ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – After three nights of protests, the Albuquerque Police Department is now discouraging anyone from acting as vigilantes, this comes after several groups say they’ve been out there trying to ease tensions and protect local businesses. APD says while these groups may have good intentions, they’re asking them to leave safety in the hands of trained professionals.

“We don’t want outside groups no matter what they’re intentions are to go out and enforce laws,” said Gilbert Gallegos, a spokesman for APD. “Even if they have good intentions to protect protesters or property, generally it’s a bad idea. It can actually make the job more difficult for police, it can escalate tensions with people who are out there,” said Gallegos.

Monday evening UFC fighter Jon Jones says he and a group of about ten people joined the protests, trying to keep the crowds calm. He says he didn’t want to see a repeat of the violence from Sunday night. Jones says he talked to the police about his intentions before Monday’s protests. “We’re here to try and protect the peaceful protesters and small businesses,” said Jones.

APD says that meeting was not a department sanctioned event and they’re now investigating the incident. Jones isn’t the only one who’s been out there, the New Mexico Civil Guard, a local militia group, says they’ve also been protecting local businesses throughout the week.

APD says even though New Mexico is an open-carry state, and people are allowed to have guns, they’re asking anyone going to the protests to leave the firearms at home, they say it can escalate tensions. APD also says the officers who met with Jones’ group are not facing any disciplinary action at this time, but they’re still investigating.

Jackson Wink Academy released the following statement:

JacksonWink Academy and our fighters stand firm against the racial injustice endemic in this nation, against police brutality, against alt-right and hate groups, and against the horrific murder of George Floyd. We are proud of our diversity and deep connections to communities of color around the world, and we are proud to support our countless law enforcement sisters and brothers who serve and protect. The false attacks about a so-called militia launched by desperate politicians, and their attacks on their own police officers doing community policing, are ludicrous and insulting to our community. JacksonWink fighters are passionate people who don’t want to see Albuquerque businesses burned, vandalized and looted

James Hallinan, JacksonWink Academy Spokesman

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