As a fourth night of protesting over the police killing of George Floyd got underway in Albuquerque, Clifton White — a 36-year-old Black man who helped organize Thursday’s protest — was arrested by the Albuquerque Police Department in a shopping plaza across from the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center.
White’s wife Selinda Guerrero, a community organizer for Forward Together, and other organizers said that White’s Monday night arrest was retaliation for his organizing work.
Guerrero posted a video on Facebook of White’s arrest. As he was taken into custody, White said, “There’s no jurisdiction. I’m being illegally arrested.”
Moments after White was loaded into a police car, Guerrero can be heard saying, "This is what retaliation looks like when we come out to defend our community."
After White is detained, several unmarked cars pulled out following the single police car.
A warrant issued on Monday, a copy of which was obtained by the Daily Lobo on Tuesday, states that he was arrested for violating parole.
At about 1 a.m. on Friday, May 29, police pulled White over as part of an investigation into a vehicle suspected in an earlier shooting near the site of Thursday’s protest on Central Avenue and Wyoming Boulevard. APD spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos said White is not a suspect in the shooting but that the car he was driving is evidence.
White allegedly refused to identify himself, but an officer recognized him from previous interactions and knew he was on parole.
Police officers then contacted the New Mexico Corrections Department’s Probation and Parole Division. That office determined that White was in violation of his parole.
The arrest order states that White has had “multiple negative interactions with Albuquerque PD” in which he was “verbally combative, and failed to identify himself, as well as failed to follow lawful orders.” It goes on to state that White “failed to report police contact” and “was recently a suspect in an auto theft.”
After being redirected several times, the Daily Lobo did not receive a comment from either White’s probation officer Elijah Langston or supervisor Edmund Vigil, who signed off on the arrest order.
In the Facebook comments section, several people asked where they could send bail funds. In response, Guerrero wrote, “Unfortunately parole is administrative and there is no bail nor courts involved. Basically you are state property and they can take you anytime.”
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White’s warrant, which noted that detention was “necessary due to … a risk to self, the public, multiple violations of supervision conditions and absconding,” confirmed that he would be held without bail pending a parole hearing.
White is being held at the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center.
“The circumstances and timing of Clifton’s arrest are suspicious at best,” Barron Jones, senior policy strategist at the ACLU of New Mexico, told the Daily Lobo on Tuesday. “Thursday’s protest at Central and Wyoming, he helped organize that, so it’s weird.”
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller’s office has not responded to Daily Lobo requests for comment as of the publication of this article.
This is a developing story.
Bella Davis is a senior reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @bladvs.