ALBUQUERQUE, NM - Today, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico launched a new billboard campaign across the city of Albuquerque advocating for the passage of SB 227, a bill introduced the previous week by Senator Linda Lopez. SB 227 creates a statewide use of force standard—the strongest in the nation—for all state and local law enforcement in New Mexico. The law would eliminate the patchwork of failed use of force policies that has made New Mexico the state with the highest rate of people killed by police; establish clear guidelines for use of force as a last resort; ban certain dangerous holds, weapons and tactics; and require crucial accountability and transparency mechanisms across all departments.
“As the use of force bill makes its way through the legislature, we wanted to create a visible reminder of how crucial this law would be for the safety and security of all New Mexicans,” said Barron Jones, Senior Policy Strategist for the ACLU of New Mexico. “The killing of George Floyd and the events of the past year have opened many people’s eyes to how severe the problem of excessive use of force by police really is. With SB 227, New Mexico has an opportunity to lead the nation in tackling this issue.”
The billboard campaign highlights new polling data collected by Benenson Strategy Group in December 2020 that shows overwhelming support among New Mexico voters for reforming how force is used by law enforcement in New Mexico. Some of the key findings include:
- 71% of New Mexico voters agree that as communities across the country face issues of police violence and racism, it is more important than ever that New Mexico takes real steps to reform where, how, and when police officers rely on the use of force.
- Even though a majority of New Mexico voters have generally positive views of their local police officers and department, use of deadly force is a clear red line that voters want tightly monitored and controlled.
- 80% of New Mexico voters agree that: “Police officers should only ever use deadly force if another person’s life is in danger.”
- 88% of New Mexico voters agree that: “Police officers are given the most significant power we give to any public employee—the power to kill. We need to make sure police officers are held accountable when they misuse that power, and that every fatal shooting by police is properly investigated.”
- Nearly three quarters of New Mexico voters express support for a bill that aims to reduce the use of deadly force by police.
More information about SB 227 can be found at: www.aclu-nm.org/sb227
Billboard designs are available here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1CyKahf7vsO2yVWeMli621gWfF1rX7_U-?usp=sharing