With the rash of police brutality/killing videos that have peppered the Internet these last few years, none have been so shocking and heartbreaking as the case of 36 year-old James Boyd, a homeless man who was shot and killed by New Mexico police after he tried to seek shelter from the cold in the hills above Albuquerque.
From the Daily Kos:
It turned out that it was illegal for James to camp where he had set up shop and it seems he just couldn’t process why he had to leave. Over 50 feet away from officers, and well out of harms way for any of them, James was shot with a flash grenade, seemingly out of frustration. When he turned around to get on his knees, he was shot multiple times and killed. After he was shot, much like Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley, and Richard Ramirez, James Boyd was, irrationally so, treated as if he was a grave threat and offered no serious medical attention.
As the months rolled on after the incident, it was hard not to assume that it would just be another case of police officers killing with impunity, but thankfully we now know (absent a verdict) that this will not be the case. According to the Associated Press, District Attorney Kari Brandenburg will file charges today against the officers who shot and killed James Boyd.
It’s the first time an officer will face criminal charges for shooting someone in the line of duty in New Mexico’s largest city. The Albuquerque Police Department has one of the highest rates of police shootings in the country, with Boyd’s death being one of the most controversial in a series of 27 fatal shootings in the city since 2010, according to local news affiliate KRQE:
Prosecutors will charge officer Dominique Perez of the APD SWAT team, and former detective Keith Sandy, who was allowed to retire from the department eight months after the shooting, by “criminal information,” the sources told KRQE News 13.
Filing charges by information is common in many parts of New Mexico, but rare in Bernalillo County. The process is authorized under New Mexico law and allows prosecutors to charge suspects without obtaining an indictment in a secret grand jury proceeding.
Watch the helmet cam footage of Boyd’s killing in the video below (WARNING: Graphic):