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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

City Councilors, activists, demand open dialogue with Mayor over police shootings

Mayor Berry was a "no show" at last night's heated City Council meeting.

By Pilar Armstrong

City Councilors appeared angry at the Mayor's apparent lack of interest in attending Monday nights City Council meeting.

"Is the Mayor expected to come down to the meeting?," asked Councilor Ray Garduno.

"I'm getting tired of communicating through newsprint and radio. These conversations (with the Mayor) exist (only) in newsprint and airwaves. This is not a way to communicate", he quipped.

These questions were directed to Rob Perry, the Mayor's top administrator. Garduno also explained that the Mayor needed to attend a City Council meeting so that he would have an opportunity to listed to what his constituents had to say regarding the police shootings. According to Garduno, the Mayor was invited to attend last nights meeting and was scheduled to meet with Councilors on April 21st. The meeting was cancelled to Garduno's dismay and was not the first cancellation he had received.

The Mayor's front man invited the Councilors to met with the Mayor privately, behind closed doors. Perry also stating that the  recent letter sent by Councilors, Garduno, Benton, O'Malley, and Sanchez did not offer any concrete solutions to the APD's mounting legal and civil rights issues. He vehemently defended the 23 shootings stating that the shooting victims were people with mental illness and extensive criminal histories.  Upon previous examination by the Burque Blotter, only a handful of the shooting victims had what might be considered "extensive" criminal histories. It is fact that the majority of the shooting victims were either shot while running away from officers or while handcuffed, face down.

"This is very third world. The type of thing you'd see in El Salvador or Nicaragua," stated activist Silvio Dell'Angela in a previous phone interview.

Councilors Garduno, Benton, O'Mally, and Sanchez have been routinely blasted in press releases sent by the Mayor's office over their support of a Department of Justice investigation on APD. The Mayor even garnered the support of Gov. Susana Martinez who openly criticized the four Dem. Councilors for not supporting the Paseo Del Norte overpass project. Both Mayor Berry and Gov. Martinez are clients of political consultant company McCleskey Media Services.

Councilors also took offense to the Mayor's accusations that they were not supportive of APD and that there support of the DOJ investigation was not politically motivated as the Mayor claimed.

"We sent a polite letter to the Mayor about leadership. It would be curious to know what the Mayor would have to say (at this meeting)," said Councilor Benton.

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