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Former Albuquerque Police Department officer Keith Sandy – who was involved in one of the city’s most high-profile police shootings – is still eligible to work in law enforcement in New Mexico.
At a Thursday hearing, the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Board – made up of state and local law enforcement officials, a district attorney and citizen representatives – dismissed the complaint against him, saying there was not enough evidence to revoke his certification. Abstaining from the vote were Tim Johnson, interim secretary for the state Department of Public Safety; APD Sgt. Hollie Anderson; and Bobbie Greene, president of the Doña Ana County NAACP. The other members present voted to dismiss.
The complaint was submitted to the board a year ago.
Attorney General Hector Balderas chairs the board, but does not vote on discipline because his office prosecutes the cases.
“While I respect the LEAB decision-making process, I strongly disagree with the outcome in this case and believe that discipline is appropriate,” Balderas said in a statement.
Sandy’s attorney did not respond to requests for comment and Sandy could not be reached.
Sandy and officer Dominique Perez shot and killed James Boyd in 2014 during a SWAT standoff that started after someone reported Boyd was camping in the Sandia foothills. Video from the incident sparked anger and protests in the city.
Sandy retired from APD several months later and, in 2015, then-District Attorney Kari Brandenburg charged both men with murder. It was the first time APD officers had been charged for an on-duty fatal shooting in at least 50 years and no officers have been charged since.
The trial ended with a hung jury in October 2016 and DA Raúl Torrez decided not to re-try the case.
Perez, who had been fired from APD after he was indicted, re-joined the department in May 2017. He is still with APD.
Gilbert Gallegos, an APD spokesman, said he could not find any evidence that the department had sent misconduct reports to the Law Enforcement Academy Board for either Sandy or Perez. In response to questions about whether Sandy could be re-hired, Gallegos said, “His retention card does not show anything that would keep him from being hired, although he has not reapplied.”
The director of the state Law Enforcement Academy submitted a misconduct report against Sandy in April 2020. It is sparsely written.
“Occurred in 2014. Article only item in file. Respondent shot and killed a subject,” the report states. “No charges filed. Officer resigned in November 2014.”
It’s unclear what article the complaint is referencing.