Trump to Send Federal Anti-Crime Agents to Albuquerque
Thursday, July 23, 2020
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr announced yesterday that 35 federal agents will be deployed to Albuquerque to help combat crime, despite no request for such help.
At a news conference yesterday, Trump said agents will also be sent cities in the Midwest. ACLU of New Mexico executive director Peter Simonson is disturbed by the president's possible motive.
"I think we have to be really clear why Trump is doing this and it's not to protect public safety as he claims," says Simonson. "It's to provoke scenes of conflict and create the impression that the public needs him to restore law and order."
Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich called for the resignation of Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales, who attended the president's press conference. The New Mexico Democrat claims Gonzales had invited the agents - who he called "the president's storm troopers" - to Albuquerque.
Gonzales has aggravated local officials for his opposition to body cameras.
In a separate statement, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said if the Trump administration "seriously wants to assist local law enforcement with community policing activities, the state would welcome the conversation."
The Democratic governor added that "agents sent to escalate tension in New Mexico communities would be flatly unacceptable."
Simonson says protests in Albuquerque over the George Floyd killing have largely quieted down, and doesn't see the need for federal agents.
"There's no coordination with local agencies," says Simonson. "The city of Albuquerque is just kind of a sitting duck waiting to see what this all means, and I think we can rest assured it really is politically motivated."
With his poll numbers falling ahead of the 2020 election, Trump is accelerating his effort to establish himself as a law-and-order president.
Albuquerque, the largest city in New Mexico, has approximately a half-million residents.
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