Raúl Torrez, district attorney for New Mexico’s 2nd Judicial District (including Albuquerque and Bernalillo County), recently won a huge victory for the rule of law and against the functioning of armed militias and local warlords in New Mexico. -Mexico.
Last summer, the New Mexico Civil Guard, a right-wing armed militia, sought to disperse a protest and protect a statue of Juan de Oñate, a Spanish conquistador and governor of New Spain who, in 1599, led a massacre of 800 to 1,000 Acoma Indians and destroyed Acoma pueblo. Oñate sentenced all Acoma pueblo survivors over 25 to a life of slavery and cut off their toes (or a foot).
Torrez, a Democrat, is running to replace Hector Balderas as New Mexico’s attorney general when Balderas steps down next year due to term limitations.
Recently, Judge Elaine Lujan, a District Court Judge for the 2nd Judicial District Court, ruled that Torrez can take legal action against the New Mexico Civil Guard and direct the Civil Guard to organize and operate in public as a military unit independent of the New Mexico Civilian Authority. .
Judge Lujan rejected the defense of Civil Guard members that they were simply exercising their right to freedom of expression and association under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and their right to bear arms under the Second. amendment of the US Constitution.
Republican Party officials praised the Civil Guard and held a rally paying them “special tribute.”
The founder of the New Mexico Civil Guard has a swastika tattoo and was the local “commander” of the New Confederate States of America.
Ensuring public safety is the responsibility of the democratically elected government of New Mexico and its duly appointed agents – the New Mexico National Guard, state police, and local police – not a self-proclaimed vigilante group.
The alternative is for armed militias to patrol our streets, each with their own vision of law and order and likely facing other armed groups with different opinions.
We may disagree on how the democratically elected government of New Mexico protects public safety, but the solution lies at the ballot box, not in the barrel of a gun.
Ron Flax-Davidson is a lawyer and resident of Santa Fe.