James Boyd Shooting: Albuquerque Police Shot Homeless Man In The Back? [Video]

The James Boyd shooting resulted in Albuquerque police officers Dominique Perez and now-retired Keith Sandy being brought up on murder charges. The ACLU and police union have now both responded to the decision by the judge in the case.

In a related report by the Inquisitr, the family of Zachary Hammond claim a police officer shot their son in the back after a marijuana drug bust went wrong. In addition, a witness claims to have seen the cop give the dead teen’s hand a “high five” after the shooting.

On March 16, 2014, the Albuquerque Police Department received reports of a homeless man named James Boyd who was illegally camping in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains. In the recording made by a dashboard camera in a patrol car, Officer Sandy refers to Boyd, who had spent much of his adult life in a psychiatric hospital, as a “f*****g lunatic.” Sandy was then heard saying, “I’m going to shoot him in the penis with a shotgun here in a second.”

This bad joke turned into a prediction. The Albuquerque police officers attempted to persuade the homeless man to leave his shelter, but the incident turned into a stand-off. The cops claim the James Boyd shooting was justified since they were acting in self-defense. It was claimed Boyd was wielding two knives and was arguing with the cops.

As it turns out, Boyd was holding fake knives, and he also suffered from schizophrenia. Some say the James Boyd video showed the homeless man surrendering to the cops before being shot in the back. An autopsy also confirmed that Boyd was shot in the back.

Late last year, Shannon Kennedy, a lawyer for Boyd’s family, noted that the video provided the evidence for the family’s case.

“Of course it’s not a joke because he went forward and actually shot him,” Kennedy said. “He calls him an expletive lunatic and then in the next breath says ‘I’m going to shoot him in the penis.’ What is so mortifying about this shooting — and thank goodness we have a tape to show exactly what he did — which is instead of shooting him in the penis, he shoots him in the lower back. So had James Boyd not turned around at that moment to set down his bags, he would have been shot in the penis.”

Due to the James Boyd shooting, officers Dominique Perez and Keith Sandy face second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and aggravated battery charges. Special prosecutor Randi McGinn argued, “No one should be above the law and no one should be beneath its protection,” but defense attorney Sam Bregman said the decision by Judge Candelaria “has turned law enforcement in this city upside down on its head and has a chilling effect on police officers throughout this city.”

Police union officials are worried how Albuquerque police officers may react to the judge’s decision.

“There are officers right now, this very minute, possibly being dispatched to very similar calls (to the Boyd call),” said Shaun Willoughby, vice president of the Albuquerque Police Officers Association, according to the Albuquerque Journal. “Every time an officer gets dispatched to do their job on behalf of the citizens of this community, in the back of their mind they are thinking, ‘I could be charged with murder for just doing my job,’ and it’s terrifying.”

ACLU Executive Director Peter Simonson disagrees, saying the decision makes a statement about police shootings in general.

“I hope it sends a strong message to law enforcement generally that here in New Mexico the courts are actually going to actually hold officers accountable,” Simonson said, according to KRQE. “That they are not above the law.”

What do you think?

[Image via UNM]

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