the national average of 17 births per 1,000.

Replacing the indicator for teens who abuse drugs or alcohol is a new indicator: teens who are overweight or obese, which increased from 30% in 2017 to 32% in 2018, slightly more than the national average of 30%.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1468836/nm-again-ranks-last-in-child-wellbeing.html?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook&fbclid=IwAR1d1Yze1jEttTcEZJIb9mdwo-ATrROZfS7FFGKRHLrF1yyHpr6r5L9tW5w#Echobox=1592918963

WHAT THE 2019 REPORT DATA REVEALED

On June 17, 2019, the 30th edition of the Kids Count report was released. For the third time in seven years, New Mexico came in dead last out of 50 states for child well-being. The state was ranked 50th in 2016, again in 2017 and now in 2018 continuing in to 2019 and again now again in 2020.

According to the 2019 study, Louisiana was ranked 49th this year, bumping Mississippi up to 48th. Not at all surprising, it is New Mexico’s widespread poverty and lagging education among Native American and rural Hispanics that brings down the state’s overall rankings.

2019 ECONOMIC WELL BEING

Under the rating category for economic well-being indicators, the 2019 statistics break down as follows:

27% of New Mexico children are living in poverty which was a 3% improvement from last year.

28% of New Mexico children live in homes where an unusually large portion of family income goes toward housing costs, a 4% percentage point improvement.

36% of New Mexico children live in homes where parents lack secure employment which is virtually the same from last year.

10% of teens are neither working nor attending school, up 1% point from the previous year.

2019 EDUCATION INDICATORS

Under education indicators, not much has changed from the 2018 report. The following statistics were reported for 2019:

56% of young children are not in school, a 1% point improvement.

75% of fourth graders are not proficient in reading, unchanged from the previous year.

80% of eighth graders are not proficient in math, unchanged from the previous year.

29% of high school students do not graduate on time, unchanged from the previous year.

HEALTH INDICATORS:

Under health indicators, the following statistics were reported for 2019:

9.5% of babies are born with low birth weight, a half percentage point worse than last year.

5% of children have no health insurance, unchanged from the previous year.

There are 32 child and teen deaths per 100,000 which is a 1 percentage point improvement.

6% of teens report abusing drugs or alcohol, a 1 percentage point improvement.

FAMILY AND COMMUNITY INDICATORS

Under Family and Community Indicators the following statistics were reported for 2019:

45% of children live in single-parent families, a 3% increase from last year.

16% of children live in families where the head of household lacks a high school diploma, a 2% increase from last year.

24% of children live in homes in high poverty areas of the state, 2% worse than last year.

28 babies are born to teens per 1,000 births, a 2% point improvement over last year.

OVER A YEAR AGO GOVERNOR MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM PROMISES TO END CHILD HUNGER

On Wednesday, June 26, 2019, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham gave the keynote address at the annual “Kids Count Conference” organized by the nonprofit New Mexico Voices for Children and spoke to 500 people gathered for the conference.

During her key note address, Governor Lujan Grisham promised to end child hunger within one year by saying:

“We will look poverty in the face … It is an evil in our state, and it must be dealt a death blow. … Maybe that’s too high of a goal, I don’t care. … New Mexico needs to institute universal food security services and programs in this state and every single philanthropic partner has to be dedicated to making sure no child in this state will ever go hungry again, and I don’t care if it’s a universal snap program. … [It’s going to take] a “wrap around approach” [to fix problems created by the previous administration]. [The national Kids Count ranking] are not indicative, however, of who we are, and they are not indicative of what we are capable of. I unequivocally reject the notion that this is the way it will be because this is the way it has been. … Being 50th in anything is unacceptable … but when our children are at risk, it makes me sick in the pit of my stomach.”

Governor Lujan Grisham said at the time she hoped to organize efforts by philanthropic groups and public agencies to get groceries to hungry New Mexicans, especially children and told the conference:

“Every single person can do something.”

During her keynote speech, Governor Lujan Grisham announced that the state’s Children Youth and Families Department (CYFD) receives about 900 referrals a month in Albuquerque alone. According to the Governor, the referrals usually detail allegations of child abuse and neglect. The governor said the state only has enough people to investigate 200 of those case.

For news media coverage see the below links:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1333618/governor-poverty-an-evil-in-our-state.html

https://www.kob.com/new-mexico-news/gov-lujan-grisham-aims-to-end-child-hunger-in-nm-within-a-year/5404065/

https://www.petedinelli.com/2019/07/01/nms-disgraceful-legacy-of-child-hunger-illiteracy-and-well-being-gov-michelle-lujan-grishams-goal-to-ending-child-hunger-within-one-year/

https://www.petedinelli.com/?s=child+wellbeing&submit=Search

NEW EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND CARE DEPARTMENT

On Wednesday, July 1, the Governor Lujan Grisham administration launched its new Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD). The new department is charged with preparing children for school, promoting healthy families and developing a labor force to carry out the agency’s work. Creation of the new department was a major priority of Governor Lujan Grisham during the 2019 legislative session where it won approval. The agency formally began operation on July 1, the start of the 2021 fiscal year. About 270 employees from other departments were transferred into the new one. The sponsors of the legislation were Democratic Senator Michael Padilla of Albuquerque and Representative Linda Trujillo of Santa Fe.

New Mexico is 1 of just 4 states with a stand-alone department dedicated to services targeting children through age 5. The initial operating budget for the new department is $419 million for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. The new department is tasked with overseeing the state’s growing investment in prekindergarten, home visiting programs for new parents, childcare and similar services that previously were scattered across several departments. One of the key goals is to better coordinate the state’s network of early childhood services by housing them in one department rather than having them overseen separately by other departments.

Elizabeth Groginsky has been appointed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham as the new Cabinet Secretary for the ECECD. She has been an education executive and researcher for a number of years who has worked in Colorado and Washington, D.C. before coming to New Mexico. Groginsky was hired last year by Lujan-Grisham last year to prepare for the transition. Also appointed as Deputy Secretary is Jennifer Duran-Sallee, former director of the Early Childhood Center of Excellence at Santa Fe Community College.

Groginsky told the Albquerque Journal that the state is not getting the results it wants out of some of its early childhood programs. The new agency offers a good opportunity to design new programs and even revise old ones to ensure the state gets the kind of return on investment that research shows high-quality programs can generate. According to Groginsky:
“Whenever you’re starting a new department you want to make sure it’s really going to make a difference.”

WHERE TO BEGIN

According to analysts for the Legislative Finance Committee (LFC) New Mexico, along with being is one of the poorest states in the nation, has one of the nation’s highest rates of maltreatment of kids through age 5 a critical period of brain development. Analysts for the LFC said in a 2019 report that New Mexico is getting mixed results in its early childhood initiatives. The LFC analyst said prekindergarten programs have been successful at improving academic outcomes that last through 11th grade, but the LFC analysts questioned the effectiveness of other programs and warned about a lack of coordination.

Early childhood educators and advocates are saying the immediate priority for the new department is developing the workforce. Child care employees and teachers work with children at a critical point in their brain development but aren’t paid as well as they should be. Lori Martinez, a social worker and executive director of Ngage New Mexico, an education group based in Doña Ana County put is this way:

“Our child care workers are some of the most underpaid workers, and yet in this crisis, they’re some of the people we’ve relied on the most.”

Hope Morales, New Mexico executive director of Teach Plus and a former teacher in Roswell, said the state has worked to expand the availability of early childhood programs but should now focus on improving their quality and said:

“Having access to an effective teacher should be non-negotiable.”

Some leaders in the early childhood field already are crediting the department’s leadership for effective communication in recent months. Crystal Tapia, owner of Noah’s Ark Children’s Academy in Albuquerque and an early childhood consulting company had this to say:

“We’ve never had that open line of communication with any other Cabinet secretary. ”

https://www.abqjournal.com/1471870/new-early-childhood-agency-begins-work.html

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY

The creation of the new Early Childhood Education and Care Department is long overdue, but is has tremendous potential in investing in New Mexico’s future that promises the biggest returns: our children. The new department will focus state resources on children from birth to 5 years of age. A major goal of the new department, coupled with other investments, will be more New Mexico children growing up to secure gainful employment as adults who don’t require government services.

The rankings and financial numbers relating to New Mexico’s children are depressing and staggering with some downright disgraceful and are again worth highlighting:

New Mexico ranks 50th for at risk of childhood in hunger and “food insecurity.”

New Mexico is dead last among states when it comes to the economic, educational and medical well-being of children.

Children living in high poverty areas is 21%, more than twice the national average of 10%.

26% of New Mexico kids live in poverty while the national average is 18%

The percentage of fourth graders not proficient at their reading level 76% well above the national average of 66%.

The percentage of eighth graders not proficient in math 79% and the national average of 67%.

The rate of high school students not graduating on time is 27% and is the worse than the national average of 15%.

There is a direct correlation between a family’s overall income and child well being. When employment rates go up, child well being also goes up. In the 2019 dramatic 16% increase in the education budget, the creation of the Department of Early Childhood, the $36.5 million increase for the understaffed Children, Youth and Families Department which includes funding for 102 new social workers for the agency’s child’s Protective Services Division, and the decline in New Mexico’s unemployment rate, reflected that tremendous progress was being made towards improving the future of New Mexico’s Children. Now that progress may be in serious jeopardy because of the pandemic, our failing economy and the billions lost in revenue from the bust of the state’s oil boom.

CONCLUSION

Things have change dramatically with the coronavirus pandemic and the loss of billions in revenues from New Mexico Oil and gas industry. What has not change and what still remains a major crisis in New Mexico is the state’s child well being and our poverty.

No doubt many will say Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s promise to end child hunger within one year was not at all realistic. At least Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham made real commitments and are now being kept with the creation of Early Childhood Education and Care Department. The is a far cry from what former Republican Governor “She Whose Name Must Not Be Mentioned” whose favorite photo op for 8 years was reading to children their children’s books no doubt not disclosing those very children could not read because of the way she decimated our educational system.

Governor Lujan Grisham no doubt realizes voters will hold her to her promises to children well-being , but even if it takes her entire 4 years in office to end child hunger and improve New Mexico’s rankings in child well being, so be it and her legacy will last generations.

It will take time before New Mexico’s public education system will get better and our child wellbeing ranking made any better. For that reason, the debate over using a small portion of the state’s $17 billion Land Grant Permanent fund for early childhood education, care and intervention needs to continue. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham should continue her efforts to give major attention to use of the State’s Land Grant and Permanent Fund to finally solve many of our early childhood education, care and intervention problems. However, it will also take a real commitment by the New Mexico Legislature to realize the crisis is real and now is the time to act.

Our kids’ lives, health, education and future depend on it.