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Inside the Beltway

Washington politics and government with a New Mexico flavor

Sen. Tom Udall calls James Boyd shooting “very disturbing”

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Sen. Tom Udall on Tuesday called the shooting death of James M. Boyd by Albuquerque police “very disturbing” and said he has asked the U.S. Justice Department to make sure it evaluates the incident as part of its ongoing review of the city’s police department.

Albuquerque police last week announced they had forwarded the names of two officers involved in the shooting to the Justice Department, which has been reviewing the city’s police force for almost 18 months after a spate of deadly incidents involving officers.

“I’ve watched the video of James Boyd and it’s very disturbing and very upsetting,” Udall said in his weekly conference call with reporters on Tuesday. “I’m very concerned about what happened in that instance and it falls on the heels of a number of very serious incidents involving the Albuquerque police.

“I’ve reached out to the U.S. Department of Justice to ensure that the investigation is proceeding and that they are considering the death of James Boyd in that investigation,” the Democratic senator added.

Officers shot and killed Boyd, who was camping illegally in the Sandia foothills, after a tense standoff late last month. The incident led to Sunday’s 12-hour protest of APD that ended with police dispersing tear gas on an unruly crowd of protestors late Sunday night. The incident made national and international news.

Asked if APD has an “institutional or cultural” problem that leads to excessive violence, Udall – a former New Mexico attorney general – said he was unsure.

“That’s what this investigation is going to determine,” he said. “We need to make sure this is pursued in a rigorous way. It’s been going on for a year-and-a-half so I’m hoping we’re getting somewhere near the end of this.”

Udall also said it is quite possible that the feds will send a monitor to oversee Albuquerque’s police department.

“It may well be as a result of that that we end up with a monitor but that’s all going to depend on having the Justice Department complete their investigation,” Udall said.

 

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