ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – District Attorney Kari Brandenburg plans to file murder charges on Monday against the two Albuquerque police officers who shot James Boyd in the Sandia Foothills last March, according to multiple sources with firsthand knowledge of her decision.
It will mark the first time an APD officer has faced criminal charges for shooting someone in the line of duty in New Mexico’s largest city. APD has one of the highest rates of police shootings in the country, and Boyd’s death was the result of the most controversial in a series of 27 fatal shootings here since 2010.
Boyd, 36, had been camping in a restricted area of open space at Albuquerque’s eastern edge. During a four-hour standoff with police who had responded to a call about Boyd from an area resident, he brandished two small knives multiple times.
One officer’s helmet-mounted camera captured the final moments of the encounter, when Boyd appeared to be complying with commands to leave the area. As he bent down to gather his belongings, an officer threw a flash-bang grenade at his feet. Another officer sicced a police dog on Boyd, who pulled the knives out of his pockets again. As he was turning away from the officers, two of them fired three rounds apiece from assault-style rifles, striking Boyd in the back.
Boyd, who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, died later at the hospital.
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.
….Brandenburg’s filing will charge Sandy and Perez with open counts of murder. That means a trial jury could consider a range of charges from voluntary manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of six years in prison, to first-degree murder, which carries a potential life sentence.
Reached by telephone, Brandenburg refused to comment for this story. So did attorneys for the two officers.
By Jeff Proctor and Matt Grubs – KRQE.com –