Two Albuquerque cops are facing murder charges in the shooting death of a homeless man. James Boyd, 38, was shot and killed by Officer Dominique Perez and former Detective Keith Sandy early last year. Although the details remain a point of heated controversy, Pro Tem Judge Neil Candelaria determined there is probable cause to charge the officers with second-degree murder.
On March 16, 2014, the Albuquerque Police Department received reports of a homeless man illegally camping in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains. Perez and Sandy were subsequently dispatched to the scene.
Upon arrival, the Albuquerque police officers attempted to persuade the homeless man to leave his makeshift shelter. As Boyd refused, the incident turned into a stand-off — which lasted several hours.
According to Perez and Sandy, Boyd was argumentative throughout the exchange. They were also concerned as the suspect appeared to threaten them with two knives.
As reported by Associated Press, the Albuquerque cops opened fire on the homeless man. Although he survived several hours, James Boyd later died of complications related to the gunshot wounds.
Officer Dominique Perez and former Detective Keith Sandy contend they were simply defending themselves and others from an aggressive attack. However, the specific details of the shooting remain unclear.
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Following the shooting, officials learned the suspected weapons were actually fake knives. They also learned the suspect was mentally ill — and suffered with schizophrenia.
A video, which was filmed during the shooting, only fueled the controversy — as Boyd appears to surrender moments before the officers opened fire.
WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO
An autopsy later confirmed the Albuquerque cops shot the homeless man in the back.
As reported by KOB News, the shooting prompted the Department of Justice to initiate an investigation into the Albuquerque Police Department.
As the DOJ determined “the department had a pattern of excessive force and that officers too frequently used deadly force on people who posed a ‘minimal threat’ and those with mental illnesses,” local officials ordered the police department to review and revise their policies.
Although they vehemently deny wrongdoing Officer Dominique Perez and former Detective Keith Sandy were criminally charged in James Boyd’s death. On Tuesday, Judge Neil Candelaria ruled there is probable cause to charge both officers with murder.
As reported by KOAT news, Perez and Sandy are also facing charges of aggravated assault, aggravated battery, and voluntary manslaughter. They will be formally charged on all counts at their arraignment — which will be scheduled at a later date.
The Albuquerque cops deny killing the homeless man in a display of excessive force. However, they could face jail time if they fail to prove their case in court.
[Image via Wikimedia]