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Gallup Sun

Tuesday, Aug 11th

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Civil rights monitoring program watching for federal violations

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SANTA FE – The Office of the Governor and the Office of the Attorney General announced on July 22 that they will actively monitor for any civil rights violations related to federal law enforcement operations in New Mexico.

The offices will target investigative and prosecutorial resources at any suspected civil rights violation stemming from federal law enforcement operations.

This announcement comes in the wake of U.S. Department of Homeland Security operations in Portland, Ore., and a U.S. Department of Justice memo that cited Albuquerque as a target city for further federal law enforcement deployment.

The governor and the attorney general encourage any New Mexican impacted by such operations in the coming weeks to contact their offices and provide information.

The governor issued the following statement:

“If the Trump administration sincerely wishes to assist local law enforcement in our state in their regular community-policing activities, in data-driven crime-fighting initiatives, in protecting the public safety and welfare of New Mexicans, we would welcome the conversation. If the Trump administration wishes to antagonize New Mexicans and Americans with authoritarian, unnecessary and unaccountable military-style ‘crackdowns,’ they have no business whatsoever in New Mexico.

“An exercise meant only to escalate tension in New Mexico communities would be flatly unacceptable,” she said. “If federal forces violate the rights of any New Mexican, if federal forces overstep their authority in any manner whatsoever, if there is any manner of clandestine authoritarian attempt to usurp local or state law enforcement operations in our state, the attorney general and I will not hesitate to litigate against the federal government and hold the Trump administration accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

“My administration stands ready to provide whatever resources the attorney general would need to execute accountability measures and to assure civil rights are upheld. We will continue to act every day in the best interests of New Mexicans and to support meaningful public safety efforts all across our state,” she said.

Attorney General Hector Balderas issued the following statement:

“It is very disturbing that public safety operations would be politicized to score cheap points, and on the front lines, law enforcement must work closely together to protect all members of our community. We will actively monitor this situation to ensure there are no civil rights violations in our community.”