The Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women (CSVANW) learned about the passing of our relative Joleen Nez. We are outraged about the murder of Joleen Nez, an unhoused Native woman, who died in Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) custody on January 30, 2021 from a Daily Lobo Article, “Unhoused woman cited for littering dies in MDC custody.”
According to an article by the Daily Lobo, Joleen Nez was cited for littering, a petty charge, which ultimately cost Joleen Nez her life. We know Native women experience all forms of violence, and that unsheltered people experience heightened violence particularly at the hands of the police and state. Additionally, Native people are most likely to be murdered by law enforcement than any other minority group in the United States.
Even more concerning, is the cause of Joleen Nez’s death remains unknown, according to the Daily Lobo’s article. CSVANW demands APD and MDC be held accountable through a thorough investigation and call for the termination of Officer Preston Panana and MDC staff without benefits or compensation.
Unfortunately, news regarding the mistreatment of unhoused people is heavily underreported. As a result, CSVANW felt responsible to seek justice for Joleen Nez, and demand the following:
- Transparency from the Albuquerque Police Department and the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Centerabout circumstances that led to Joleen Nez’s death
- A full investigation regarding Joleen’s manner of death from MDC and the prosecutor Pilar A. Borneo
- APD officers involved be terminated, with cancelation of pension, administrative leave, or any benefits
- MDC staff responsible for Joleen’s care be held responsible for her death pending a thorough investigation
- Accountability, over-sight and professionalization of APD and MDC personnel who are involved in over-policing practices
- Justice for Joleen Nez.
“The death of Joleen Nez, who is a mother and auntie, is devastating. Too often we see unsheltered relatives experience abuse of power by police and too often we see incarcerated relatives experience medical neglect by the state institutions responsible for their care. This is costing people’s lives and there needs to be accountability and major changes to protect unsheltered relatives and those in the care of state institutions from state violence.”- Marquel Musgrave, CSVANW Membership and Communications Director.
“The Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women honors Native women’s lives, we create stronger communities, we pull together especially when we are healing from this often-common issue we continue to see with violence against our native relatives.”-Tiffany Jiron, CSVANW Advocate Coordinator
“Our unsheltered relatives are not disposable, and the city and county law enforcement and detention agencies failed Joleen Nez. The city of Albuquerque recently implemented a Community Safety Department in which a social worker could have been sent to assist Nez, instead an officer was dispatched, aggravated the situation, and then cited her with a petty crime. The incarceration and death of Nez was completely preventable – this city-sanctioned community solution failed Nez.” – Jolene Holgate, CSVANW Training and Education Director.
“We demand justice because the justice system must be held accountable for its abuse of power as this should not have cost Joleen Nez’s life.” – Floripa Olguin, CSVANW Sexual Violence Project Coordinator.
“This is clearly murder by APD and MDC continuing to harm Native women by using dehumanizing tactics every day in the streets of Albuquerque. APD has been under investigation and nothing has come forward from it but more police violence.” – Cheyenne Antonio, CSVANW Sex Trafficking Project Coordinator.
“The Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women recognizes that violence against women is a consequence of and serves to perpetuate ongoing systemic inequity. In order to break the cycles of violence we experience, that Joleen experienced, we need full accountability. There is no other way.”-Angel Charley, CSVANW Executive Director.
The Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women (CSVANW)