Albuquerque, NM- An investigation into the shooting of homeless man James Boyd has led to the release of police dash cam audio showing a verbal exchange two hours before the altercation including a statement from one of the shooting officers about wanting to harm Boyd.
Boyd was shot by APD officers Dominique Perez and Keith Sandy in March of this year following a prolonged standoff in the hills of Albuquerque where, according to police, Boyd was camping illegally. A video taken from an officer’s helmet camera shows Boyd gathering his belongings from his campsite before being shot at by a flashbang. The video also shows Boyd taking out what was described as a knife after the flashbang and not paying attention to orders to get down on the ground. Boyd was ultimately shot and died a day later.
The incident sparked criticism from civil rights activists and placed the APD under scrutiny, which was followed by a Justice Department report in April criticizing the police department’s “pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment and Section 14141.” Albuquerque Police chief Gorden Eden said the actions from the officers were justified.
The latest development in the Boyd shooting is audio of Sandy’s conversation with another officer, State Police Officer Chris Ware, captured on Ware’s dash cam from the scene of the standoff on March 16:
Sandy: What do they have you guys doing here?
Ware: I don’t know. The guy asked for state police.
Sandy: Who asked?
Ware: I don’t know.
Sandy: For this f***ing lunatic? I’m going to shoot him in the penis with a shotgun here in a second.
Ware: You got uh, less-lethal?
Sandy: I got…
Ware: The Taser shotgun?
Sandy: Yeah. Ware: Oh, I thought you guys got rid of those?
Sandy: ROP’s got one…here’s what we’re thinking, because I don’t know what’s going on, nobody has briefed me…
Shannon Kennedy, a civil rights lawyer representing Boyd’s family, said that the audio provides evidence that Sandy had violent intentions and followed through with them. “It’s chilling evidence and stunning that he has not been criminally indicted. He says to a state police officer ‘that f’ing lunatic, I’m going to shoot him in the penis.’ It’s crystal clear and he says it with contempt in his voice,” said Kennedy.
During an internal investigation of the shooting. Sandy had dismissed the conversation saying it was “Jokingly, just kind of locker room banter, just told him, you know, ‘Don’t worry. I’ll shoot him in the pecker with this and call it good’.” Sandy later recanted and said he didn’t think he had said anything of the sort to Ware.
Before Sandy joined the APD, he was fired by New Mexico State Police in 2007 for “double-dipping”, allegedly being paid by a private contractor to teach classes while he was also being paid by police to take classes. He remains on administrative leave and has retained his gun and badge.