Albuquerque Officers Charged With Murder in Homeless Man's Death

City erupted after James Boyd's shooting last year
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 22, 2015 6:11 PM CDT
Albuquerque Officers Charged With Murder in Homeless Man's Death
This undated photo provided by Albuquerque Police Department shows Dominique Perez.   (AP Photo/Albuquerque Police Department via The Albuquerque Journal)

(Newser) – Two New Mexico police officers will be charged with second-degree murder in last year's shooting death of a homeless man near a tent in the mountains where he had been camping, a special prosecutor said today. James Boyd was killed during a standoff after video showed him appearing to surrender. It sparked angry demonstrations around Albuquerque with protesters calling for reform after several deadly police shootings. Even before Boyd's death, the Justice Department had been investigating the Albuquerque Police Department over allegations of misuse of force. The DOJ harshly criticized the department this year and has reached an agreement to improve training and dismantle troubled departments.

Special Prosecutor Randi McGinn's office announced several charges against Officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez, including second-degree murder, which covers killings that aren't premeditated. It's punishable by 15 years in prison. Both Sandy and Perez have denied wrongdoing. Sandy "was protecting a fellow officer when he shot Mr. Boyd," the officer's attorney Sam Bregman said. "There was no criminal intent." Authorities have said Boyd was schizophrenic and hadn't received proper treatment. He had been holding two knives when he was shot, according to video footage. McGinn's office also will seek voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, and aggravated assault charges against the officers. (Read more Albuquerque stories.)

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