ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Albuquerque (CABQ) is paying out hundreds of thousands of dollars. It will go to a militia group that showed up armed with rifles to a protest in 2020.
CABQ is shelling out to the New Mexico Civil Guard.
Back in 2020, the militia group showed up armed to a protest, where demonstrators tried to pull down a statue of Conquistador Juan de Oñate near Old Town.
Video from that protest shows tensions escalating between protesters and the civil guard.
The scene turned chaotic and gave way to a shooting with the militia group surrounding the accused shooter until police arrested him.
Members of the group were also taken into custody and questioned that day.
In 2021, members of the Civil Guard filed a lawsuit against CABQ and its leadership, including Mayor Keller, claiming they were wrongfully detained. They claimed they did nothing wrong, but that the city and police targeted them anyway.
Now, the city has reached a settlement with the members of the militia group, paying out a total of $300,000.
When asked why the city chose to settle, a city spokesperson said the cost to continue in court was not worth it.
After the 2020 protest, then-District Attorney Raúl Torrez said the militia had the right to be there and bear arms but not to act as law enforcement.
This past legislative session, there was an effort to ban paramilitary groups in New Mexico. The bill failed in the Roundhouse.