published: 22 June 2014
Albuquerque police shot a homeless man in the back and killed him, and it was all caught on gruesome detail in a police video. It is just one more in a long line of police killings that has the city’s Police Department on the verge of federal oversight.
James Boyd, a mentally disturbed man who friends say was attempting to camp out in the foothills above Albuquerque one night in March because city homeless shelters had closed, was holding two small camping knives. Officers negotiated with him for five hours, eventually winning agreement from Boyd to leave the makeshift — and illegal — campsite.
Then a police stun grenade went off, Boyd, 38, turned his back and three shots were fired.
Police video shows Boyd on his stomach on the ground, wheezing for breath as officers sic a dog on his legs and fire bean bag rounds at him. He was already mortally wounded. An autopsy on Boyd found he was shot in the back. The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide.