The disturbance will cost taxpayers at least $60,000 in overtime for public safety personnel and damage to the convention center, APD spokeswoman Celina Espinoza said.
Riot Cost $60,000 in OT and Damages
BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI
At least 150 Albuquerque police officers were hit by rocks and other debris, and six suffered injuries that had to be treated at Tuesday night’s riot at Donald Trump’s rally at the Albuquerque Convention Center, the Albuquerque Police Department said Wednesday.
And the disturbance will cost taxpayers at least $60,000 in overtime for public safety personnel and damage to the convention center, APD spokeswoman Celina Espinoza said.
APD deployed around 200 officers and nearly every one was hit by something thrown by protestors, Espinoza said.
Eight windows and one glass door in the East Convention Center were broken and will cost $10,000 to repair, Espinoza said.
Around 200 APD officers were assigned to the rally and the vast majority of them were on overtime, and that OT will cost taxpayers at least $50,000, Espinoza said, while adding that the exact OT costs are still being calculated.
Six APD officers who were hit by fist-sized rocks suffered injuries to their faces, noses, arms and legs, Espinoza said. All were treated on the scene and did not require hospitalization. Included in those six was an APD sergeant who was treated for smoke inhalation. A Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputy was also injured, Espinoza said.
Albuquerque police arrested four people at Tuesday night’s protest, including two juveniles inside the rally who were cited and released to their parents.
One adult, Tylina Hardy, 30, was arrested from inside the rally and charged with disorderly conduct, while 19-yearold Jose Cuevas was arrested outside the rally and charged with disorderly conduct.
About a dozen other people were detained and escorted out of the area near the convention center, Espinoza said. She added that all of APD’s horses, and their riders who were trying to control the crowd outside the rally were OK.
The protest started around 4 p.m. and were mostly peaceful, but some people attending Trump’s rally were spit on and screamed at as they entered the convention center’s east wing. Between 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. the began to turn violent when some protesters began to pull at metal police barricades, a witness said. Police pulled back at the barricades, and then some protesters tried rushing the convention center’s doors. Police fired smoke canisters into the crowd to disperse the protesters. Other protesters began lighting t-shirts on fire and some began throwing rocks at police, the witness said.
APD Tweeted at 8:58 p.m. Tuesday, “Appears that most of the @RealDonaldTrump protesters have left & remaining contingent is only looking to cause trouble and be destructive.”
Albuquerque City Council President Dan Lewis attended the rally and blamed the violence on some of the groups that called for the protests—ProgressNow New Mexico and the SouthWest Organizing Project. Lewis said he left the convention center after Trump’s speech to help an elderly woman with a walker to her car about two blocks away near Central Avenue.
“We had [plastic water] bottles thrown at us, and one hit her car,” Lewis said. “I saw fights breaking out and I saw fires and I made statements that clearly there were people there to riot and to incite violence. I also believe that the advocacy groups have to share the blame because they invited people to the party. You can’t invite everyone to the party and bring the matches and gas and then be shocked when the fire erupts.”
City Councilor Patrick Davis is the executive director of ProgressNow. He said his organization’s protest
was planned and executed with the cooperation of APD and Convention Center personnel. The protests were originally planned for Civic Plaza, across Third Street from the west wing of the convention center. But APD vetoed that idea and put the protesters along Second Street and Tijeras where they were close to the convention center’s east wing where Trump’s rally was held.
Davis said his organization’s protest had concluded at 7 p.m. at which time many of the people left the area. He said he didn’t know who incited the violence, but added that whoever did should be arrested and prosecuted.
APD estimated that 8,000 people attended the Trump rally and about 1,000 showed up for the protest outside the convention center. Several agencies helped coordinate the law enforcement response to the protest, including APD, the U.S. Secret Service, the Albuquerque Fire Department, the New Mexico State Police, the Rio Rancho Police Department, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department and the University of New Mexico Police Department.
Some of the groups that organized the protests had people trying to keep the peace. Some of them formed a human chain between the protesters and the cops. Espinoza said APD wanted to thank those people who tried to keep things peaceful.
“The Albuquerque Police Department would like to thank the peaceful organizers, especially those who formed a human chain in attempts to deter criminal activity,” Espinoza said.
Featured photos courtesy of Burque Media Productions
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