ABQ Black Community Wants Answers, Reforms After ATF Sting Operation

NMiF: ATF sting

June 23, 2017 - In court filings and testimony, federal agents and prosecutors have vigorously denied that racial profiling was part of a massive undercover sting operation by the federal bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in Albuquerque last year. But data unearthed by KNME partner New Mexico In Depth (NMID) call those claims into question. ATF arrested 103 people in the sting, 28 of whom were black. That’s 27 percent, in a city where the black population is just 3 percent, and in a state where blacks made up just 5 percent of drug and gun defendants in federal court between 2006 and 2015. To Patrick Barrett, a community organizer and member of the local NAACP chapter and the Sankofa Men’s Leadership Exchange, and Albuquerque resident Janette McClelland, the ATF operation looks like a classic case of racial profiling. They point to the racial disparities among those arrested, agents’ tactics and their use of confidential informants as proof. Barrett and McClelland sat down this week with NMiF correspondent and NMID criminal justice reporter Jeff Proctor to talk about their concerns with the sting operation, how it has impacted the black community’s relationship with law enforcement in Albuquerque and their demands for answers and reforms from federal and local officials.

Further reading:
New Mexico In Depth: Feds’ sting ensnared many ABQ blacks, not ‘worst of the worst’
New Mexico In Depth: ATF used traveling, well-paid informants in ABQ sting
New Mexico In Depth: Maps: ATF Albuquerque sting in context
New Mexico In Depth: Black man swept up in ATF sting wins legal victory, but stiffer prosecution looms

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