Report: 20 Albuquerque officers resign from Emergency Response Team following protests

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ALBUQUERQUE, NM – More than a dozen officers resigned from the city’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) after an officer was disciplined for detaining an armed man who was taunting protesters.

The resignations included seventeen specially trained officers, two sergeants, and a lieutenant.

Shaun Willoughby, President of the Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association said:

“They don’t feel supported here, and they don’t feel trust. They feel second-guessed, and they don’t feel that they can do their job, no matter how perfect they do their job, without getting in trouble.”

The mass resignations came following a counterprotest to a Proud Boys rally that was scheduled but never occurred at Civic Plaza over the weekend.

Police said Deyontae Williams came to the counterprotest armed with a rifle and was taunting demonstrators. Albuquerque police officers from the ERT detained the man and removed him from the location.

Williams had attended the protest with his family and claimed not to be a member of the Proud Boys. Police said that armed with the rifle, Williams got into a tense standoff with counterprotesters, and officers stepped in, escorting Williams into the convention center.

APD spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos said a child with Williams raised concerns:

“There was a lot of concern throughout because this gentleman did have a child with him.”

Gallegos said that there was confusion over whether Williams was going to be charged with a crime and that there was a breakdown in the chain of command during the incident which caused the confusion.

The confusion resulted in a sergeant being put on leave after the incident:

“It wasn’t based on opinions or what should happen or should not happen, it was just actions were taken and the chain of command wasn’t aware why these decisions were being made at the time, so they put him on leave just while they investigated.

“They quickly looked through the situation. The concerns were addressed, so they put him back on duty.”

After clearing up the confusion, APD said Williams will receive a summons in the mail for a charge of child endangerment.

However, Willoughby said the issue was not just about confusion. He said officers cannot do their jobs and do not have the backing of the department:

“This comes down to a lack of trust. They’re damned if they do, and they’re damned if they don’t.”

The APD issued a statement about the incident:

“Chief Medina made it clear that we cannot have a breakdown in communication during critical incidents. We have worked hard to earn back the public’s trust. We will lose that trust if we resist accountability and culture change.”

Willoughby said the Mayor needs to make some changes to the department’s structure:

“I think Mayor Keller needs to make a serious decision of what this police department’s priority structure is. I think that he needs to carry that sentiment down to the police chief, so that your police officers feel supported.”

Pointing out that aside from the resignations from the ERT team, there have been about 20 resignations in the regular ranks over the last two months due to low morale and lack of officer support:

“We are seeing a dramatic increase of Albuquerque police officers applying to go to other departments. Morale, let’s not even talk about it because it doesn’t exist. There is no morale. Your Albuquerque police officers are absolutely miserable at work— nobody’s happy.”

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APD said they are going to change their response to future protests by sending detectives to make arrest decisions. APD claims the move is to allow other officers to be available to handle crowd control and safety.

The resignations from APD add to a nationwide surge in officers retiring, resigning, and otherwise leaving their jobs. The “Defund the Police” movement has collapsed officer morale, cut city police budgets, and created a fear of personal liability for officers.

The situation worsened with the rise of left-wing rioting and violence plaguing American cities over the last year.

In the city of Portland, Oregon, a flashpoint of violent protests, 115 officers have either resigned or retired since July 1, 2020, according to a report by One America News Network. In dozens of exit interviews, officers expressed their reasons for leaving the Portland Police Bureau.

One detective wrote:

“The community shows zero report, the city council are raging idiots in addition to being stupid.  Additionally, the Mayor and Council ignore actual facts on crime and policing in favor of radical leftists’ and anarchists’ fantasy.

“What is worse is PPB command, Lieutenant and above, is arrogantly incompetent and cowardly.”

Another officer stated in his exit interview that the City Council beat down officer morale:

“What the city council has done is to beat down on the officers’ willingness to do police work is unfathomable. I have never seen morale so low. Officers leaving mid-career and sometimes sooner to go to other agencies. Officers retiring when they should have stayed longer if the situation were different. 

“It is no longer a fun place to work, there is no end in sight, and the negatives far exceed anything positive. I hate what Portland has become.”

In another hotbed of leftist violence, the City of Seattle has just seen another 100 officers leave the force.

One officer in Seattle wrote:

“I refuse to work for this socialist city council and their political agenda. It will ultimately destroy the fabric of this once-fine city.”

In Colorado, where the Democratic Governor recently signed a new law making officers personally liable for actions while on duty, over 200 officers have stepped down.

All these resignations come at a time when homicide rates are skyrocketing. CNN reported last week that major American cities have seen a 33% increase in homicides in 2020, and that the surge has continued into 2021.

The Major Cities Chiefs Association reported that 63 of the 66 largest police jurisdictions in the country have witnessed increases in at least one violent crime category. These crimes include homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

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