About 200 people rallied at Civic Plaza Saturday afternoon to voice their support for the Albuquerque Police Department.
Veterans, business owners and others met at 10 a.m. to praise and defend the officers. After about an hour, the supporters marched around downtown, chanting “APD” and shaking hands with officers. The march ended in front of the police department’s headquarters. The crowd chanted for a few minutes in front of the department before dispersing at about noon.
Michael Carrillo, 64, said he came out to support APD because he had a lot family in the department, including his brother, John Carrillo, who was shot and killed in 1987 after responding to a call regarding domestic violence.
“When my son-in-law and my brother, who was killed, and my other brother, my uncle, my grandfather have put their lives on the line for people in service to them, I feel I have to support the rest of them as well,” he said.
Carrillo said he has ridden along with some of the officers he’s known, and he sees what kind of interactions the police have on a day-to-day basis.
“I know that there is a good heart in every one of them trying to do the right thing for people,” he said.
The rally took place two days after the Department of Justice released the results of its more than one-year investigation that concluded APD uses excessive force.
In spite of the findings, supporters said they stood behind the department.
“We’re not saying the DOJ is saying anything wrong,” said David Giesche, 48, who attended the rally. “We have faith in the men and women of this department, that they can overcome their shortfalls and they can make this a better department and a better community for all of us. But I don’t think that they can do that without the public’s support.”
Robin Ulman, another rally attendee, said the DOJ report made her and her husband, Rob Ulman, come out to support the police.
“I don’t know that it’s accurate, I just know that the police department needs support, and when you hamstring the police department…you’ll be forced to make peace with the criminals,” she said. “I have no intention of making peace with the criminals.”