Albuquerque, New Mexico police have murdered a man for camping in a non-camping area. James Boyd, a 38 year-old man was killed last Sunday in what authorities call a justified kill. Head camera footage show officers armed with assault rifles approaching Boyd on the Sandia Foothills. They exchange words about what the following action should be while Boyd gathers his belongings from the camp.
He agrees to proceed towards the officers and tells the police that he is not a murderer. Clearly fearful of his life, Boyd explains his actions as he does them and asks the cops not to change the agreement while he tries to walk towards them. a flashbang was deployed disorienting Boyd as police shout commands to get on the ground. Seconds later, six shots were fired and Boyd falls, murdered by trigger happy police.
The Albuquerque police department claimed the officers were in the right by taking shots at the man from yards away. Threats were clamoured from Boyd as Chief of Police Gorden Eden explains the officer’s innocence. He mentions that Boyd had a number of misconduct charges and that made him a danger to police. He also mentions Boyd having a history of mental health issues. The police were called to remove Boyd from a makeshift campground in an illegal area. The police deployed a flashbang grenade and an attack dog on Boyd in a non-lethal attempt to take him into custody. Then they opened fire. The APD was willing to present the footage of one officer’s helmet camera to the public and can be viewed below the main body of this article.
This shooting occurred while the APD is under investigation by the United States Justice Department over claims of excessive force and a dozens of police shootings in the past three years. Clearly this investigation presents a less than professional police force in New Mexico. What is witnessed by the use of deadly force on a mentally unstable patient and the fire first mentality of the police show a transition from friendly police officers attempting to help a community to military soldiers putting down any resistance. The use of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams has risen exponentially since their initial creation in the 60’s.
A total of ten seconds were given between the popping of the flashbang and the first shots were fired and Boyd was killed. Boyd is heard saying “keep your word” in reference to the police offering him a deal and he going with them peacefully as it seems he was fully willing to do. He was of no serious threat to multiple armed officers and an attack dog after surrendering to authorities. The police were called to stop one homeless man from illegally camping on public property and ended that man’s life instead. A history of criminality does not mean the police have the right to be the jury and executioner of a man who was surrendering.
James Boyd was clearly not mentally well claiming he was an agent of former President Gerald Ford. Police giving no attempt to accept his surrender and not taking the chance to arrest him lawfully but instead shooting him is murder. A badge should not allow for this kind of conduct. Lethal force should be the last resort after all other options are resolved. A taser was never used in the engagement.
Opinion by Andy Diaz