Thanks for keeping it classy, Rio Rancho.

Way to remember the late George Floyd, Albuquerque. How much did that rioting accomplish?

Floyd, if you’ve been without any kind of media reports, was the Minneapolis man who died after a police officer there knelt on his neck for a prolonged period as other officers ignored him.

He didn’t deserve to die, and the behavior of the officers involved is inexcusable. The officer who knelt on his neck has been charged with second-degree murder, the other officers at the scene were fired and charged with were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder, and that situation — what, 1,300 miles away from Albuquerque? — will play out there.

We certainly hope justice will be done. Committing crimes in New Mexico — or anywhere else — doesn’t bring about justice.

Last Sunday evening, a planned peaceful protest started at University and Central, lasting for several hours. Albuquerque Police Department helped block traffic for the large group. There were some acts of graffiti, but the vast majority of people marched in peace.

We support their exercise of First Amendment rights and commend the majority for doing so peacefully.

Later, after midnight, another gathering started damaging businesses and other property. Some started small fires in Dumpsters and eventually in the middle of intersections.

APD deployed its Emergency Response Teams to a large portion of Downtown to try to prevent vandalism and violence.

Some people threw bottles and other items at officers. Some climbed on rooftops and threw things down to the street.

After a few hours, shots were fired at police in front of the historic KiMo Theater, fortunately with no injuries.

Shortly after that, individuals broke windows at the KiMo and entered. There was a fear they might start a fire inside.

Police units moved in to save the building from further damage.

Several locally owned businesses also sustained damage.

Duke City Mayor Tim Keller was unhappy: “We stand in solidarity with the African-American community who are grieving the recurring violence against their community. What we saw last night was separate violence that must stop now.”

These hypocrites won’t read that statement, and what a great excuse they think they have to call harm to people who had nothing to do with Floyd’s death a “protest.”

During staff writer Gary Herron’s college days, he was privy to a few protests. He stayed away from both, believing no good would come from either.

As he recalled from those days on the Eastern Michigan University campus, there wasn’t any destruction. But nothing was accomplished then, almost 50 years ago, and nothing will be accomplished by that mayhem in Albuquerque.

We empathize with the owners of damaged businesses. COVID-19 has hurt their business and livelihoods; they sure didn’t need this.

Hurting — whether physically or financially — innocent people over the disgraceful acts someone else committed is hypocritical and solves nothing.

Thankfully, we have enough responsible residents in the City of Vision. We’ve had no rioting here.

We’re also grateful Rio Rancho Police don’t kneel on people’s necks until they die, but instead have earned a reputation of treating people right.

If anyone organizes a peaceful protest here, we absolutely support that right. Just be better than violence.

Another way to enact change is to get involved in local government. Call local representatives, attend meetings, volunteer or run for office and most importantly vote.

Be safe; be smart.

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