Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

The Black Lives Matter protest leader, ACLU, is filing lawsuits

Copyright © 2021

An Albuquerque civil rights activist filed two lawsuits Friday alleging he was wrongly arrested and jailed for parole violations years after serving his sentence.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuits on behalf of Clifton White, alleging he was the target of police harassment and retaliation after organizing a protest against Black Lives Matter in Albuquerque in May 2020.

Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said in a written statement that the city would respond to the allegations in court.

Tia Bland, a Bernalillo County spokeswoman, declined to comment on the lawsuits.

A spokesman for the New Mexico Corrections Department did not immediately respond to phone and email requests for comment on Friday.

Just a few days after the protests on Sept.

White was relocated to a correctional facility in June 2020, where a parole board found he had violated the terms of his parole, the lawsuit said.

He was released on October 29, 2020 after District 2 Judge Cindy Leos found that White had successfully carried out his sentence, according to court records.

Leos wrote in her release notice that White was serving his sentence in September 2016 and is no longer under state jurisdiction.

The lawsuits accuse the state of illegally imprisoning White for parole violations due to errors by the Correctional Department in calculating his term of service.

“Clifton White is one of countless black men in America whose circumstances are bringing them into the criminal justice system,” said Leon Howard, legal director of the ACLU.

White’s experience “shows how every tool in the system worked against him to keep him on an endless cycle of incarceration since he was only 18 years old, even after serving his sentence,” said Howard.

The first lawsuit, filed in the 2nd District Court, identifies as defendants two officers from the Albuquerque Police Department, a former Bernalillo Metropolitan Detention Center overseer and a parole and parole officer.

The second lawsuit, filed in the 1st Judicial District Court, identifies six Corrections Department officers as defendants.

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