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.