The residents of Albuquerque, New Mexico have taken to the streets this past week after yet another brutal police killing, which happened to have been caught on camera and distributed. The video shocked the public conscience concerning the heavy-handed actions of the Albuquerque Police Department.
On March 16, 2014, three police officers of the Albuquerque Police Department approached 38 year-old James Boyd on the outskirts of town. Boyd had a long history of mental problems, and episodes of violence. Boyd had been living on the streets for some time, and was sleeping on the street in a “no trespassing” zone. The officers woke up Boyd, argued with him for a while, and then told him to come with them. After arguing, Boyd agreed to comply and began gathering his belongings into a shopping cart. At that moment, one of the police officers threw a stun grenade at Boyd’s feet. Boyd was visibly startled, and reached for what looked like a knife. The officers then opened fire on Boyd, and shot him several times. Boyd was pronounced dead upon arrival at a nearby hospital.
One of the police officers was wearing a helmet camera that recorded the entire incident. The video was posted on the video-sharing website Youtube and quickly went viral. The video’s wide dissemination prompted the residents of Albuquerque to march out into the streets this past week. The protestors blocked traffic, and demanded that the APD Commissioner Gorden Eden resign and that wholesale changes be made to the running of the city’s police force.
Protestors say that their outrage is understandable considering the heavily militaristic approach of the city’s law enforcement officers. Since 2010, APD officers have been involved in 37 shootings, 23 of which resulted in the fatal shooting of another person by a police officer. These numbers are higher than those posted by the NYPD in New York City, a city 16 times larger than Albuquerque. The defensive statements of the city’s mayor and top police officials, that allegedly the police officers were acting in their own defense, have caused even more outrage. Several federal investigations by the FBI and the Justice Department are underway into the behavior and practices of the APD.
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If you experienced a personal injury accident or lost a close family member in a wrongful death accident, and you need an expert in Massachusetts negligence liability law, call 617-787-3700 for your free, confidential consultation with one of our experienced Massachusetts personal injury accident attorneys or Boston, MA accidental death attorneys.