Alvin (Buddy) Welch
"Grape Juice"
Black Beret Weapons Case

In early January 1971, two Black Berets, a local group of young Hispanic political activists who were patterned on the Brown Berets in California, were arrested and charged with carrying a weapon illegally in a pick up truck.

The weapon was an unloaded rifle with two loaded clips of ammunition on the front seat.

Municipal Court Judge Harry Robbins, citing the New Mexico law on carrying deadly weapons, which specifically exempted unloaded weapons, dismissed the criminal charges.

Other Black Berets took to the streets of Albuquerque in what they called a "community patrol" to monitor the activities of Albuquerque police officers during traffic stops of Hispanics.

I was photographing Albuquerque Traffic Officer Alvin "Grape Juice" Welch when he stopped an Hispanic driver. Two Black Berets showed up and stood on the sidewalk watching the officer's traffic stop. When the officer was finished the two Brown Berets approached the driver and talked about the citation. The driver showed the two Black Berets the citation. The January 28, 1971, Albuquerque News published one of my photographs of the Black Berets on "community patrol" watching a traffic stop.

EL GRITO Del Norte, printed at Newspaper Printing Corporation, the parent company of the Albuquerque News published the photograph that had been printed in the Albuquerque News January 28, 1971. EL GRITO Del Norte credited the photograph "Albuquerque News photo by Mark Bralley." The business manager of Newspaper Printing Corporation told me he had given the publisher of EL GRITO Del Norte the right to use the photograph. I was not paid for the picture by either EL GRITO Del Norte or Newspaper Printing Corporation, though I had been originally paid by the Albuquerque News for their use. I made no further issue over the matter. The photograph's use was consistent with the events surrounding the issue, even if the story contained some inaccuracies such as the date of the original arrests, which was reported by EL GRITO Del Norte as January 27, 1971, which would have been after the photograph of the Black Berets response would have been taken.