Reaction to Marshal's shooting highlights tension in city

Created: 04/02/2014 6:23 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The latest law enforcement shooting in the Albuquerque metro area was a U.S. Marshal’s case – not APD. But it shows just how tense and volatile the streets have become in many parts of Albuquerque because of the recent officer-involved shootings.

The South Valley – Bridge and Sunset – poverty. A lot of great people. A lot of people who’ve had a lot of run-ins with the law. No coincidence that the shooting took place in the parking lot of a methadone clinic.

Moments after the shooting of Gilbert Serrano, even before the ambulance arrives, a growing crowd moves in closer on a few federal marshals circling Serrano as he lies bleeding from a non-fatal head wound. Hostility, profanity, anger at yet another cop shooting. No sign that Serrano was armed, but he was wanted as a violent felon.

“You guys shot first bro,” one man hollers at the marshals, his remarks laced with the f-word and other choice profanities. “Before getting him out of the car you guys shot first! You guys have Tasers!”

Eventually the cavalry arrives – county sheriff’s deputies setting up a perimeter around the shooting scene to keep the onlookers back. Deputies and marshals seizing people’s cell phones as “evidence” – that didn’t do anything to calm people down. The word spreading instantly on Facebook and Twitter. Within minutes the shooting scene turns into an instant protest against police violence. People use the sidewalk to scrawl out slogans on paper and cardboard.

“The police are shooting civilians,” said protester Sayrah Namaste. “Of course I don’t feel safe, and I’m around a lot of other people who don’t feel safe. The police aren’t accountable.”

Right now it’s extremely hard to be a cop on the streets of Albuquerque. It’s also hard to be a criminal suspect they’re chasing. And it’s hard to be a taxpayer watching your town take a turn into trouble.

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