Morning Word

Santa Fe Jury Awards Man Arrested at Obelisk Protest $50,000

Feds pick NM for behavioral health funds

Jury awards $50,000 to man arrested at obelisk protest

A Santa Fe jury yesterday concluded Dylan Wrobel was wrongly arrested on Oct. 12, 2020, the day of the Plaza obelisk destruction, and awarded him $50,000, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports. In his lawsuit against the Santa Fe Police, the City of Santa Fe and Mayor Alan Webber, Wrobel alleges police falsely arrested him, and battered him, including pepper-spraying him in the eyes and mouth at point-blank range when Wrobel lay on the ground not resisting arrest. The jury, however, did not find in Wrobel’s favor on the issue of whether SFPD had committed assault against him. Nonetheless, Wrobel’s attorney tells the paper he hopes to see reform for SFPD policing, and suggested the city should establish a civilian review board for cases that involve excessive force and misconduct. “The amount of falsehoods this case brought to light should show that you don’t just review use of force and constitutional violations internally,” Eric Sirotkin said. “It doesn’t work.” Following the verdict, Wrobel told the paper it had been a relief to tell his side of the story.

NM incumbents lose legislative seats

Santa Fe County had one major legislative race on Tuesday—an open seat for state senate district 24, held by long-time Democratic Sen. Nancy Rodriguez, who announced her retirement earlier this year. As SFR reported following the close of polls on Tuesday, former state Rep. Linda Trujillo won a three-way primary to take her spot. But elsewhere in the state, several incumbents lost their seats, the Associated Press reports. The ousted lawmakers include Daniel Ivey-Soto, who faced and denied allegations of sexual harassment and bullying. Progressive challenger Heather Berghmans won the primary race against Ivey-Soto for Senate District 15 with approximately 80% of the vote. The election results may hold promise for paid family leave legislation, the AP reports, as some of its opponents were defeated at the polls and will be replaced by lawmakers who say they will support it at the Roundhouse. While proposed paid family leave failed at the legislative session earlier this year, advocates say it will return at the next regular session.

HSD expands mental health, substance abuse treatment

New Mexico will launch “certified community behavioral health clinics” starting next year, the state Human Services Department announced yesterday, and is one of 10 states receiving additional federal Medicaid funding to do so. According to a news release from the US Department of Health and Human Services, CCBHCs are required to provide a range of services for mental health and substance abuse disorders, as well as primary care services. “Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics serve anyone who requests care for mental health or substance use conditions,” HHS Deputy Secretary Andrea Palm says in a statement “With sustainable funding, CCBHCs in participating states will now be able to connect more people to the care they need.” In New Mexico, HSD says it has provisionally certified six clinics to participate, including Santa Fe Recovery Center. “CCBHCs are pivotal to our strategy to expand and improve access to evidence-based behavioral health services in our state,” New Mexico Medicaid Director Dana Flannery says in a statement. “Through a no-wrong door approach, these clinics will offer 24/7 crisis services and comprehensive mental health and substance use treatment for New Mexicans.”

Homelessness to the north

Searchlight New Mexico probes tension in Española over the city’s approach to its unhoused residents, currently in a standstill as people living in an encampment along the Rio Grande wait to see if their area will be cleared. Writer Molly Montgomery reports residents want the city to shut down the encampment where approximately 30 people live, and whom residents constantly harass by throwing rocks, ice and fireworks, sometimes at night when people sleep. Searchlight witnessed someone driving by and firing a gun, accompanied by yelling “get a job” and “go home.” While the city agreed to clear the encampment, its residents have refused to leave, and the police chief has refused to force them, saying he doesn’t want to criminalize homelessness. City Manager Eric Lujan says he’s also unhappy about having to tell them to leave—the city had been providing needle exchange, toilets and other services to the encampment residents. “I’m tired of people pointing their fingers at the city, saying, “What’s wrong with you? Why are you giving them property? Why are you giving them the ability to use trash facilities, to have a toilet?’” Lujan tells Searchlight. “What’s wrong with you? You get to go home and sleep in a bed. They’re sleeping in a tent on the dirt.”

Listen up

The City of Santa Fe has been steadily working to improve bicycle infrastructure and access, but the fact remains that New Mexico as a whole remains particularly risky for cyclists (Albuquerque especially). Today’s 8 am Let’s Talk New Mexico call-in show on 89.9 FM and online delves into biking danger, along with safety measures riders can and should take. Guests include: Santa Fe Metropolitan Planning Organization Transportation Planner Leah Yngve; Center for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Director Nick Ferenchak; BikeABQ Advocacy Committee Chair Patrick Martin; and a representative from the Story Riders program at the Center of Southwest Culture. Email, call in live at (505) 277-5866 or leave a voice message at the link on the show page linked above.

Speaking of bicycles and outdoor activities...

SFR’s 2024 Summer Guide hit the streets this week and has a little something for everyone, no matter your hot-weather predilections. Bicyclists will find an on-the-scene description for Loops, a group ride/party concept here in Santa Fe, accompanied by a map to local trails and paths. We’ve also got ideas for swimmersskaters and folks looking for out-of-town day trips for the whole family. Prefer a more mellow summer vibe? Prepare for a summer of musiccinema and, of course, Santa Fe Opera tailgating with our tips for packing a spread to remember—and more.

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Baldwin writ large

“We’re inviting you into our home to experience the ups and downs, the good, the bad, the wild and the crazy.” So said Alec Baldwin in an Instagram video earlier this week in which he and wife Hilaria Baldwin announced a forthcoming reality television show titled The Baldwins, featuring the couple’s home life with their seven children. As the New York Times points out, the Baldwins say The Baldwins will appear on TLC next year, but Alec Baldwin, 66, will appear in court in Santa Fe next month—barring any legal developments—on trial for alleged involuntary manslaughter in the on-set Oct. 21, 2021 shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. The Times reports that Baldwin’s lawyers have said the Rust tragedy has made it hard for Baldwin to find work; at the same time, Baldwin has told interviewers the number of children he has makes it difficult to take acting jobs away from home.

Also on the Baldwin/film front, Variety and other mags report a Los Angeles judge earlier this week ruled filmmaker Rory Kennedy does not have to give footage from her upcoming Alec Baldwin documentary to New Mexico prosecutors in Baldwin’s manslaughter case. Kari Morrisey and Erlinda Johnson in April reportedly asked for footage showing interviews with Baldwin and others, which they described as “critical pieces of information concerning key elements of this criminal prosecution.”

Hot streak

The National Weather Service forecasts another hot day—potentially the hottest of the year in some spots—with high temperatures in the 90s and north wind 5 to 10 mph becoming southwest in the afternoon.

Thanks for reading! The Word is enjoying photos of coral reefs, courtesy National Geographic.

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