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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Activists remain hopeful despite DOJ delay

On Monday, Nov. 7, at 6:00 pm, approximately 100 civil rights activists of varied ethnic and economic backgrounds, family members of APD shooting victims, and concerned citizens gathered for some long awaited answers from the US Department of Justice. US DOJ attorneys Michael Hoses and Ruth Keegan introduced themselves and explained the role of the DOJ in the impending investigation on Albuquerque's Police Department. The attorneys explained that while they did not have a definitive answer as to whether or not the DOJ would be proceeding with the civil rights investigation they were in the process of reviewing all of the complaints. According to Jewel Hall, President of the Martin Luther King Jr., Memorial Center Task Force on Social Justice for Public Safety, hundreds of complaints have been submitted. Activists at the meeting stated that they expect more complaints expected  in in the following days to come. However, many complainants are afraid to come forward in fear of retaliation from APD. "I meet one man (in the South Valley) who had been beaten 37 times by police officers. He showed me a letter that had been  notarized saying 'I'm a US citizen. Please don't beat me'.", said Silvia Fuentes, mother of APD shooting victim Lenny Fuentes. The MLK Task Force has set up a form on it's new website in which citizens can submit information anonymously as long as there are dates relating to the incident, badge numbers and names of officers involved in the alleged incidents are also useful information. Ken Ellis, father of purple heart, shooting victim Ken Ellis Jr., has purchased an additional cell phone in order to receive information from the community. "We will win," stated Hall triumphantly, "We have the numbers and there's power in numbers". Despite the group's proactive stance there were members of the crowd who expressed their displeasure with the DOJ's delayed response. "I've been a victim of police brutality all of my life. I just recently got beat up. When is it going to stop?", stated Gilbert Elizondo, board of director's member for Vecinos United angrily. Information about police misconduct and brutality from APD, The Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department, and New Mexico State Police can be sent by regular mail or or email. The web address for the new MLK Task Force website will be posted shortly.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center Board
PO Box 40306
Albuquerque, NM 87196

The MLK Task Force is also in need of donations of any monetary amount which can be sent to the above mail address.

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