ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — District Attorney Kari Brandenburg is still weighing whether to charge two Albuquerque police officers in the shooting death of homeless camper James Boyd in the foothills last March, her office said Thursday.
Boyd, who had two small knives, had been in a four-hour standoff with more than 40 police officers and appeared to be surrendering when police fired a flash-bang grenade and let loose a police dog before officers Keith Sandy and Dominque Perez fired rifle shots striking Boyd. Boyd died in the hospital the next day.
The videotaped shooting sparked local and national outcry and led to a string of protests in the city.
Kayla Anderson, of Brandenburg’s office, told the Journal on Thursday that “no decision has been reached in regard to the OIS (officer involved shooting) involving officer Sandy and officer Perez.
“Our office initially stated we hope to have a decision made in regard to this case reached sometime in the beginning of the year. Per our protocol, our goal with OIS cases is to have a decision announced within six months of having received the report.”
APD turned over the case to Brandenburg’s office earlier this fall.
The FBI has also been investigating the case. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said she couldn’t comment because that investigation is ongoing.
Conflicting stories have appeared in television newscasts this week. KRQE-TV reported that a “preliminary” decision had been reached by the District Attorney’s Office to charge Sandy and Perez with open counts of murder. KOAT-TV subsequently reported that no decision had been reached on whether to file charges in the case.
Sam Bregman, attorney for now-retired APD officer Keith Sandy, said he has not been told that any charges against his client are being filed.
“Both state and federal prosecutors know I represent Keith, and I would assume any decision on their part would be communicated to me,” Bregman said.
“Keith Sandy did nothing wrong. He was protecting a fellow officer who was very close to a mentally ill man with two knives … He was following his training.”
A lawsuit has been filed in Bernalillo County District Court on behalf of Boyd’s family alleging that “Albuquerque has failed to protect its most vulnerable citizens.” It also alleges that the Albuquerque Police Department negligently hired officers and doesn’t properly train them to deal with people with mental health issues.
Perez is still in the department on administrative assignment.