Following a preliminary hearing, Judge Neil Candelaria decided Tuesday that one Albuquerque police officer and one former Albuquerque police detective will stand trial for the killing of James Boyd. An arraignment date for Perez and Boyd has not been set yet.
Albuquerque officer Dominique Perez and former Albuquerque detective Keith Sandy, who retired amidst an investigation of James Boyd’s death, are facing charges of second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and aggravated battery.
The decision follows a preliminary hearing in which the state prosecution and the defense presented opposing arguments regarding the events of March 2014 that led to Boyd’s death. The state argued that officers instigated the encounter by bringing over a dozen officers for a man accused of illegal camping. The defense argued that Boyd, who was schizophrenic, had a history of violence and that Sandy and Perez made a critical decision to protect a fellow officer at risk of being harmed by Boyd.
On March 16th, 2014, 41 officers were sent to the Sandia foothills to assist in the detainment of Boyd, who had been reportedly illegally camping there. At the time of the incident, Boyd was carrying two knives. After a standoff lasting over four hours, Boyd appeared to agree to leave his campsite before he was shot and killed by APD officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez.
An Albuquerque SWAT sergeant testified that police officers at the scene of the standoff were aware that Boyd suffered from schizophrenia.
Police dash cam audio recorded a conversation between Sandy and State Police Officer Chris Ware while en route to the scene of the standoff. While KOB News 4 claimed that it sounded as if Sandy, who called Boyd a “f***ing lunatic”, said he was “going to shoot him in the penis with a shotgun here in a second,” the Albuquerque Police Department claimed Sandy said “I’m going to shoot him with a Taser shotgun in a second.”
The charges against Perez and Sandy “appear to be the first against an APD officer for an on-duty fatal shooting in at least 50 years,” according to the Albuquerque Journal. There have been at least 40 officer-involved shootings in Albuquerque since 2010.
The Truth In Media Project has been following multiple reports of police brutality and excessive use of force nationwide, including in Albuquerque. For more information about the James Boyd case, click here. To read more about alleged police abuse in Albuquerque, click here.