Just days after police in Atlanta responded to a sleepy, unarmed Black man by shooting him in the back, cops in New Mexico didn’t use their guns once while detaining armed white vigilantes following a shooting at a protest. It seemed to be the latest example of the stark contrast along racial lines of how police respond to Black and white suspects regardless of their alleged offenses.
Protesters in Albuquerque on Monday were trying to remove a monument to a Spanish conquistador who led the slaughter as well as enslavement and dismemberment of hundreds of Native Americans in the 16th century. That’s when members of the New Mexico Civil Guard, an armed militia of white vigilantes without any law enforcement authority arrived with “All Lives Matter” signs, according to the Washington Post.
As the New Mexico Civil Guard clashed with protesters, multiple gunshots were eventually fired and one man was struck.
The shooter was recorded on camera being tackled before he got up, brandished a gun and let off four shots.
While it was unclear whether the shooting victim was a protester or a member of the New Mexico Civil Guard, police officers responded to the scene by peacefully detaining everybody associated with the armed vigilantes. It was a notable departure from the lethal force police have used on unarmed Black people in recent weeks.
So peacefully, in fact, that not a single arrest had been made as of Tuesday morning. The Albuquerque Police Department had neither offered an account or narrative for what happened nor identified anybody involved.
Instead, the police fired off tear gas at the protesters after carefully detaining the New Mexico Civil Guard members.
New Mexico’s governor blasted the vigilantes as only being there to stir up trouble and likely only encouraged the violence.
“The heavily armed individuals who flaunted themselves at the protest, calling themselves a ‘civil guard,’ were there for one reason: To menace protesters, to present an unsanctioned show of unregulated force,” Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham tweeted early Tuesday morning. “To menace the people of New Mexico with weaponry — with an implicit threat of violence — is on its face unacceptable; that violence did indeed occur is unspeakable.”
It was only on Friday night when two Atlanta police officers found Rayshard Brooks sleeping in his car at a fast-food drive-thru. After he reportedly failed a field sobriety test, the cops determined Brooks was unarmed before deciding to arrest him. That’s when Brooks broke away from them and ran. One cop took aim and fired multiple shots into Brooks’ back, ultimately killing him.
Fast forward three days later and police in Albuquerque respond with kid gloves to violent militiamen whose apparent sole purpose at a peaceful demonstration was to cause chaos. And not a single arrest was made.
This is America.