91 Homicides, No Answers, More Spin
By Dan Klein
Another week has gone by and as of August 15, 2021, Albuquerque now has 91 homicides. Most recently a man was murdered at Ojos Loco’s bar and a teenager (Benny Hargrove) was gunned down at Washington Middle School.
ABQREPORT uses the Albuquerque Journal Homicide map to track the number. Currently, this map puts the number of homicides in the city limits of Albuquerque at 82 (80 investigated by APD and two investigated by NMSP). Since the definition of homicide includes “justified” homicides, ABQREPORT adds those along with the two small children killed by their mothers in a DWI accident. The mothers were charged with Reckless Abuse of a Child resulting in death, clearly meeting the definition of the word homicide.
APD is reporting the following homicides as justified:
Mark Padilla, killed on January 9, 2021
Ruben Parra, killed on February 2, 2021
Claude Trevino, killed by APD officers on February 20, 2021
Dominic Lueras, killed on on March 19, 2021
Neil Green, killed on March 27, 2021
Juan Cordova, killed by APD officers on April 16, 2021
Richard Castillo, killed on July 31, 2021.
The beacon of transparency, APD spokesman Gilbert Gallegos, recently stated that eight of the other homicides “might” be reclassified as natural, justified or overdose. I believe the entire community should watch this closely as APD has not been forthcoming with their policy on making these determinations, nor on who at APD has the final say as to whether a homicide is murder or justified.
But, as I said before, don't let Keller, Medina and Gallegos trick you. Don't let them play you for fools. They have to count all killings, whether justified or not, as homicides. Here's Webster's definition of homicide: “The killing of one human being by another human being.” Doesn't say anything about not counting so-called “justifieds.”
And even a large amount of justified killings should worry you. It means that someone felt threatened or scared enough for themselves or loved ones to kill someone. It means that more and more people are feeing threatened. It means that under Tim Keller and his progressive crowd, your city has become a much more dangerous place.
Recently the ABQREPORT asked Gallegos and District Attorney Raul Torrez for a copy of their agencies' policies governing how they come to the determination that a homicide is justified. Gallegos, as he always does now, ignored our request as did Torrez’s office. This tells me that there probably isn’t a policy. Is there secret “star chamber” group that determines which homicides are justified? Who are the members of this group? When do they meet? What are the guidelines they use? Why won’t Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and DA Torrez be transparent and tell the citizens how these decisions are being made? It is the worse form of government that makes life and death decisions for its citizens in secret.
I am positive that APD or the DA, or whomever makes these decisions, will change the status of more of the homicides to justified, but that brings its own set of serious questions. Has Albuquerque descended into anarchy? Is APD unable to protect you? Should all Albuquerque citizens arm themselves? Is vigilant justice taking over? Is Albuquerque becoming a lost city?
After the murder at Washington Middle School, Keller made a short video where he acknowledged the out-of-control crime in Albuquerque and the sadness of losing a child’s life. Keller then went right into robot mode of the three talking points his campaign manager Neri Holguin has had him and APD Chief Harold Medina rehearse ad nauseum.
The first point Keller spat out was that the rest of the nation is seeing a spike in homicides, not just Albuquerque, so don’t blame me. The second point was that it’s all because of the pandemic. The third point is that it’s the “communities’ problem” (another word is “fault”). In the video Keller was the person we have come to expect, someone who wants no responsibility for the city his manages. His campaign slogan should be “Not my fault” or “It’s just as bad in Detroit”.
To address his first point, we live in Albuquerque, not “other cities.” By saying Detroit has crime just as bad does not address the crime here in Albuquerque and provides no comfort for those grieving families. It is Keller not wanting to be a grownup and take responsibility for the city he manages. The second point (pandemic) falls apart when you look at the record number of homicides Albuquerque suffered through in 2019. This was Keller’s second year in office and the year before the pandemic started. What was his excuse then? The final point has really angered much of the community. For Keller and Medina to blame the community, you and me, for the spiraling crime is just an abdication of their roles as mayor and police chief. If they have no other answers to Albuquerque’s crime, they should step down.
Albuquerque residents are fed-up with politicians pointing fingers of blame just so they can get re-elected. We want a safer city. The current people who run Albuquerque have been shown to be failures, it’s time to vote them out. Albuquerque needs solutions, not finger pointing.
Not surprisingly, Keller was in person, a day after the middle school shooting, at North Domingo Skate Park, giddy as a schoolgirl at prom, welcoming Mariah Duran who had represented the USA at the Olympics. Watching the video of the event you could see where Keller’s values are at, sports stars. Keller loves being filmed in a Gladiator football uniform, or a United jersey, or in this case with an Olympian. At one point I thought he might step in front of Mariah to get more face time. Keller is a shameless self-promoter.
Putting this into context, Keller’s home in the country club area is only blocks from where 13-year-old Benny Hargrove was gunned down. Yet Keller was a no-show at the numerous memorials held at the school. Oh, but Keller made the time to get his face on TV standing next to an Olympian. Priorities? Couldn’t he do both? Of course he could, but the people at Benny’s memorial are not the fans that Keller loves.
It’s despicable that Tim Keller sheds no tears for Albuquerque’s murdered children, yet he cried elephant tears at the border for the children of migrants. Keller appears with a sports star, but makes no time to appear with the family, friends and schoolmates of an Albuquerque hero, gunned down in the city Keller is supposed to be managing.
Albuquerque, under Tim Keller’s stewardship, has become a frightening place to live. Keller can spin this, but at the end of the day he owns the chaos he has helped to create.