On Thursday, July 30, the progressive activist organization OLÉ, New Mexico called for the resignation of Albuquerque City Councilor President Pat Davis. OLÉ New Mexico is the second progressive organization in a little over a month that has called for Pat Davis to resign. On June 25, ProgressNow issued a call for the resignation of City Council President Pat Davis to resign from the City Council and other positions of trust, including the New Mexico Courts of Appeals Judicial Selection commission. (Editor’s Note: You can read the Progressive Now resignation demand in the postscript below.)
Following is the full resignation demand issued by OLÉ New Mexico:
Headline: On Power, Lessons Learned, & Speaking Up
OLÉ, July 30, 2020
The word requires all of the mouth muscles and a force of breath when spoken aloud. Strong consonants and vowels to create this two-syllable sound. Power. There is so much meaning attached to power, so much time invested in attaining power, so much energy resisting power. There is also the long-term task of building power, and when we build power, we must reconcile what we give up along the way.
It is often clear who wants to keep Black and Brown people from building power. Policy makers who put corporations over people.
OLÉ is an organization committed to building power with Black and Brown communities. We organize with workers, early educators, new citizens, and those fighting for an inclusive democracy. Building power among Black and Brown communities is a slow process — one that is often impeded by larger forces who use their power to silence our communities. That silence happens through police violence and mass incarceration, stripping away voting rights, stripping away workers’ rights (and most often not even recognizing them) and keeping our communities poor, sick and hungry.
It is often clear who wants to keep Black and Brown people from building power. Policy makers who put corporations over people, those who vote in favor of their largest donors and those who use policy to enshrine white supremacy and patriarchy. Those who are blatantly against Black and Brown people are easy to spot, and we work to hold them accountable, take them out of their positions of power and make space for people from our communities. When there are people who are supposed to be “with us,” however, it is harder to recognize their resistance to Black and Brown communities building power, but the same sabotage exists.
We are in a moment in time that will be looked back upon as one of the most important moments in the 21st century. In the midst of a global pandemic, there is an uprising led by Black people who have endured state sponsored violence for centuries. While Black communities have resisted throughout history, this moment is the biggest in this nation’s history. What is unique about this moment is that while Black communities are leading, we see Indigenous and People of Color joining the uprising with the acute knowledge that our liberation is tied to each other and fueled by resistance to anti-Black and anti-Indigenous practices and policies. To be silent in this moment is to be complicit with white supremacy, and OLÉ will not be complicit.
When our colleagues at ProgressNow New Mexico released a statement calling for the resignation of city councilor Pat Davis, OLÉ arrived at a moment of reckoning. It is no secret that our organization endorsed Pat Davis -twice- in his bid for city council, despite our misgivings. In his first bid, we were uneasy that the only “progressive” in the race was a white, cis-gendered man running to represent the most diverse district in the city.
In his second bid for city council, we were less than impressed with his performance as a councilor. Between Councilor Davis not challenging the Republican effort to rig an unfair election on the sick days ballot initiative, supporting the Berry administration with other development projects such as the disastrous A.R.T. and feeling like we didn’t have a solid relationship with him, we were not sure how to proceed. Councilor Davis also did some good work on the council and we figured our shaky relationship was better than no relationship, so we made the decision to endorse both Davis and his opponent, Gina Dennis, a Black woman in her first bid for city office. We made a mistake in doing so.
We have learned the hard way that proximity to power is not the same thing as building power.
We have made the grave mistake of silence which translates to complicity. We, in good conscience, cannot stand with the Movement for Black Lives and be silent about Councilor Davis’s past as a police officer who shot a Black man, or the serious complaints against him when he was an officer with UNM police. We cannot sit idly by and watch Black and Brown workers be exposed to the risks of Covid-19 and receive nothing — no hazard pay, no paid sick leave.
Councilor Davis, along with Councilors Bassan, Borrego, Gibson, Harris, Jones, and Peña, voted against hazard pay after telling our members -essential workers — that he would be with them and support these measures.
The fact that Councilor Davis, as president of the council, has not made paid sick leave a priority during a global pandemic signals to our members that no, in fact, he is not with them. One cannot claim solidarity with Immigrant communities and utter the words “Black Lives Matter” and then do nothing to ensure that the very policies that would save Black and Brown lives pass the council.
We recognize that, as is the case when speaking out against powerful people, we risk losing any kind of policy gains that we have been working toward for five years, but a win cloaked in silence is not a trade-off we are willing to make. There is a deep rooted, systemic problem on city council, one where Black and Brown people in our city bear the brunt of the council’s unwillingness to serve them, and one where city councilors say one thing, and have quite obviously done the opposite.
While we join our colleagues’ call for Councilor Davis to resign his seat, he has already been clear that he is not going to do so, and there have been a few people who have publicly defended him and his politics. We are not interested in engaging in a litmus test to gauge one’s progressiveness, because Councilor Davis’s ideology is not the issue — it’s his actions, and in the case of sick leave and hazard pay, inaction that are the issues at hand.
As the debate over and defense of Councilor Davis continues, workers are still exposed to COVID-19 without paid sick leave and hazard pay, and now families face eviction and unemployment. Our energy will be used to organize and win on these issues, despite the council politics that have blocked passage over and over again.
As our communities build power, we learn that true change comes from our people, not the nine councilors on the dais, who are always up for re-election.”
The link to the OLÉ New Mexico statement is here:
DEMANDS FOR RESIGNATION
It was on June 25, ProgressNow issued a call for City Council President Pat Davis to resign from the City Council and other positions of trust, including the New Mexico Courts of Appeals Judicial Selection commission. (See postscript to this article.)
ProgressNow demanded Pat Davis to resign over his shooting of a black man when Davis was a Washington, DC Police Officer and his pattern of upholding racist institutions and unconstitutional policing practices as a UNM Campus Police Officer. The significance of the demand for resignation is that City Councilor Par Davis is the former and founding Director of ProgressNow. Pat Davis holds himself out as a former cop who is the most progressive member of the city council advocating police reform.
On Thursday, June 25, New Mexico State Senator Jacob Candelaria, who is an attorney, tweeted at jacobcandelaria@SenCandelaria:
“Pat Davis is part of the problem. He does not share our values. He should not be trusted with leadership in our community.”
It is known that a number of prominent trial attorneys did contact the Governor’s Office to complain about the Pat Davis appointment to the Courts of Appeals Judicial Selection Commission. On Friday, June 26, an email was received by www.PeteDinelli.com that reported Pat Davis was no longer on any Judicial Selection Commission as a Governor’s appointee. As is the custom when any removal from the Judicial Selection Commission, no reasons were given for Davis to be removed. No reason for the removal of anyone is ever given ostensibly for plausible deniability for just cause to avoid embarrassment to anyone removed from such commissions. The email message did say it was a “one-time cyle” appointment. Appointments to the Judicial selection commission normally are held over as vacancies occur.
LEGISLATORS DEFEND PAT DAVIS
On July 17, the Albuquerque Journal published a guest column by State Senator Mimi Stewart and Representative Debbie Sarinana essentially saying “forgive and forget” and “he is one of us now”. You can read the entire letter at this link:
The letter to the Albuquerque Journal by State Senator Mimi Stewart and Representative Debbie Sarinana states in part:
“It is disappointing the new leaders of groups like ProgressNow did not stop to study the source of attacks on an ally, which was discredited by the Albuquerque Journal and Associated Press, or to understand the story of reform from former Republicans like Davis who now proudly carry the progressive flag. Ironically, those groups know of Davis’ story because he has so courageously recounted in countless policy fights for criminal justice reform and social equity. On police reform in particular, shouldn’t we support the voices of those most impacted with that of former officers trained in those tactics, like Pat, who cross the thin blue line and organize with those fighting for change?”
What is truly disappointing is the the legislator’s false narrative that the new leaders of ProgressNow did not stop to study the source of attacks on an ally and say the source of attacks were discredited by the Albuquerque Journal and Associated Press. That is simply not true and both legislators know it. ProgressNow actually examined the facts and circumstances of Davis’s conduct as a Washington, D. C. cop and as a UNM Campus police cop. In their June 25 statement entitled “ProgressNow New Mexico Statement on Councilor Davis’ Shooting of a Black Man and Pattern of Upholding Racist Institutions” wrote in part:
“This week, new details have surfaced regarding former ProgressNow New Mexico Executive Director and Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis’ shooting of a Black man while working as a cop in Washington D.C. … 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.”
It is truly embarrassing and laughable when Stewart and Sarinana ask “shouldn’t we support the voices of those most impacted with that of former officers trained in those tactics, like Pat, who cross the thin blue line and organize with those fighting for change?” One of those voices most impacted by Davis’s conduct is an African American who was shot twice by Davis without provocation when he was a D.C. cop. Davis victimized him again when he took him into custody and drove erratically resulting in the gunshot wounds to reopen. Then there are the 6 victims in New Mexico who were victims of his conduct as a UNM campus cop. Those voices impacted by Davis include 2 single woman who were the targets of unconstitutional searches of their homes in Corrales, NM, where Davis had no jurisdiction and who Davis coerced into allowing a search of their homes and causing tremendous damages. It is not at all likely that the 7 victims and voices impacted by Davis are as forgiving.
Stewart and Sarinana with their letter are clearly trying to make Pat Davis out as some sort of a hero to the Democratic Party when they say Davis is the “story of reform from former Republicans like Davis who now proudly carry the progressive flag.” With Pat Davis “proudly carrying the progressive flag” comes embarrassment to the Democratic party that the party has no one else better than a former Republican cop who brutalized citizens and now claims to be a “reformed former cop”.
DAVIS PLANNING ON GOING NO WHERE
Within days after the demand for resignation, City Council Pat Davis went into overdrive to defend his new found “progressive philosophy and record”. Davis tried to discredit court pleadings that documented his nefarious conduct of unconstitutional practices as a police officer and proclaiming he had changed and his constituents knew of his past. The truth is that Pat Davis never disclosed the fact that the person he shot twice was an African American nor did he ever disclose the New Mexico civil rights cases resulting in thousands paid to settle the cases.
Davis did interviews on local talk shows, such as KKOB with T.J. Trout and local new outlets to respond and solicit supporters to speak out and defend his record. Davis also attempted to discredit the African American Moses Bell’s version of the shooting arguing he was convicted of a crime. Davis did not disclose the African American plead guilty of “possession of a firearm” and that the evidence did not support “assault and battery” on a police officer as was alleged by Pat Davis.
Davis made it clear to one and all and to the news media he would not resign and issued a press release that said in part:
“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 who has decriminalized marijuana, passed sanctuary city legislation, and passed laws giving sweeping new civilian oversight powers over APD, is exactly the type of culture change we want to see in policing across the country, and especially here in Albuquerque. … “
WHY THE OLÉ, NEW MEXICO DEMAND FOR RESIGNATION MATTERS
The 4 most respected and most dominate progressive organizations in New Mexico politics are Progress Now New Mexico, OLE (New Mexico) the New Mexico Working Families Party and the Center for Civic Values. Although all 4 organizations are very active in local and state politics, they are not officially affiliated in any manner with the Democratic Party of New Mexico, but consistently support and advocate for the election progressive Democrats .
The organizations also oppose conservative Democrats. During this year’s 2020 primary election, OLÉ New Mexico, the New Mexico Working Families Party, the Center for Civic Action and Progress Now New Mexico formed the “No Corporate Democrats Community Organization” and targeted for removal the following powerful and conservative leaning Democrat New Mexico State Senators:
Democrat Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Arthur Smith of Deming
Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen of Las Cruces
Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee Chairman Clemente Sanchez of Grants
Senate Finance Committee Vice Chairman George Muñoz of Gallup
Senator Gabriel Ramos of Silver City, Chairman of Senate Indian and Cultural Affairs.
The opposition to all 5 Senate Democrats was brought on by all 5 Senators cooperation with the Republican Senate minority to defeat major progressive initiatives in the State Senate. One example was their opposition to allocate more money from the state’s Land Grant Permanent Fund and Severance Tax Permanent Fund to finance early childhood programs. Another example is that all 5 voted against the abortion rights measure in 2019 that would have repealed a 1969 anti-abortion law that no doubt will become law again if Roe v. Wade is reversed by the United States Supreme Court.
All 5 Democrats were accused by the coalition of not listening to the people who voted them in and listening instead to well-connected corporate interests. All 5 democrats strongly dispute the arguments saying they represented their districts well and understood what their constituent’s want and their demands.
Senators Smith, Papen, Sanchez and Ramos all lost their primary bids while Senator George Muñoz won his and the New Mexico State Senate is no longer controlled by a conservative coalition of all Republicans and a 5 conservative Democrats.
THE HEART AND SOUL OF NEW MEXICO PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT
Many believe that Progress Now New Mexico, OLÉ (New Mexico), the New Mexico Working Families Party and the Center for Civic Values are the “heart art and sole” of the progressive movement in New Mexico. Given the success of the 4 progressive organizations, an examination of each merits review:
PROGRESSNOW NEW NEXICO
According to its web page, “ProgressNow New Mexico is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots communications and advocacy organization working to unite, empower, and enhance the progressive voice in [New Mexico]. … [It] functions as a progressive communications hub and [its] mission centers on the promotion of progressive issues and policies, correcting conservative misinformation, and holding elected officials and corporations accountable. … ProgressNow New Mexico [proclaims] it provides a unified voice for progressive groups on the issues that matter most to New Mexicans … [and that is] accomplished … by providing issue and opinion research, message development, and one-on-one technical assistance to progressive groups [and candidates].
Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis once served as the full time paid Executive Director of Progress Now New Mexico and stepped down to run for City Council and later run for congress.
OLÉ (NEW MEXICO)
OLÉ is a non-profit that uses grassroots organizing within the local community of working families in New Mexico that is Albuquerque based. Its members and staff “work together to strengthen communities through social advocacy and economic reform, using issue-based campaigns and electoral engagement to ensure that working families are playing a critical role in shaping New Mexico’s future with a united voice.” Ole gathered signatures to put “Dollars for Democracy” on the ballot and contributed cash for passage of the initiative. “Democracy Dollars” would have implemented a $25 dollar city voucher program to all residents of the city to donate to municipal candidates of their choosing. Ole also endorsed and made cash donations to Tim Keller’s measured finance committee for Mayor.
NEW MEXICO WORKING FAMILIES PARTY
The New Mexico Working Families Party is not an official political party in New Mexico, as it is in other states. Instead, the organization advocates for candidates and issues. In 2018, the Working Families endorsed and financially helped candidates running for federal, state and legislative races in New Mexico. All of those candidates were Democrats. According to the New Mexico Political Reports, the group is interested in defeating Democrats who are more concerned with their party as an institution and “not as a vehicle for change.”
Working Families endorsed candidates include Democrats 1st Congressional District candidate Deb Haaland, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, New Mexico State Land Office commissioner candidate Stephanie Garcia Richard and Tim Keller for Mayor. The Working Families also advocated for passage of the failed ballot initiative known as “Democracy Dollars” that would have implemented a city voucher program to give all residents $25 dollar vouchers to donate to municipal candidates of their choosing. Former Albuquerque City Councilor and Former New Mexico State Senator Eric Griego is the Executive Director of New Mexico Working Families and is know to be a strong ally of Mayor Tim Keller and City Councilors Pat Davis and Isaac Benton.
According to finance reports filed with the Albuquerque City Clerk’s office in 2019, the Working Families Party donated $80,000 to the failed “Democracy Dollars” ballot initiative. In the 2017, the Working Families Party raised and spent thousands on Mayor Tim Keller’s behalf to get him elected Mayor. Before the runoff for Mayor between Democrat Tim Keller and Republican Dan Lewis, there were 8 candidates running for Mayor including progressive Democrats Brian Colon and Gus Pedrotty.
ProgressNow New Mexico, according to its web page is “a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots communications and advocacy organization working to unite, empower, and enhance the progressive voice in the Land of Enchantment. It functions as a progressive communications hub and its mission centers on the promotion of progressive issues and policies, correcting conservative misinformation, and holding elected officials and corporations accountable.”
CENTER FOR CIVIL VALUES
The Center for Civic Action (CCA) is based in Albuquerque and is a nonpartisan tax-exempt 501c 3 organization. Its mission is “to advocate for policies that impact the common good and welfare of New Mexicans, such as health care, energy, natural resources, the economy and jobs, and voting rights issues. .. [and] to educate the public about social welfare issues that impact the common good and welfare of New Mexico”.
The activities of CCA include lobbying, researching and advocating for policies related to health care, ethics and the state budget. The CCA educates the public about issues through the placement of opinion pieces and letters to New Mexico Newspapers, blogging, and phone calls to New Mexico residents. The CCA also provides training and leadership skills to New Mexico progressive leaders who may one day run for elected or appointed office.
NAACP DEMANDS RESIGNATIONS OF CITY COUNCILLORS, BUT NOT PAT DAVIS RESIGNATION
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:
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. The final vote was 8 to 1 for approval with Republican and Trump supporter Trudy Jones voting no.
The NAACP had no problem with taking two City Councilors to task and demanding resignations over questions they raised on a $1 Million dollar appropriations. However, it is conspicuous the NAACP has thus far failed to issue any sort of statement regarding City Council President Pat Davis shooting of an African American and violating people’s civil rights as a police officer leaving City Hall and the City Council to guess and speculate why absolutely nothing has been said. .
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Former conservative Republican Pat Davis is now the “self-proclaimed progressive democrat” who is now holding himself out as a “reformed former cop” who can change APD. The progressives wing of the Democratic party has always fawned over Pat Davis ever since he was the Executive Director of ProgressNow New Mexico. Progressives Democrats continue to fawn over Davis and say “forgive and forget, he is one of use now” and they believe all of his garbage.
WHITE PRIVILEGE CITY COUNCIL COALITION
Pat Davis is now the leader of what is being referred to as the “White Privilege Coalition” on the City Council consisting of Democrats Pat Davis, Isaac Benton, Diane Gibson and Republicans Don Harris and Trudy Jones. Pat Davis has bragged about in the past of being able to work with Republicans on the city council and has even co-sponsored many ordinances with Republican Don Harris. These are the very same city councilors who voted repeatedly for the ART Bus project and kept all their mouths shut and refused to hold APD accountable when the Federal Monitor issued scathing audit reports on the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA).
Prior to his death, long time City Councilor Ken Sanchez, as a native of Albuquerque, was a strong advocate for all parts of the city and would often work closely with City Councilors Klarisa Pena and Cynthia Borrego to get things done. It was common knowledge Sanchez was always thinking about running for Mayor. Democrat Ken Sanchez was considered a moderate Democrat and would often disagree with Mayor Tim Keller. Sanchez was often criticized by the progressive wing of the party as being a “corporate democrat”.
When long time City Councilor Sanchez passed away, Progressive Democrat Mayor Tim Keller took advantage of it and appointed a progressive activist to the City Council who he could rely upon for any and all support. Now that Pat Davis is City Council President, confidential sources are saying that he repeatedly marginalizes the Hispanic woman on the city council and opposes any of their initiatives. When Pat Davis marginalizes the Hispanic woman on the City Council, he relies on his “White Privilege” coalition on the city council as does Progressive Mayor Tim Keller.
DAVIS PAST CONDUCT DIFFICULT TO RECONCILE AS ELECTED OFFICIAL
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 if for years and was sued for as a UNM Police Officer and his conduct as a DC Police Officer. Pat Davis has no business making decisions regarding police reforms, law enforcement policy let alone be involved in the process deciding who is fit to be a judge.
FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF OPPORTUNIST REPUBLICAN DARREN WHITE
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.
What is very difficult to reconcile is the past conduct of Pat Davis as a UNM Campus Police Officer and his appointment to chair the Governor’s Task Force on the Legalization of Marijuana. The two civil lawsuits filed against Pat Davis while he was a UNM Campus Police Officer were for violations of people’s civil rights relating to the unlawful searches of private residences for marijuana relating to drug trafficking. The actions of Davis resulted in thousands of dollars in property damages to private residences. Former Republican Pat Davis is following in the footsteps of hypocrite Republican and former Sheriff Darren White who resigned a cabinet post when Republican Gary Johnson began to advocate the legalization of marijuana. White now heads up a “medical cannabis” firm, claims he has used marijuana for years and now lobbies for legalization of marijuana. Confidential sources say that Pat Davis has a contract to do lobbying for the legalization of marijuana.
SOME CONDUCT SHOULD NEVER BE FORGOTTEN NOT FORGIVEN
There is conduct that must never be forgotten nor forgiven, such as the pedophilia of billionaire Jeffry Epstein and the sexual harassment and rape of woman by Hollywood Producer Harvey Weinstein. After all, the attitude of “forgive and forget” is contrary to the “Me Too Movement”. Forgetting the past conduct of Pat Davis shooting an African American twice without provocation and violating many others constitutional rights as a cop is contrary to any sort of police reform. It is also contrary to what the Black Lives Movement represents and the struggle for civil rights by the NAACP, yet neither say anything about Pat Davis.
It should not come as any surprise that the Working Families Party has not taken any position regarding the resignation of Pat Davis. Davis has a close personal friendship to the organization’s Executive Director Eric Griego who is known to have run interference for Pat Davis in the past.
What is downright amazing and extremely disappointing is that the Black Lives Matter movement and the NAACP remain absolutely silent on Pat Davis. Neither has said if Pat Davis should resign over his past conduct as a cop or if they “forgive and forget”. 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 and essentially says there is no need to take Davis to task nor hold him accountable for his past actions.
On June 25, ProgressNow issued the following statement for immediate release:
Title: ProgressNow New Mexico Statement on Councilor Davis’ Shooting of a Black Man and Pattern of Upholding Racist Institutions
By Marianna Anaya
“This week, new details have surfaced regarding former ProgressNow New Mexico Executive Director and Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis’ shooting of a Black man while working as a cop in Washington D.C. [See link #1 below] Davis originally founded ProgressNow New Mexico but left the organization in 2017 and while his name is attached to the organization and its beginnings, we want to state clearly that his past and present actions are not reflective of ProgressNow New Mexico values.
ProgressNow New Mexico is dedicated to dismantling racism in all forms, to listening to Black and Indigenous voices calling for the dismantling of systems that hold up racism including defunding the police, and the prospect that centering Black lives should drive every aspect of progressive political policy.
“ProgressNow New Mexico finds it imperative to continue calling out racism when we see it and holding perpetrators accountable for their actions,” said Alissa Barnes, Executive Director of ProgressNow New Mexico. “No matter who that person is.”
Part of our accountability work as an organization is to investigate bad behavior by bad actors. 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 [See link #2 below] 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”. [See link #3 below].
As he ran for Bernalillo County Sheriff, his website highlighted his targeting of community members for low-level offenses, like marijuana possession. [See link #4 below.]
Throughout the course of his campaign for Sheriff, Davis touted his leadership on the UNM police’s “eyes and ears” program in which he would train UNM staff, like custodians, to seek out people who look like they “don’t belong”- a thinly veiled version of racial profiling. In his run for City Council, his UNM off-campus raids [See link #5] led to settled federal lawsuits, calling Davis’ practices into question once again. [See link #5 below.]
This pattern of racist behavior targeting Black and Brown communities should be concerning to everyone.
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- most recently contracting with Adrian Carver’s June 2020 campaign for Bernalillo County Commission in which Davis supported (and at worst crafted) a racist, sexist mailer targeting Carver’s opponent, County Commissioner-elect Adriann Barboa, for the possession of medical marijuana.[See link #6.] While the community and many elected officials denounced the mailer, Davis doubled down on his endorsement of Carver and once again upheld racist systems that hurt our families.
“You can’t lead a task force for the legalization of marijuana and simultaneously weaponize the substance to criminalize people who use it so that you can gain personal, political power,” said Barnes.
As a self-proclaimed “progressive” Davis is not exempt from accountability. Davis’ sustained pattern of racist actions over a long period of years has led us to call for Davis to step down from his positions of authority, including the Bernalillo County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, the Judicial Selection Committee, Governor Lujan Grisham’s Marijuana Legalization Task Force, and his seat on City Council. 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.
There are calls for justice across the nation- some are met with hostility, and others with grace. We hope Davis chooses the later, steps down from his positions and reflects on how his actions are contributing to a larger system of institutional racism. ProgressNow New Mexico will continue our work, the work of dismantling racist systems, holding bad actors accountable, and being a leading voice in New Mexico for real and tangible change.”
The link to the ProgressNow statement is here: