Chaos in Albuquerque

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 31, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: "Unresolved Problem" segment tonight, enforcing the law yesterday in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Hundreds of protesters caused a big motion after a homeless man was shot dead by police. Since 2010, there have been 37 police shootings in Albuquerque, 23 of them fatal.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A day's worth of protests finally comes to a head in the streets of Albuquerque. APD deploying tear gas and arresting people, for hours it was a battle of wills.

Hundreds marched on the streets, even I-25 at one point voicing frustration and anger at the recent fatal police shooting of a homeless man in the foothills. A shooting that has many accusing the officers involved of crossing the line.


O'REILLY: Joining us now from Albuquerque Antonio Maestas, a New Mexico State representative and Paul Broome chief investigator for the Albuquerque Police Officers Association.

So Mr. Broome we ran the video of the homeless person being shot last week and it looked very dubious to me. He was far away from the cops, he didn't have a gun. He had a knife. And then they -- you know shot him dead.

So let's start there. Do you understand why the protesters would see that video and take to the streets?

PAUL BROOME, CHIEF NEGOTIATOR, ALBUQUERQUE POLICE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION: Yes, I can understand that, Bill. What they saw was a very small part of the episode that took place up there. That was a four-hour episode. And there's no question when you see just that, part of the episode. It is unsettling. There is no question about that.

O'REILLY: But remember, if it were just in a vacuum, we could say all right, let the authorities investigate. But with 23 other dead in less than four years, the protesters are basically -- you know they are a bunch of anti-cop people anyway. You know that. There are people who hate the police and they are going to jump on this to exploit it but I mean even -- even me, very pro-police, I'm going, you know, what's going on in Albuquerque, Mr. Broome?

BROOME: Well there was a major spike in shootings actually in 2010. And actually they have been actually decreasing since then.

O'REILLY: Why -- why did that happen?

BROOME: Why did the spike happen? Primarily because of the danger that the police officers are facing in these neighborhoods.

O'REILLY: From whom, gangs?

BROOME: Well gangs. We actually have a mental health situation in Albuquerque like many other cities which is actually in a state of collapse. We have situations where we have a lot of domestic violence. And every time a police officer gets out on those streets, he's taking his life in his own hands.

O'REILLY: Well that's every city.

BROOME: And as far as --

O'REILLY: All right Mr. Maestas how do you see this now?

BROOME: And we agree.

O'REILLY: There is a Justice Department investigation into the Albuquerque police. Began in 2012 we still don't know anything, typical federal government. They're going to run up a huge tab and we don't know anything for years. But what's your assessment of the Albuquerque police force Mr. Maestas?

ANTONIO "MOE" MAESTAS (D), NEW MEXICO STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Well thanks Bill for having us (inaudible) is beautiful; as you know Albuquerque is wonderful. APD simply does not acknowledge the statistical off-the- chart shootings, 37 shootings, 23 homicides and so --

O'REILLY: Not homicides -- not homicides Mr. Maestas, let's be fair, 23 fatalities.

MAESTAS: No, no I didn't, no, no they are homicides. They might be justifiable homicides but they are homicides. But -- but to answer your question, Bill, you're right 23 police-involved shootings in a city that's about 600,000 people does not jive with the rest of the country.

And so APD needs to look at it. We need to look at it as a community. We can't solve the problem if you don't have acknowledge --

O'REILLY: But what's the essential problem? What's the essential problem? You know the police are they -- are they trigger happy, are they not trained enough? What is the essential problem in your opinion?

MAESTAS: I think the problem is systemic and the leadership hasn't looked at -- at that question.

O'REILLY: What question?

MAESTAS: I mean you have -- you have a county police force or deputies that surround the population of Albuquerque that don't have these instances and so you have a lot of young cops who want to be cops Albuquerque, is a great place to live and they -- they are just not being held accountable. They are good people, they are brothers and sisters at APD but they are not being held accountable by the mayor or the chief who resisted DOJ all the way until DOJ finally came in without a limitation from the mayor.

O'REILLY: Mr. Broome what do you think is the problem with the Albuquerque PD, is it a lack of training or what, or is there no problem at all?

BROOME: There is no question that training is always something that we are always pushing for, always encouraging the department to actually to increase we've always been in favor of that.

But what we are faced with, Bill, in this city like many other cities is a deterioration of the mental health situation, the deterioration of the domestic abuse situation. Tremendous amount of poverty in the Albuquerque area and there is a lot of violence on the street. And there is plenty of drug use and abuse in this town as well.

So I think we need to look not only at the police department but we need to look at our own culture, our own citizens --


O'REILLY: Yes but when you say that Mr. Broome, you know that here in New York City crime has been falling and most other cities the violent crime is falling. Around the country it's falling. Yet you have a free fire zone in Albuquerque which you know it is. I understand there the poverty element out there. I understand I have been to Albuquerque many times that there are certain neighborhoods that are bad. But every city has that yet your city now is exploding. It's exploding. And I'm not quite sure why? I'm going to give you Mr. Maestas 30 seconds to wrap it up. Go?

MAESTAS: YOU are asking the $64,000 question, Bill, is why is this happening? And it takes a community to figure out. It takes to us to listen to one another. Have community forums and it takes a police force to listen to the community and for the community to learn more about police safety measures.

O'REILLY: All right.

BROOME: So they can act accordingly.

O'REILLY: It's always good to chat but when you got, you know this kind of an intense situation. We're waiting for the Justice Department again they have been out there for two years. That's long enough, guys, let's have the report so then we can advance the conversation. Gentlemen, thank you.

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