ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A police detective involved in the shooting of a mentally ill homeless man in March has submitted his “notice of retirement,” Albuquerque police spokesman Tanner Tixier said.
Keith Sandy, who has been on paid leave since the shooting, was hired by APD in 2007 two months after he was fired from New Mexico State Police in connection to a payment scandal. Tixier said he didn’t know when Sandy submitted the notice.
Sandy and officer Dominique Perez shot and killed James Boyd in the Sandia foothills after police were called to the area because Boyd was camping illegally. Police video of the shooting, which showed it occurred after Boyd appeared to have agreed to surrender, made news nationwide and sparked protests in the city.
Tixier said officers are eligible for retirement after 20 years, but they can pay the New Mexico Public Employees Retirement Association to become eligible for retirement earlier. The specifics of Sandy’s retirement package were not available Tuesday night.
Public employees’ retirement takes effect after they have applied for retirement, been terminated from their current employer and PERA determines they have met eligible requirements, according to documents on the city’s website.
Nine Albuquerque police officers have been involved in six officer-involved shootings in 2014. All officers other than Sandy have returned to administrative or full duty.
Sandy received additional scrutiny for the shooting in September when a recording surfaced of him arriving on the scene. Sandy called Boyd a “lunatic” and talked about using force against him prior to being briefed on the circumstances of the standoff, according to the recording.
A multi-jurisdictional task force completed a criminal investigation into the Boyd shooting and submitted the case to the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office for review. The office will decide whether to bring charges against an officer in the case. APD’s internal affairs investigation into the shooting is ongoing.
Tixier didn’t say Tuesday whether an officer’s being the subject of an internal affairs investigation can affect his or her retirement qualifications.
The U.S. Department of Justice previously confirmed that federal agents also are investigating the shooting.
Boyd’s family has filed a lawsuit against the city in connection to the shooting.
Sandy was a detective in Albuquerque Repeat Officer Program, or ROP team. The city, in negotiations with the Department of Justice, which found the Police Department had a pattern of violating constitutional rights with excessive force, agreed to disband ROP in the coming weeks. Current ROP members will be assigned to other units.
Sandy was involved in several high-profile investigations other than the Boyd shooting during his time at APD.
He was involved in the arrest of sitting District Judge Albert “Pat” Murdoch in July 2011 on suspicion that the judge raped a prostitute. The District Attorney’s Office earlier this year declined to prosecute the former judge.
Sandy also was involved in the arrest of Jeremy Robertson in Rio Rancho in February. APD repeat offender program detectives fired at Robertson’s tire as he was trying to flee, and Sandy rammed Robertson’s vehicle with an unmarked police vehicle.
Robertson was shot and killed by APD SWAT officers in an unrelated incident about six months later.