For the second time in two months, Albuquerque’s Jewish Community Center was targeted with a bomb threat today. It was one of at least 10 bomb threats to different JCCs across the country. Fred Duran, a spokesman with the Albuquerque Police Department, said the bomb threat to the Albuquerque location “came through the phone.” JCC staff evacuated the building after the threat came, and APD officers found no bomb inside, according to Duran. Everything at the JCC is currently operating “back to normal,” Duran added. Similar bomb threats were directed against JCCs today in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Texas, New York and Alabama, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
A House bill that would add first responders and law enforcement officers to the state’s Hate Crime statute died in a Senate committee on Friday. The Senate Public Affairs Committee voted against passing the bill, sponsored by House Majority Leader Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, along party lines. A majority of public support came from law enforcement officers representing six different counties as well as New Mexico State Police. Also among supporters were Rev. Holly Beaumont of Interfaith Worker Justice and Julie Benner, the widow of slain officer Gregg “Nigel” Benner. Those who opposed the bill said adding officers to the hate crime act would dilute the law already in place.
Legislators wrestled Wednesday afternoon with the idea of adding cops and law enforcement to the list of protected classes under state hate crime laws. State House Majority Leader Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, is carrying the bill as part of a “tough on crime” package endorsed by Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry and the House Republican leadership. One GOP lawmaker expressed his skepticism of the idea in a hearing of Gentry’s bill at the interim Courts, Corrections and Justice Committee. “I believe we’ve got laws already on the books that should take care of this,” state Rep. Rick Little, R-Chaparral, told Gentry at the hearing. “A lot of these things go on the judge’s discretion anyway.”
The committee didn’t vote on whether to endorse the bill or not.