The New Mexico chapter of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both a part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement after New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law Senate Bill 8, legislation that would ensure transparency and increase accountability for police violence:
“It’s past time we acknowledge and act on the historical and continued police violence that disproportionately impacts Black and brown communities in New Mexico,” said Elizabeth Mullaney, a volunteer with the New Mexico chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Requiring mandatory body cameras and increasing police accountability are important first steps to addressing these issues. These are policies that will promote gun safety, help increase community trust in law enforcement, and make the state a safer place for all New Mexicans.”
Senate Bill 8 would require law enforcement to wear “body-worn” cameras while on duty and require footage from the cameras to be retained for at least 120 days. The bill would also hold law enforcement accountable by revoking the certification of officers who have been convicted or pled guilty to crimes involving the unlawful use of force or the failure to intervene in unlawful use of force.
The signing of SB 8 comes a few weeks after a man was shot and wounded during a protest to remove the statue of Juan de Oñate, a Spanish conqueror known for “excessive violence and cruelty,” in Albuquerque. The statue had been viewed as a symbol of racial injustice.
Every year, police in the U.S. shoot and kill more than 1,000 people, and on an average day, police shoot and kill three people and injure six more. Black people in the United States are far more likely to be shot and killed by police than their white counterparts, and data from The Guardian shows that most people killed by police are killed with guns. According to Mapping Police Violence, Black Americans are killed by police at three times the rate of their white counterparts and from 2013 to 2019, police in New Mexico killed 142 people.
Statistics about gun violence in New Mexico are available here, and information on how New Mexico’s gun laws compared to other states overall is available here.