By Tracy Dingmann
When I saw the compelling video of the relatives of APD shooting victim Chris Hinz asking the city council to look into police actions surrounding his death all over the television news Monday night, I expected to read about it in the next morning’s Journal. (See KOB’s coverage here, and KOAT’s coverage here.)
What I did find in my Tuesday morning paper, on the editorial page, was an editorial praising Mayor Richard Berry’s administration to the sky for its efficient bureaucracy and skill at saving the taxpayers various small sums of money by fixing a recalcitrant bus, axing a little-used recycling program and cutting city travel. (Read: “A Government That’s Here To Help – Really”)
Okay. But what about the part of the Berry administration that is responsible for some eight people losing their lives at police hands since Jan. 1?
The Journal did, in fact, deal with those grim and alarming numbers in a front page story on June 16. (Read: “APD Shootings Escalate; Eight So Far This Year”). And the paper wrote specifically about the Hinz killing shortly after it happened (Read “Police: Man In Standoff Had Rifle”) and later, with reaction from friends of the family, (Read: “Friends Criticize Police Shooting”) who were quoted calling Hinz a well-rounded and devoted dad who had showed no previous signs of distress.
But the Journal didn’t have anything about Hinz’s friends and family appearing at the city council meeting Monday night – and hasn’t carried anything about police shootings since.
Let me be clear – it is not just Hinz’s death I think readers should see answers about. I think people in Albuquerque deserve to know more about why so many people have died by police hand lately. Maybe it’s a coincidence…but maybe there’s a pattern there – something that needs to be addressed. Sure some of these guys were criminals – but that doesn’t mean the paper shouldn’t ask hard questions about their deaths and the deaths of anyone who dies that way.
That’s the classic role of newspapers – at least that’s what I understood when I was growing up.
The Journal does a great job uncovering waste in government and the bad acts of certain folks. And it started to do some good work on the police shootings – but it needs to follow up.
Maybe the Journal should put one of its investigative reporters on it.
Because it’s a matter of deadly importance to everyone who lives here.