Two Albuquerque police officers were charged with murder in the shooting death of a homeless man that led to violent protests and brought new scrutiny to the police department including a federal investigation.
Albuquerque police officer Dominique Perez and former officer Keith Sandy are learning about life on the other side of the law. Perez and Sandy fatally shot James Boyd in March of last year during a police confrontation with the homeless man about camping in the foothills.
“For this fu#%ing lunatic? I’m going to shoot him in the penis with a shotgun here in a second,” Sandy said to a fellow officer two hours before the shooting.
On Monday District Attorney Kari Brandenburg filed murder charges against the officers. Instead of a closed-door grand jury decision, Brandenburg is opting for a preliminary hearing.
“We refer to it as a mini-trial, where evidence is heard in court, open court,” she told KOAT. “The defense can cross-examine and present their own testimony, and then a judge will make a decision.”
If the judge finds probable cause, the defendants will be booked and arraigned. Sandy’s attorney, Sam Bregman, said his client had “the duty to defend a fellow officer from a mentally unstable, violent man wielding two knives.”
Both Sandy and Perez will be paying out-of-pocket for their legal defense.
The Justice Department has been investigating the APD since 2012. They came to an agreement with the city in November to monitor police activity and provide additional training to officers.
The APD killed 25 people between 2010 and 2014.