New Mexico police officers have been charged with murder. The two officers are accused of killing homeless man James Boyd, who was living in the mountains last year. Boyd was shot to death during a police standoff. A video of the incident allegedly shows the man “appearing” to surrender to the New Mexico officers.
Protests after the New Mexico police shooting broke out in Albuquerque after James Boyd was killed. Special Prosecutor Randi McGinn announced multiple charges have been filed against Officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez, including second-degree murder. If convicted on the murder charge, the police officers could face up to 15 years in prison. Both officers have maintained their innocence.
James Boyd was reportedly schizophrenic and had not received the proper medical treatment. The video of the police shooting revealed that Boyd was holding two knives when he was shot and killed. Boyd, 36, was camping in a restricted area and was told to leave by Open Space officers. The standoff with Boyd was many hours long and included officers from various police units. Boyd was shot multiple times and died the day after the standoff began.
— BCNN1 (@bcnn1) June 23, 2015
Prior to the shooting of the homeless man, the United States Justice Department was reportedly investigating the police department over allegations of “misuse of force.” The DOJ reached an agreement to improve training in Albuquerque after sharply criticizing the police department. Dismantling “troubled” departments was also reportedly part of the same agreement.
New Mexico police officer Keith Sandy said he was “protecting a fellow officer when he shot Mr. Boyd.” Sam Bregman, the officer’s attorney, also maintains that there was no “criminal intent” during the fatal shooting of James Boyd.
The FBI has also been investigating the New Mexico police shooting. FBI officials haven not yet announced the filing of any federal charges against Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez. Albuquerque have been involved in 40 shootings since 2010. Critics of the police department claim the number of shootings for a city of approximately 560,000 people is way too high. Supporters of the police department largely feel that the police officers have been defending both themselves and the community during the altercations.
SWAT team member Dominique Perez fired the fatal shot into James Boyd, according to charging documents on charges of second-degree murder. The court filings claim that New Mexico police officer Sandy “did kill or aid and abet in the killing” of Boyd, and SWAT team member Perez “did kill James Boyd without legal justification.”
Lesser charges levied against the New Mexico officers include voluntary and involuntary manslaughter with a firearm enhancement, aggravated assault resulting in great bodily harm against Perez, and aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm against Sandy.
What do you think about the New Mexico police officers being charged with murder in the James Boyd shooting?
[Image via video screengrab]