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 V.25 No.42 | October 20 - 26, 2016


News City
Robert Maestas

Boyd Trial Ends in Hung Jury, APD Officers Watch Protesters

A small group of protesters met outside the Downtown Albuquerque District Court last week to show their frustration following the court's declaration of a mistrial in the James Boyd murder case. That decision came after Judge Alisa Hadfield polled the District Court jury individually, finding that after two days of deliberation the jury was split 9-3 in favor of acquittal. For a jury's decision to be valid in a murder case, it must be unanimous. The trial focused on two officers—Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez—who were accused of second-degree murder for the 2014 shooting and killing of James Boyd, a homeless man illegally camping in the Foothills, who authorities say suffered from schizophrenia. Sandy was also accused of aggravated battery. Special Prosecutor Randi McGinn, in her closing statement to the jury, argued that “anticipatory shootings” are unacceptable, and that police officers should not be allowed to shoot unless someone is already attacking them. Defense attorney Sam Bregman laid the blame on systemic problems—the inability of the state to properly provide for the mentally ill—and argued that the officers only used their official training to inform the decisions they made. After the judge declared a mistrial, a small group of protesters who were waiting for the decision gathered outside the courthouse to speak out against police killings and to voice their anger at what they believe was a gross mishandling of justice. They want the case retried. Tactical police officers monitored the protest from the top of a nearby building, but the gathering remained peaceful. APD has said it will continue the practice if any further protests are organized. It is unclear whether or not prosecutors will seek a new trial.

Voters to Decide on UNM Hospital Tax

During the Nov. 8 general election, Bernalillo County voters will be asked to weigh in on whether or not to continue an eight-year property tax that benefits the University of New Mexico Hospital. Proponents of the ballot measure say the $6.4 million tax will not increase current property taxes, and will ensure that UNM, the state's only teaching hospital, continues to operate at its current standards. Opponents to the measure say the tax should be reduced, since the hospital will be receiving funds from the federal government to cover uncompensated care following the initialization of the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid.

Construction Resumes on State's Largest Wind Farm

State officials gathered in Torrance County Monday to celebrate resuming construction on what they say will be the state's largest producer of wind energy. The Avangrid Renewables' El Cabo Wind Farm suffered some setbacks since it's groundbreaking in 2013, saying last year that it was facing slowed construction due to transmission-related issues. Officials say the 56,000-acre project will be made up of more than 140 wind turbines and will provide the state with at least $2 million in lease and payments in place of taxes.


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