Mayor out of town as protesters demand to speak with him, delaying council meeting

Created: 06/02/2014 11:06 PM
By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4

"Who do we want to talk to? The mayor!"

Protestors made it clear at City Hall on Monday—they only wanted to talk to Mayor Richard Berry about reforming the Albuquerque Police Department.

But the mayor never came out to greet them, and hours later, his chief of staff said, "Mayor Berry was out of town attending a conference for mayors speaking about best practices for mayors, I believe in New York City."

But the protestors were never told that. Perhaps they would have left the office had they known he was out of town.

"More than anybody, the mayor has been actively engaged with the community on this topic," Gilbert Montano, the mayor's chief of staff, said.

The situation forced the delay of Monday's council meeting by a week. It's the second time this has happened.

On May 5, protestors took over the dais. The emotionally charged chaos shut down the remainder of the meeting, not allowing councilors to vote on important funding matters.

In tonight's case, councilors were expected to talk about the police oversight commission—a government body that needs an overhaul—and about a tax hike that would effect everybody in Albuquerque. But all that took a back seat.

"We encourage the dialogue with the community. It will take a good amount of time to fully flush out some out of the issues so that we can fully move forward, but let's do it in a respectable, calm, civilized way," Montano said.

The community has heard these protestors loud and clear, but they wonder if their intended target, the mayor, has heard it too. 

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