- Associated Press - Monday, May 12, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Demonstrators removed from an Albuquerque city council meeting for holding a silent protest over police shootings said Monday they are preparing to file a free speech lawsuit.

Protest organizer David Correia told The Associated Press that he and three other demonstrators who received citations banning them from City Hall for 90 days are meeting with American Civil Liberties Union lawyers and want to challenge the city over recent changes at city council meetings.

On Thursday, protesters were escorted out by police after they refused to speak at the podium and turned their backs to Albuquerque councilors because of new changes in rules that they say limit free speech.

Councilors adopted stricter rules on public comments after a rowdy meeting earlier in the week where demonstrators packed the chambers, demanded that Police Chief Gorden Eden face a citizen’s arrest and forced councilors to adjourn.

“Not only are we dealing with an unconstitutional police force, we are dealing with unconstitutional governance,” Correia said.

The demonstrators want city officials to make immediate reforms to the police department, which has had 39 officer-involved shootings since 2010.

The U.S. Justice Department released a scathing report in April, revealing a pattern of excessive force by the Albuquerque Police Department and recommending the city become the latest municipality to adopt reforms for its police force.

Advocates also want police to release more lapel-camera footage from recent shootings.

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