New Mexico Officers Resign From Protest Response Team Over ‘Lack of Trust’: Union Head

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.
April 20, 2021 Updated: April 20, 2021

More than a dozen police officers quit the Albuquerque Police Department’s Emergency Response Team this month because they felt like were not supported, union official Shaun Willoughby said on Monday.

“These officers, this is an extracurricular activity for them. Who wants to sign up to be at the spear of the biggest, most volatile political football in our country? There’s a lack of trust with our administration. They were not supported,” the official said during an appearance on Fox News.

In one case last year, officers were told to stand down as a mob tore down a statue, added Willoughby, the president of the Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association.

The mass resignation came after a man with a rifle was detained by officers during a counterprotest earlier this month. The man was told by an officer that he was being disorderly “for having a rifle in a place to cause civil unrest.”

The man is now facing a charge of child endangerment, KOB reported. The man could not be reached on Monday.

One legal expert said the charge may not stick.

“It seems like the facts don’t fit the charge of abandoning a child because there was no child abandoned,” KOAT legal expert John Day said.

The man “didn’t violate any laws, he was exercising his constitutional rights within the city of Albuquerque,” Willoughby told Fox, adding that an officer was taken off the job and placed under investigation for allegedly showing favoritism toward the man with the gun.

“Who wants to live under that type of scrutiny? Morale is gone in the Albuquerque Police Department. They don’t trust their leaders, they don’t trust the city, and they’re tired of being managed by politics,” the union official said.

The department did not return a request for comment.

A spokesperson for the agency told KOB: “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.”

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.