- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 7, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Critics of the Police Department are promising to crowd another Albuquerque City Council meeting to protest recent police shootings just days after rowdy demonstrators forced city leaders to call off their discussions.

Protesters plan to attend a rescheduled council meeting Thursday and will continue to criticize officers’ use of force, according to Nora Tachias-Anaya, one of the leaders of the protest.

“We will be there. We have to be,” Tachias-Anaya said.

On Monday, Tachias-Anaya and other angry demonstrators took over the regularly scheduled City Council meeting, chanting for the ouster of the police chief, shouting at council members and causing so much disruption that the panel’s president adjourned the meeting. Protesters tried to serve a “people’s arrest warrant” on Chief Gorden Eden and then held a mock council meeting in the chambers.

Albuquerque police are under tough scrutiny following a harsh report from the U.S. Justice Department over its use of force. In the latest shooting on Saturday, police shot and killed a 50-year-old man barricaded in his home who reportedly threatened his wife and two children with a gun.

The council on Monday planned to discuss whether the police chief’s position should be one selected by the council or by voters. But the meeting devolved before leaders could debate the issue or vote on some pending bonds - something councilors say cost the city more than $200,000.

David Correia, a University of New Mexico professor of American studies who helped shut down the meeting, said that loss of money is nothing compared with the millions of dollars the city has had to pay out in civil cases involving police shootings.

“That’s the real cost to the city,” he said.

Many city officials, including Eden, denounced Monday’s disruption.

“While we welcome constructive discussions, we do not believe disruption of tonight’s city council meeting was a productive way to meet those goals,” Eden said in a statement.

City Council President Ken Sanchez said more security is expected for Thursday meeting. Officials also have discussed possible changes for City Council meetings to avoid future disruptions but no details have been announced.


Follow Russell Contreras on Twitter at https://twitter.com/russcontreras .

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