Answer Coalition meets to discuss grassroots efforts

Posted at: 04/04/2014 6:22 PM
Updated at: 04/04/2014 10:16 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Albuquerque’s branch of the A.N.S.WE.R. coalition held a meeting Friday to discuss how grassroots efforts can play a role in reform of the Albuquerque Police Department.

The meeting began with a moment of silence. Organizers added the names of James Boyd and Alfred Redwine to a coffin covered with names and photos of people shot by Albuquerque police. The father of one of them, Kenneth Ellis III, now advocates with the ANSWER Coalition.

Then came a history lesson going back to 1987 about police shootings in Albuquerque. Organizers wanted activists to know what reforms have been attempted already and what obstacles they could face going forward.

“The IRO, independent review officer, the POC, the police oversight commission, all these entities are supposed to be monitoring and keeping our cops in check are nothing more than a farce, they’re a joke, the system is broke,” Kenneth Ellis II said.

Friday, his son’s death was hailed as an eye-opener to the community about police shootings. In fact, the city owes his family more than seven million dollars after losing a lawsuit.

James Boyd’s death was discussed as the latest. While some ANSWER Coalition members didn’t appreciate protestors that got out of line Sunday – distracting from the cause – members like Ellis appreciate the community at least speaking up.

“I think it's good that awareness of police brutality is coming to light, I'm a little discouraged at some of the tactics that have been... Albuquerque police showed their true colors Sunday night by gearing all up in riot gear and getting ready for combat,” Ellis said.

Members plan to pack Monday night’s city council meeting, which will focus on reforming the board that’s supposed to oversee APD.