Tag Archives: APD

Two Albuquerque Officers Charged With Murder Of Homeless Camper

Albuquerque, NM- Albuquerque officers Dominique Perez and Keith Sandy were charged with murder on Monday in the shooting of homeless camper James Boyd.

Boyd, who had been accused by police of illegally camping in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains, was ultimately shot and killed by Sandy and Perez, a SWAT team member, on March 16th, 2014 during a standoff lasting several hours. The shooting provoked national criticism of the Albuquerque Police Department after video was released that appeared to show Boyd, who was in possession of two small knives, surrendering just before he was shot by Sandy and Perez. The video is available below (graphic content):

Audio from Sandy’s dash camera had also been released of Sandy’s conversation with State Police Officer Chris Ware regarding Boyd from the scene of the standoff before the shooting:

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…

The APD denied that Sandy said “I’m going to shoot him in the penis with a shotgun here in a second” and claimed he had said “I’m going to shoot him with a Taser shotgun in a second”. However, the APD’s denial conflicted with Sandy’s acknowledgement to investigators that he had made the “shoot him in the penis” remark as a joke. “Just kind of locker room banter,” Sandy had told investigators. “[I] just told him, you know, ‘don’t worry; I’ll shoot him in the pecker with this and call it good.’”

Sandy abruptly recanted that admission after a break during the interview.

Second District Attorney Kari Brandenburg said Monday that Perez and Sandy each face one open murder count. In an open murder charge, prosecutors may push for either first-degree or second-degree murder charges.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, the case was not brought before a grand jury and Brandenburg “filed the counts via criminal information, which allows her to charge the officers without presenting evidence to a grand jury.” The FBI is currently investigating the shooting, but it’s unknown if the officers will face federal charges.

Albuquerque has become well known for excessive force used by police. In May of last year, more than 40 residents effectively shut down a city council meeting and attempted to serve Police Chief Gorden Eden with a warrant for a citizen’s arrest while calling for the APD to stop its violent tactics. APD Officer Jeremy Dear was fired last month for repeatedly refusing to use his body camera; in the last instance of Dear either failing to turn on or disabling his camera, he had fatally shot 19-year-old Mary Hawkes.

A Justice Department letter from April 2014 informed the APD- that had killed 23 people and wounded 14 over a four-year period- that its department “engages in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment” and the Justice Department later demanded reforms to correct the APD’s practices. Last October, the Justice Department and APD reached an agreement to engage in “wide-ranging reforms”.

 

APD Reportedly Denied Officer’s “Shotgun” Comments

Albuquerque, NM- The Albuquerque Police Department has reportedly refuted news station KOB’s disclosure of APD Officer Keith Sandy’s recorded remarks about shooting homeless man James Boyd hours before Boyd was ultimately shot by Sandy.

According to KOB’s Eyewitness News, APD believes that Officer Sandy said “I’m going to shoot him with a Taser shotgun in a second”, not “I’m going to shoot him in the penis with a shotgun here in a second.”

The trouble with the agency’s opinion about what was said on the tape involves Sandy’s own admittance to investigators. KOB was able to find audio and documentation of Sandy’s interview with APD investigators in April, in which Sandy had initially said that he’d made the “shoot him in the penis” statement as a joke. “Just kind of locker room banter,” Sandy had said. “[I] just told him, you know, ‘don’t worry; I’ll shoot him in the pecker with this and call it good.’”

Sandy also explained to investigators that officers in APD’s Repeat Offenders Program (ROP) the officers routinely make cruel jokes, crude enough to the point where officers adopted a safe word- China- to indicate a stop to the jokes.

The APD investigator asked “So, in regard to the joking statement, you said that you were – you told him that you were going to shoot him in the pecker with the Taser shotgun?” Sandy replied “Yes.”

However, KOB reports that after a break in questioning Sandy changed his story. “I received a phone call and asked if I talked to Chris or anybody,” said Sandy. “I’ve heard it from other people saying that I did say that, that it is on the tape…but I don’t recall saying that and pecker is not a word that I use.”

Both Chief Eden and Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry have been quiet concerning the audio tape and Sandy’s testimony, but Berry remarked to KOB’s Chris Ramirez “I think what strikes me is the fact that, as police officers, we expect our folks to treat people with respect and dignity.”

“What concerned me was the absolute unacceptable language that was used,” said Eden.

Audio Caught APD Officer’s Violent Dialogue Before Shooting

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.

[RELATED: APD Reportedly Denied Officer’s “Shotgun” Comments]

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.

APD Investigation Continues After Officer Who Shot 19-Year-Old Claimed Third Body Camera Error

Albuquerque, NM- The Albuquerque Police Department is under scrutiny again after an investigation of APD officer Jeremy Dear revealed that his body camera malfunctioned for a third time while on duty. During his camera’s latest malfunction in April 2014, Dear shot a 19-year-old woman who was on the run after being suspected of driving a stolen truck.

Dear shot and killed Mary Hawkes on April 21st of this year after pursuing her her on foot. Hawkes had allegedly abandoned the stolen truck and was fleeing from police when she was confronted by Dear before he shot her three times.

In Hawkes’ autopsy report it was found that all three shots were fired from a downward trajectory. The Office of the Medical Examiner’s report also stated that Hawkes suffered “seven blunt-force injuries” on her body “including on each knee, the top of her forehead, each forearm, her chest and back of her right hand.”

Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden said that there was “preliminary evidence” that suggested she may have pulled a out a handgun and pointed it at Dear. Eden said that a .32 caliber semiautomatic handgun was found near Hawkes’ body.

Hawkes had a troubled history, including previous run-ins with police dating back to when she was 15. A toxicology report released in May showed she was under the influence of meth before the shooting and there were multiple drugs found in her system.

It was soon discovered that Dear’s body camera had not captured the incident. Technicians were unable to retrieve any footage of the shooting. Cameras worn on other officers contained footage of the wake of the incident.

Taser International Inc., the company that makes the cameras, stated in its report of Dear’s camera that it had turned off and on several times on the evening of April 20th through the early hours of April 21st: “Before the incident, the camera was powered on around 11:15 p.m. on April 20, then went off around 11:30 p.m., recording once. It was turned on again shortly after midnight, and went off again around 4 a.m., recording three times. It was turned on again around 4:15 a.m. and turned off a minute later without recording anything.”

The report also stated that Dear’s camera had a damaged cable but the camera itself was completely functional. It was missing a clip that helps prevent the camera from disconnecting from the battery.

The April shooting was not the first time that Dear’s body camera failed to capture an incident.

In January 2013, Dear had responded to a brawl occurring in town and had struck “(a 22-year-old suspect) several times in his facial area with a closed fist,” according to his description of the event. His camera was not on at the time, and his partner’s camera had captured the beginning of the fight and its aftermath.

In February 2013, a man was pulled over by Dear for speeding. The man later filed a complaint accusing Dear of using excessive force. The man alleged that Dear had pulled him out of his vehicle and kicked him in the genitals. Dear denied the accusations and claimed that the battery on his body camera died after he pulled the man over.

Dear had also been caught giving conflicting information in a wrongful death suit stemming from an APD-involved shooting in 2011. APD officer Sean Wallace had shot and killed Alan Gomez, a suspect in a hostage situation. Dear had been at the scene of the shooting, and there was audio of Dear telling an investigator that he was unable to see Gomez’s hands before he was shot.

In a deposition months later, Dear said that he’d seen something large, possibly a gun, in Gomez’s hand. As it turned out, Gomez had been unarmed, according to a report from the Department of Justice that stated “Gomez was unarmed and did not pose an immediate risk of death or serious bodily harm to the individuals in the house or officers when he was shot.” It has not been reported that Dear was investigated for giving conflicting information.

APD spokeswoman Janet Blair stated that Dear is on desk duty while a  criminal and internal investigation continues.

The Justice Department criticized APD’s long-term use of excessive violence in an April report that read “based on our investigation, we have reasonable cause to believe that APD engages in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth  Amendment and Section 14141.”

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