A graphic video that shows a police shooting of a homeless man in the Albuquerque foothills is raising a firestorm of controversy, and it’s not the first time police there have faced backlash over citizen shootings.
Hundreds have posted outraged comments online and a public protest of
the Albuquerque Police Department is planned for Tuesday evening after
police last week released the helmet-cam video, which shows officers
shooting at a homeless man March 16 who they said was illegally camping,
reports CBS affiliate KRQE.
In the video, the man, James Boyd, 38, appears to turn away before he
is shot by police. Boyd later died. He was struck by at least one live
round, but the medical investigator’s office hasn’t determined what
killed him, reports the Albuquerque Journal.
According to an Albuquerque police spokeswoman, Boyd was carrying
knives and threatening to kill the officers. But critics say the
incident raises alarming questions about how Albuquerque police use
“We’ve reviewed the video, and like many people who have seen it, we
found it to be fairly disturbing,” Steve Allen, public policy director
for the ACLU of New Mexico, told CBS News’ Crimesider. “It certainly
does raise questions about why this tragedy couldn’t have been avoided.”
For critics, the police shooting is an all-too-common occurrence in
Albuquerque. Boyd’s death marks the 22nd deadly police-involved shooting
since early 2010, said Andrew Lipman, who chaired the city council’s
Police Oversight Task Force.
Lipman’s 11-member task force released recommendations in January
calling for the creation of a totally new and independent body to act as
a citizen oversight group for police.
The task force also called Tuesday for an independent review of Boyd’s shooting.
“They’re viewing this man as kind of the enemy, in a combat
situation, and that’s not really what they’re there to do — they’re
there to ensure public safety,” Lipman said. “…This man lost his life
because he was illegally camping.”