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Local and State News

Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 p.m. MST


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Commissioners in New Mexico's most populous county have taken another step toward outfitting the sheriff's department with body cameras. The Bernalillo County Commission voted Tuesday to appropriate $1 million that had been approved last year through an administrative resolution. The money can be used to purchase cameras, support services, subscriptions and infrastructure for the camera systems. The move comes as Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham considers signing a bill that would mandate cameras for nearly all state and local law enforcement officers. Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales says if the legislation is signed, he'll ensure the technology is used to secure the constitutional rights and safety of all citizens.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Recently released body camera video shows the final moments before an unarmed Colorado man was shot and killed by a park ranger at Carlsbad Caverns. KOB-TV in Albuquerque reported Tuesday that video from the March shooting has 26 seconds missing, leaving local prosecutors unsure whether to rule the use of force was justified. Authorities say National Park Ranger Robert Mitchell stopped Charles "Gage" Lorentz for erratic driving March 21. An attorney representing Lorentz's family says they intend to sue the U.S. Interior Department. The National Park Service says the U.S. Attorney's Office for New Mexico is investigating.  


 ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A longtime educator has been named the interim superintendent of the Albuquerque public school district. Scott Elder took the reins Wednesday, replacing Raquel Reedy, who retired June 30. The school board suspended its national search for a new superintendent when schools closed in March due to the spread of the coronavirus. In anticipation of related budget cuts, Elder said the district is looking at ways to save money. Elder started his career with the Albuquerque district teaching students whose native language wasn't English. He also worked as a principal and later chief operations officer.


Immigration judges say they are being muzzled by the Trump administration and the union that represents them is suing the U.S. Department of Justice. The lawsuit filed Wednesday is the latest confrontation between the judges and the Justice Department, which oversees U.S. immigration courts. The union's president says past administrations have allowed judges to speak publicly in their personal capacity to educate the public about the immigration court system. Judge A. Ashley Tabaddor says the new policy prohibits them from talking publicly about the courts or immigration and the lawsuit is seeking to block the policy. A Justice Department official said they don't comment on pending litigation.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Albuquerque man who claimed to shoot his uncle in self-defense is facing a murder charge.Albuquerque police upgraded charges against 25-year-old Joshua Martinez after the victim succumbed to his injuries early Wednesday.Authorities say Martinez called 911 Tuesday to report the shooting, saying 48-year-old Curtis Martinez tried to run him over with his car. Responding officers found Curtis Martinez slumped in his car with a gunshot wound to the head. He was immediately transported to a hospital. Meanwhile, a handgun was seen in a holster worn by the suspect. Joshua Martinez was handcuffed without incident. Investigators say surveillance footage shows the suspect was never in danger.


BERNALILLO, N.M. (AP) — A Jemez Pueblo activist wants a New Mexico town to confront a conquistador image on a water tank. Roger Fragua, executive director of the nonprofit group Flower Hill Institute, recently sent a letter to the town of Bernalillo asking to the mayor to talk about the depiction. Fragua says the axe under the conquistador helmet is offensive to some Native Americans. Bernalillo Mayor Jack Torres says he's open to beginning talks. The move comes after Albuquerque and officials in Alcalde removed statues of Spanish conquistador Don Juan de Oñate amid demands from protesters to have them toppled.


CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — School districts in New Mexico are preparing their plans for resuming classes in the fall amid the coronavirus pandemic. In Las Cruces, district officials are reminding parents that all school-age children must be up to date on immunizations or have the proper exemption from the state Health Department. The Carlsbad school district is hopeful the overall lower number of COVID-19 positive cases in the community could mean a normal school year for students. There have been fewer than 80 cases in Eddy County. Overall, New Mexico has reported more than 12,000 cases since the outbreak began. 


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed a budget solvency plan seeking to mend a multibillion-dollar deficit by scaling back spending increases. But the Democrat vetoed Tuesday some cuts to public education and other areas. State government finances are reeling from the coronavirus epidemic's economic fallout and aggressive state emergency health restrictions designed to hold the virus at bay. New Mexico economists are forecasting a $2.4 billion decline in state government income through June 2021 amid the economic upheaval. The governor vetoed more than $30 million in budget cuts, restoring funding slated for reduction for public schools and other measures.