Tag Archives: Officer Keith Sandy

Hearing Scheduled For APD Officers Accused Of Murdering Homeless Camper James Boyd

Albuquerque, NM- A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for August 3rd for Albuquerque police officer Dominique Perez and former APD officer Keith Sandy, who are facing charges for allegedly murdering a homeless camper. A judge will listen to testimony and decide whether or not there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.

The hearing had been originally scheduled for May 18th, but lawyers for both of the accused officers filed motions to reschedule. Luis Robles, Perez’s lawyer, filed a motion last month to vacate the May hearing so that Robles could go on a scheduled vacation with his family. Sam Bregman, Sandy’s lawyer, filed a motion to reschedule so that he could have more time to prepare for the hearing.

Perez and Sandy were charged by Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg in January for the March 2014 shooting of James Boyd, a mentally ill man who was fatally struck by bullets fired by Sandy and Perez during an hours-long standoff. Sandy and Perez were among several officers involved in attempting to remove Boyd from the foothills of the Sandia Mountains where he was reported to be illegally camping.

(RELATED: Two Albuquerque Officers Charged With Murder Of Homeless Camper)

According to Boyd’s autopsy report, he was struck three times: one bullet his his upper right arm which required amputation; one bullet, which caused the most damage and was identified as the cause of Boyd’s death, hit his “lower left back that passed through the lower abdomen and exited the left armpit before re-entering the upper left arm”; and one more bullet struck his upper left arm. Video from a helmet camera at the scene, which captured Boyd appearing to surrender just before he was shot, caused the APD to fall under further scrutiny as protests ensued around the city. Lapel video from Sandy was reportedly never found.

The Justice Department informed the APD a month after Boyd’s death that there was probable cause to believe that the police department was repeatedly engaging “in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment.” Last May, protesters overtook a city council meeting and attempted to serve Police Chief Gorden Eden with a citizen’s arrest warrant in response to the findings of the report. The Justice Department and APD entered into an agreement to reform the police department’s practices last October.

Police dash cam audio that captured dialogue between Sandy and State Police Officer Chris Ware two hours before Boyd’s shooting sparked more outrage from citizens, as KOB-4 reported that in the audio recording Sandy had called Boyd a “f***ing lunatic” and said he was “going to shoot him in the penis with a shotgun here in a second.”

(RELATED: APD Reportedly Denied Officer’s “Shotgun” Comments)

In a statement, Bregman said Sandy “had not only the right, but the duty to defend a fellow officer from a mentally unstable, violent man wielding two knives. Keith did nothing wrong. To the contrary, he followed his training and probably saved his fellow officer’s life.” Robles said that Perez “has been called upon to make life-altering decisions while protecting Albuquerque citizens and his fellow officers. And having made one of those decisions, Officer Perez now faces an open count of murder. Regardless, I am confident that the facts will vindicate Officer Perez’s actions in this case.”

Both attorneys have showed concern over which officer is responsible for the fatal bullet that killed Boyd. Both officers had used the same department-issued ammunition.

In April, Brandenburg was disqualified from prosecuting the case due to reported conflict of interest related to an investigation of Brandenburg for alleged witness intimidation and bribery, and Randi McGinn was later appointed as a special prosecutor. McGinn said that three of the six shots that were fired by Sandy and Perez hit Boyd, and that the first two shots were fired by Sandy. McGinn has requested independent lab review seeking to determine which officer fired the shot that killed Boyd. McGinn “expects to announce her charging decision after the test results come back in a few weeks.”

Just before internal affairs began questioning him last November, Sandy retired, managing to secure his retirement pension. Perez is still employed by APD on administrative assignment.

The Truth In Media Project has been following multiple reports of alleged police brutality and excessive use of force nationwide, including in Albuquerque. For more information about alleged police abuse in Albuquerque, click here. For more information about the James Boyd case, click here.

Attorneys Defend Albuquerque Officers: “Terrible Decision” To File Murder Charges

Albuquerque, NM- Attorneys for Albuquerque Officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez defended the actions of their clients on Monday regarding the killing of James Boyd.

“Unfortunately now, the district attorney  has made a decision- which is a terrible, terrible decision- in charging Officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez with murder,” Sandy’s attorney, Sam Bregman, said at a press conference held as news that the officers had been charged was being made public.

Bregman said that Boyd had a violent past and had once broken a police officer’s nose. Boyd, who has a history of mental illness and had spent time in the state’s psychiatric facility, was shot and killed by Perez and Sandy after a lengthy standoff last March. The shooting has since gained national attention and increased scrutiny surrounding Albuquerque’s controversial history of excessive force used by the city’s police officers.

“Keith Sandy was following his training, and very likely saved the life of a fellow police officer,” Bregman said at the conference. Bregman has also asserted that neither Sandy nor Perez had intended to kill Boyd during the standoff on March 16th, 2014, and said Sandy had fired his weapon to protect a K-9 officer who was nearest to Boyd. “He’s spent his whole career in life protecting people,” Bregman said of Sandy. “And the idea that he’s charged with murder for protecting a fellow officer? You can imagine that goes right to his core.”

“While Mr. Boyd’s death is a tragedy, it is not the result of a criminal act by Keith. Keith now looks forward to to clearing his good name through the judicial process,” Bregman said in a statement.

Luis Robles, an attorney for Dominique Perez, provided KRQE with a similar statement in defense of Perez’s actions. “This is truly a shame. Throughout his career, Officer Perez has been called upon to make life-altering decisions while protecting Albuquerque citizens and his fellow officers. And having made one of those decisions, Officer Perez now faces an open count of murder. Regardless, I am confident that the facts will vindicate Officer Perez’s actions in this case,” Robles said.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry said that “It’s important for all of us to allow the process to progress without prejudice in order for our community to move forward” in response to the charges filed against Perez and Sandy.

According to KOAT News, the city of Albuquerque will not be paying for the legal fees of either officer; both Perez and Sandy will be responsible for paying for their defense fees.

In a statement, the Albuquerque Police Department said “Having the case presented to a district court judge at a preliminary hearing will permit the evidence to be presented in a transparent and public forum.”

The Albuquerque Police Officer Association said “We are disappointed in the District Attorney’s decision to pursue charges. This was an unfortunate situation, but in no way criminal,” according to a released statement.

Following a preliminary hearing, it will be up to a judge to deliver a final decision on whether or not to move the case forward. “We refer to it as a mini-trial, where evidence is heard in court, open court,” said Brandenburg. “The defense can cross-examine and present their own testimony, and then a judge will make a decision.”

A date for a preliminary hearing has not been set.



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.