Mayor Keller praises peaceful protest, blames 'agitators' for downtown chaos | KOB 4

Mayor Keller praises peaceful protest, blames 'agitators' for downtown chaos

KOB Web Staff
Updated: June 01, 2020 05:32 PM
Created: June 01, 2020 12:42 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller addressed the city following a night of chaos downtown.

Keller praised the peaceful protesters who held a candlelight vigil and marched up and down Central.

He blamed a small, separate group of people for vandalizing local businesses-- and historic locations in EDo (East Downtown) and Nob Hill.

Keller said the group nearly burned down the Kimo Theater. He added that looters hit a firearms store, taking dozens of firearms.

"Last night was scary and dangerous for everyone involved," Keller said. "For protesters, and for the public, and, of course, it should not have been for anyone." 

Two people were arrested, according to Keller. 

He stated that the city stands with the protesters, and wants to keep them safe. However, he said there is no way to allow a protest when gunshots are being fired at officers. 

"Our police department works to protect freedom of speech," Keller said. "They enable demonstrations. They will avoid contact, and deescalate and avoid violence in any situation other than when buildings are set on fire and when gunshots are fired at them."

Keller said he was thankful that no one was injured.

He expects the city to reopen Central sometime Monday after the city helps businesses board up their windows and clean-up.

Keller said the city anticipates more protests throughout the week. However, he is not asking the National Guard for help, and he is not imposing a curfew. 

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