Grassroots effort to recall Mayor Berry begins

Created: 04/17/2014 10:49 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

You've seen the marches, and heard the cries for justice, but there's a lot going on backstage in the grassroots effort to reform APD.

Activists are banding together to form a united front in an effort to make changes to the troubled police department and the city's government.

Many of the same folks who've organized the more peaceful demonstrations in recent weeks say they're now starting the process to recall Mayor Richard Berry.

About 115 people met in Albuquerque to get organized and start the process.

"This has always been a pretty organized movement," said UNM professor David Correa. "It's grown a lot since March 16 when James Boyd was killed."

Correa was one of the speakers at Thursday night's meeting.

"We want to live in a city where everyone's safe," said Correa.

Behind all the marches and cries for justice, the meeting at the Mennonite church near UNM on Girard Thursday night was sort of a "backstage."

The room was full of folks young and old with a common goal.

"I think too often people who care and maybe don't know how to get involved just see marching in the streets and think that's all that's going on," said Correa.

Correa said lots goes on at these meetings -- there have been two so far -- and Thursday's was about organizing.

There were sign up sheets to petition for a grand jury to indict APD officers involved in shootings.

There were more sheets to sign up to provide input for reforming the police commission.

Then, there was another to petition for a recall of Mayor Richard Berry.

"He stood by his police chief, he stood by his department, and now we're finding out from the department of justice that our department has very serious problems," said organizer Susan Schuurman.

Schuurman said to move forward there's only one thing to do -- organize.

"I went straight to our city charter, and it has a page on how to recall a mayor. I'm going to follow that to the tee," she said.

Schuurman said real change comes with real determination, and its happening in meetings like Thursday's.

"We believe passionately in the power of the people to make a difference," she said.

That effort to recall Mayor Berry will be quite the uphill battle.

The group is determined to do it, but they will need to convince tens of thousands of their fellow Burquenos to join in and sign a series of petitions.

Mayor Berry won re-election in November with nearly 70 percent of the vote.

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