Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Monday issued the following statement:
“I want to wholeheartedly commend the thousands of New Mexicans who peacefully protested in Albuquerque last night. Freedom of speech is an undeniable right of every American and every New Mexican, and in moments of crisis, in expressing anger at long-standing injustice and racism, that right is all the more important. These protesters were part of an exemplary demonstration.
“Later in the night, a small group took a wrong turn, and this is greatly concerning. We have received reports of shots fired at or in the direction of public safety officers – and this is flatly unacceptable. That sort of behavior is an attempt to distort the important work of the peaceful protesters – who have every right to demonstrate in peace – and puts both the protesters and public safety officers at risk. Those individuals, I have complete confidence, will be held accountable. There is no place in this moment for hijacking the protesters’ message of justice and non-violence.
“The president’s comments this morning were a dangerous step in this wrong direction. His effort to militarize the response to these protests will only serve to inflame the feelings of anger and injustice – and will give rise to additional opportunity for violence and chaos. I unequivocally reject his notion that physical or military force is the only worthwhile or effective response to these protests.
“The state of New Mexico will stand ready to assist local governments in facilitating peaceful protests. These protesters are giving voice to powerful and deep feelings about the unacceptable inequity and injustice woven into this country; their stand against racism is a worthy one; and I encourage them to continue demonstrating in a peaceful and safe fashion, remembering the urgent health risks of this moment. Lastly it is essential that I underscore the importance of not allowing that message to be distorted by the harmful actions of a few bad actors.”