APOA Vice President Justin Montgomery said officers were told to keep their riot gear, including helmets and shields, at the the police department's academy, seven miles away from the riot.
BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI
The Albuquerque Police Department failed to properly equip its officers at the May 24 anti-Donald Trump riot and it is now ordering cops to change their reports about the riot to hide its mistakes, the union that represents Albuquerque cops said Monday in a labor complaint.
The complaint, filed with the city’s Labor Management Relations Board by the Albuquerque Police Officers Association, said there weren’t enough officers on the scene of the riots that day and that they weren’t properly equipped.
“A number of officers deployed at this event were physically injured as a result of the Department’s failure to properly organize and equip its officers,” the complaint said.
Furthermore, “the city is now attempting to hide their mistakes by ordering members of the Department to change reports regarding these issues,” the three-page complaint added.
APOA Vice President Justin Montgomery said officers were told to keep their riot gear, including helmets and shields, at the the police department’s academy, seven miles away from the riot. And day shift officers who were held over on the swing shift to handle the anti-Trump protests in front of the Albuquerque Convention Center were also told to leave their protective gear in their cars, Montgomery said.
“They were told to leave their helmets and gas masks in their cars, and when things progressed I was told that officers asked if they could get their stuff, and the answer was that it was too late,” Montgomery said. He added that APD didn’t have a plan in place to arrest people who were inciting and practicing violence.
“There was never an arrest team established to pick out the bad seeds in the crowd,” Montgomery said. “There was never a plan in place to go and pick out the people who were inciting a riot. If the officers can’t protect themselves, how are we supposed to protect all those people who came down to peacefully protest, and their families? We were basically there just letting people throw rocks at us.”
The APOA said the city’s failure to protect its officers was a violation of the union’s contract with the city. Montgomery said he hopes the labor complaint will mean that in the future APD has proper planning in place for similar demonstrations. “We are hoping that it doesn’t happen again,” he added.
At least six officers were injured during the riot, APD has said. In addition, at least 150 officers were hit with rocks and bottles, the department added.
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