Outrage Sparked by Albuquerque Police Shooting of Homeless Man in the Back

A homeless man, James Boyd, was involved in a shooting with the Albuquerque police that sparked an outrage and a federal investigation. The autopsy released earlier today showed Boyd being shot three times in the back, classifying the incident as a homicide. The toxicology report that came back with the autopsy tested negative for drugs and alcohol.

After Boyd was shot by the two Albuquerque police officers, he underwent multiple surgeries to control the bleeding. However, Boyd died a day later, on March 16, due to his injuries. The autopsy identified a gunshot wound in Boyd’s lower left back, upper right arm, and upper left arm. Boyd also suffered cuts and bruises all over his body, consistent with a dog attack.

James Boyd, 38, was illegally camping in the Sandia Mountain foothills when he was shot by the Albuquerque police officers. Boyd apparently suffered from schizophrenia, a chronic, disabling brain disorder that causes hallucinations and delusions.

The incident was videotaped by a helmet camera that showed Boyd attempting to pack up before he was shot. The footage, which recently went viral online, sparked an outrage that demanded an investigation into the Albuquerque police department. The video even went as far as causing a riot, in which Albuquerque police were forced to use tear gas to disperse.

As of Thursday, the Albuquerque police department is being investigated by the FBI for police brutality. The two police officers, Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez, claimed that Boyd was carrying a knife and antagonizing them, and that the use of their guns was a necessary precaution.

Boyd’s family is suing the Albuquerque police department for wrongful death. The Kennedy Law Firm informed the police department on Tuesday, and Andrew Jones, Boyd’s brother, will be leading the lawsuit as the “personal representative” for Boyd. The Albuquerque police department will claim that the knife Boyd wielded warranted the use of the gun. The Boyd family will argue that the use of the gun was not an equal and opposing force to the knife, and that the two officers abused their powers.

This is one of three shootings in Albuquerque just this week. The Justice Department released a harsh review of the police department in April, criticizing the high number of shootings. There have been 40 police shootings in Albuquerque since 2010.

Boyd’s shooting has called for immediate reforms in the police department, but it will ultimately take months before any progress is made. We’ll just have to wait and see.

[Image via Adolphe Pierre-Louis/AP]

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