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Homeless man shot to death by police after being caught illegally camping

Published time: March 24, 2014 20:46
Edited time: March 25, 2014 17:34
Still from a video uploaded on YouTube by user@KRQE on March 21, 2014.

Still from a video uploaded on YouTube by user@KRQE on March 21, 2014.

The Albuquerque Police Department in the state of New Mexico is coming under fire following the release of video footage taken from the helmet-mounted camera of an officer who shot and killed a man earlier this month for camping.

James Boyd, a 38-year-old homeless man thought to be schizophrenic, was shot by the Albuquerque PD on Sunday, March 16 after he became engaged in an hours-long standoff with officers who caught him illegally camping in the Sandi foothills. He was pronounced dead the next day.

Late last week, the APD released video footage taken from the helmetcam of an officer on the scene of the crime that shows a cop opening fire on Boyd while his back was turned to the police. The clip has since been widely circulated online and caused the local police force to become the target of widespread condemnation.

In the video, Boyd is heard telling the police, "Don't change up the agreement, I'm going to try to walk with you.” As he reaches for his belongings, however, an officer says “Do it” and a flash-bang device is fired at the suspect while a law enforcement dog is let loose. Boyd remains standing a few yards from the police seemingly unaffected by the blast, but moments later, the police say, he reached for something that they believed to be a knife, prompting Officers Dominque Perez and Keith Sandy to fire a total of six shots into the man.

As Boyd laid motionless on a rock with his face in a pool of blood, the police continued to bark orders at him before firing further rounds of non-lethal ammunition.

When the APD released the video on Friday, New Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden said that the video showed that the shooting is justified. It’s since been proven that Boyd had an extensive criminal past, and mentioned killing the police earlier during the encounter.

“I’m almost going to kill you right now. Don’t give me another directive. Don’t attempt to give me, the Department of Defense, another directive,” Boyd said earlier on.

According to KOAT News, previous incidents on Boyd’s record involve cases where he told people that he was God, or on a special mission handed-down to him directly by former-US President Gerald Ford. In 2009 he cut the face of a homeless man with a box cutter, and during a 2010 incident he was apprehended with a knife and razor blade in his waistband.

With regards to this month’s incident, Chief Eden said Boyd posed a “direct threat” to his officers and cited Garner v. Tennessee, a Supreme Court of the United States decision that found that the police can use deadly force in certain circumstances.

Grassroots organization ProgressNow reported that Albuquerque police have shot more people than the New York Police Department since 2010, despite being one-sixteenth the size, and has been the subject of a Department of Justice federal probe when the APD’s fatal shooting record was called into question.

According to the Huffington Post, Officer Sandy — one of the two cops responsible for firing the shots against Boyd earlier this month — was fired from the New Mexico State Police in 2007 over allegations of fraud.

“When Sandy joined the APD, the department said he would be a civilian employee and wouldn't have a gun or badge,” Sebastian Murdock wrote for HuffPo.

Albuquerque’s City Council President Ken Sanchez has asked that a federal investigation be opened up to review Boyd’s death, and a protest is scheduled outside of police headquarters on Tuesday afternoon.

Comments (109)


Rick Gellert 27.07.2014 01:47

Watching this is painful for me. People have no right to use disproportionate force for the situation and then claim fear or defense. The people of Albuquerque must remove the police chief, all officers involved, and insist on mandatory retraining for the others.
Just in.......I just emailed the APU. What did I find? These cops killed more people than a large city police department. Now the DOJ jumped their despotic asses.
The DOJ reported this in a press release 2014 July 14
Sometimes society works sort-of. Help me get the AmericaNeedsCommonSe nse org going, and we will be more effective at restoring fairness.


Tamara Ann Love 19.05.2014 23:34

Thank you for your input. I can not sit idly and watch my country deteriorate further. I may not be able to stop it, but I will use my talents, such as they are, to try to make a difference. I agree with many of you and would like permission to quote you, namely-Reader, Sandra, Sebo, Peter Jennings, and Edrick Patward. If you prefer, please let me know and I will put your entire name. Otherwise, I will use innitials for your protection. The first names only I will list as you see written above.


Tamara Ann Love 19.05.2014 23:34

I have spoken with the Chief of Police Dept. and the FBI who is currently investigating. I have verified that officer keith Sandy is no longer on payroll, but Dominique perez is on paid leave. Neither murderer has been arrested. Today is may 19th, 2014. I am writing the FBI, the mayor, and the Chief of Police. I will utilize my right to speak freely and I will make my voice and opinion known. I will not be satisfied until a life sentence is served in the general populace. No preferential treatment for criminals who use miltary tactics on civilians.

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