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Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 p.m. MDT

Jul 31, 2020
  • AP-US-SUPREME-COURT-BORDER-WALL

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has declined by a 5-4 vote to halt the Trump administration's construction of portions of the border wall with Mexico following a recent lower court ruling that the administration improperly diverted money to the project. The court's four liberal justices dissented, saying they would have prohibited construction while a court challenge continues,  after a federal appeals court ruled in June that the administration had illegally sidestepped Congress in transferring the Defense Department funds. Friday's order means the court is not likely even to consider the substance of the issue until after the November election, while work on the wall continues.

  • ELECTION 2020-SENATE-NEW MEXICO

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A Republican U.S. Senate hopeful is blasting New Mexico's health orders, which ban public political fundraisers and door-to-door campaigning. Mark Ronchetti said Friday the Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's restrictions are violating free and are "tilting the playing field" toward Democrats, including his opponent, U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján. The Democratic governor said Thursday the health orders aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 allows for peaceful protests but not public "political organizing" by candidates. Lujan Grisham spokeswoman Nora Sackett called Ronchetti's criticism "nonsense" and said candidates can find other creative ways to reach voters.

  • TRIBES-INTERNET ACCESS

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Tribes have another month to apply for a band of wireless spectrum to establish or expand internet on their lands. The Federal Communications Commission had opened a priority filing window for tribes to access a mid-band spectrum that largely is unassigned across the western United States. The commission on Friday extended the deadline to Sept. 2. Tribes had sought more time because of the coronavirus pandemic. They said tribes have struggled to gather the information needed to apply for the licenses once reserved for educational institutions. The FCC says setting the deadline further out would delay the granting of licenses to those who already have applied.

  • FILMING POLICE-LAWSUIT

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A Black man alleges in a lawsuit against New Mexico State Police that he was arrested without justification after shooting video of a police raid at a neighbor's home in Albuquerque and declining requests from officers to identify himself. The lawsuit said D'Andre Ravenel was jailed for four days on a charge of resisting an officer, though it was dismissed days after his April 2019 arrest. The American Civil Liberties Union said Ravenel was engaging in constitutionally protected conduct when he recorded the video from a safe distance on a public sidewalk. A State Police spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit.

  • VIRUS OUTBREAK-NEW MEXICO

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The administration of New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is defending its decision to ban indoor restaurant service as a reasonable precaution against the coronavirus. A challenge of the indoor dining prohibition by the restaurant industry reached the hands of the state Supreme Court on Friday after a flurry of written briefings were filed by the governor's office. Lujan Grisham on Thursday announced the extension of a stay-at-home public health health order. New Mexico's 7-day rolling average of daily deaths, infections and the rate of positive tests for the coronavirus have all increased over the past two weeks.

  • DEPUTY-LOST EVIDENCE

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A former sheriff's deputy in southern New Mexico has been arrested on accusations of tampering with evidence after detectives say a cleaning crew found boxes of guns and case files at his foreclosed home. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports former Doña Ana County sheriff's deputy Vincent Lopez was taken into custody Thursday following an investigation that began in May. Police say bags of evidence, firearms, ammunition, and case files were found at the foreclosed home. The 54-year-old Lopez told Las Cruces detectives the evidence was related to a multiple-rape case and a hostile working environment at the sheriff's office. Online records don't list an attorney for Lopez.

  • LAS CRUCES-POLICE CHIEF

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — The troubled Las Cruces Police Department is getting a new interim police chief. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports Deputy Chief of Administrative Support Services Miguel Dominguez was named interim chief on Thursday and will serve until the city permanently fills the position this fall. He replaces outgoing Chief Patrick Gallagher, who announced his retirement in the wake of an officer facing charges related to choking a suspect to death. Gallagher had been the city's police chief since 2018 and previously served as chief of police in Santa Fe and Truth or Consequences. Dominguez graduated from the city's police academy in 2003.

  • AP-US-RACIAL-INJUSTICE-ALBUQUERQUE

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Activists in Albuquerque say they are preparing to greet federal agents coming to New Mexico's largest city with civil disobedience and peaceful protests. Members of a coalition organized by the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice vowed Thursday to resist any Portland-style "occupation" of the city and any efforts to increase aggressive policing. Center executive director Jim Harvey said President Donald Trump is only sending federal agents to the city as a photo op. U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson is defending the decision to deploy 35 federal agents to Albuquerque to address violent crime, urging the city's Democratic mayor to embrace the effort