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.