Jacob Candelaria, an openly-gay, New Mexico state senator living in Albuquerque, has fled the city, along with his husband, after receiving hate-filled voice messages threatening to get him out, “one way or another.”
Candelaria says he doesn’t feel safe and is horrified by how authorities do not appear to be taking the threats seriously.
Candelaria is an attorney and has served as a Democratic state senator for New Mexico’s 26th District since 2012. He took part in a TV news report on Saturday in which he criticized people for gathering without face masks at a protest outside the State Capitol.
He subsequently received a series of threatening voice messages from around 10 pm Saturday onwards. Candelaria, who is of Mexican heritage, posted a couple of clips to Twitter.
In one, a caller says, “You don’t even know what it means to be American. You’re one stupid motherfucker and we’re going to get you out, one way or another. Fuck you.”
In another, a caller used homophobic slurs, calling Candelaria a “dick-sucking, piece of shit, Democrat.”
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Candelaria and his husband were shocked and alarmed by the calls, particularly in light of the recent arrest of men who had plotted to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. However, after contacting the police at around 2 am Sunday, Candelaria says he and his husband had to wait 13 hours for law enforcement officers to show up.
They say the state police questioned whether the calls could be taken as a threat.
“The state police came to my house 13 hours later,” said Candelaria on Twitter. “I played these tapes, their response was to yell and my husband and I for being upset. When I asked if they thought this was a threat, they said ‘meh, depends how you hear it.’”
Candelaria says the phone number of one of the callers was traced, via a private investigator, back to a man who has an open arrest warrant and “an extensive criminal history.”
I repeat, we have been provided NO protection by law enforcement since this happened. We’ve made 32 calls. Our only choice now is to leave the city until @MayorKeller @GovMLG promise this man will be arrested on his open warrants
— jacobcandelaria (@SenCandelaria) October 25, 2020
State Police spokesman Mark Soriano told Associated Press on Sunday the agency’s investigations bureau is actively handling Candelaria’s complaint of threats. He said the initial response by State Police personnel is also being reviewed.
Gilbert Gallegos, a spokesman for the Albuquerque Police Department, said periodic surveillance of the senator’s home was taking place, following Candelaria’s 911 call. He said State Police are leading the investigation.
Candelaria and his husband have now left Albuquerque and are staying with family.
“I have no idea how I can keep my family safe right now other than leave,” he said. “They do not have the right to make death threats like this and have it go unaccountable.”
Related: New Mexico House candidate addresses gay adult film past
Candelaria told Queerty that state police informed him there was no budget to offer him protection.
“The governor refuses to authorize protection for me and my husband,” Candelaria said. “That there’s no money to protect us. We’re numb. We spent the whole day trying to convince the governor’s office, APD and state police to care. At no point has our safety been the primary concern.
“We’re terrified and have been made to feel as if we should be grateful for the bare minimum that’s been done.
“I’ve pleaded to the governor directly and she has ignored me and my husband. Law enforcement has completely stopped communicating with us. We are going to have to pay for our own security because the governor and state police have declined our request for protection until this investigation is complete. We’re not in any way satisfied with what little investigation has happened to this point.”
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Candelaria said the phone threats, and lack of response, had kept him awake at night.
“No-one is taking this seriously. But then again we’re just two gay guys. And I’m Mexican. So who cares in America anymore.”
On Facebook, Candelaria said, “Next time I’ll make sure to wait until I’m shot before I call to report a death threat and seek the help of the Governor, State Police, APD, or the Mayor of Albuquerque. Apparently, that’s what it takes for someone to take what happened to our family seriously.”
Queerty has contacted the office of New Mexico Governor, Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham, for comment.
Not surprised that Law Enforcement and the State Government of NM is kinda …’Meh’ about this. The only way the LGBTQ+ Community can get action is by holding their feet to the PR Fire, that’s when you see action. Mostly, they [Police and Politicians] start making statements and taking action is when the Media start asking questions and their ‘Meh’ attitude doesn’t cut it anymore. Had this been a White Female State Senator and exactly the same message(s) content been delivered and there was suspicion the messages came from a ‘Minority’ group or person(s), all Holy Hell would be braking loose.
But a Minority Gay Official? Meh…
Police keep trying to claim they aren’t racists or anti-LGBTQ, but then behave like this.
And the police and most politicians are too stupid to realize that it is this same lack of action that keeps fanning the flames under minorities and causing ever increasing unrest. A smart person would at least show enough interest to make this guy believe something was being done even if nothing was being done. Unfortunately, claims like Smollett’s false accusations of harassment just help embolden some authorities in charge to ignore what certainly appears to be a pretty well substantiated claim
I hate to sound alarmist, but after this election is over I think the LGBQ community (because TransLivesMatter is already a hashtag) AND Latino/as are about to be classified with African Americans in the disrepected minority category.
Let’s defund those police departments. Now. They’re worthless.
I hope he has the NMSP officers name that made that comment for he can be fired and keeps a paper trail of all communications that he makes for then he can truly raise hell and get somebodies butt in the fire and have a good time doing it. I’ll support his claim for sure
He’s an elected official, for God’s sake…why doesn’t he just go over their heads to the FBI about this? The FBI has historically been known to spend years tracking down everything from rapists to hijackers to embezzlers to bank robbers…and HE’S AN ELECTED OFFICIAL! Go contact the FBI and get it over with. After it’s all over, sue the police department for not doing their jobs of investigating and protecting him.
I lived in NM for 8 years. The ABQ police are trash: they kill homeless people at the slightest provocation, and are lazy, stupid, bigoted morons with an entitled sense of pride.
My husband and I have received death threats and have been harrassed by our neighbors here in Fresno, CA. One even broke into our backyard. When Fresno PD arrived the officer refused to even charge them with anything. I realize we are not elected officials but hate against the LGBTQ community is everywhere, even here in California.
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