ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Latest on the trial of two former Albuquerque police officers (all times local):
Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden is the first witness to take the stand in the second-degree murder trial of two former officers accused in the 2014 on-duty shooting death of a homeless man who was mentally ill.
Prosecutors peppered the chief Monday with questions about the police department’s use-of-force policies and what’s required of officers when responding to calls involving people with mental illness.
Eden confirmed the department had policies at the time James Boyd was shot during an hourslong standoff that required officers to consider keeping a safe distance and avoiding quick movements that might excite such a person.
Under defense questioning, he acknowledged that department policy says such cases shouldn’t be reviewed using hindsight.
A month after Boyd’s death, a harsh report from the U.S. Justice Department found Albuquerque police too often used deadly force on people who posed a minimal threat and used a higher level of force on suspects with mental illness.
City and federal officials have since agreed to court-mandated reforms, including new use-of-force procedures that focus on de-escalating crisis situations.
The attorney for a former Albuquerque detective charged in the shooting death of a homeless camper says his client was assigned to protect an unarmed K-9 officer who came within several feet of the knife-wielding man.
Attorney Sam Bregman says now-retired Detective Keith Sandy was the “lethal cover” for the K-9 unit in March 2014 when James Boyd was killed near his illegal campsite in the foothills east of Albuquerque.
Bregman says Sandy opened fire after the police dog ran toward Boyd and its handler gave chase.
Bregman argues that Sandy and former SWAT Officer Dominique Perez made independent, split-second decisions to shoot Boyd, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Sandy and Perez are charged with second-degree murder. Their trial began Monday.
An attorney representing one of two former Albuquerque police officers charged in an on-duty shooting death of a homeless man says his client made a decision to open fire because of the dangers presented during the final moments of a standoff.
Attorney Luis Robles told jurors Monday that Officer Dominique Perez shot James Boyd because the homeless camper had two knives and an unarmed K-9 officer was standing within several feet.
Robles says the case is about a clash between the officers’ duty to provide safety for the community and assessing the danger Boyd posed to that community.
Robles described Boyd, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, as a suspect with a troubled history that included instances of violence toward law enforcement officers.
Perez is on trial with fellow former officer Keith Sandy, a retired detective with the Albuquerque Police Department’s Repeat Offender Project.
A prosecutor says two Albuquerque police officers charged in an on-duty shooting death intentionally killed a homeless man after an hourslong standoff.
Opening statements got underway Monday in the long-awaited trial of former SWAT Officer Dominique Perez and now-retired Detective Keith Sandy. They have been charged with second-degree murder in the death of James Boyd, a homeless man, in March 2014.
Special prosecutor Randi McGinn described the shooting for the jury, saying the shots that were fired were no accident or mistake. She said it was an intentional killing.
Police helmet-camera video appears to show Boyd, who authorities say had paranoid schizophrenia, preparing to surrender when authorities opened fire. He had brandished two pocket knives during the standoff, and was shot in the arms and back.
Opening statements begin Monday in the long-awaited trial of two former Albuquerque officers charged with shooting a homeless man, a death that sparked protests in a city struggling with a string of police shootings.
The March 2014 shooting ended a nearly five-hour standoff that involved 19 officers and came moments after it appeared in police video that homeless camper James Boyd might surrender.
Testimony in the trial of now-former officers Dominique Perez and Keith Sandy will unfold over the next two weeks amid a broader national debate over the use of force by police, which has largely focused on race but also raised questions about deadly conflicts with those who are mentally ill.
Following an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department into previous claims of excessive force, a harsh report found Albuquerque police too often used deadly force on people who posed a minimal threat and often used a higher level of force on suspects with mental illness.
The city and Justice Department have since agreed on a settlement to overhaul the police department.