ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A law firm that’s hit APD hard before just let the city know another haymaker is coming.
In a four page tort claims notice obtained by KRQE News 13, Albuquerque’s been told to expect a wrongful death lawsuit from the estate of James Boyd, the homeless camper gunned down by APD in March.
“We believe that the city of Albuquerque has blood on its hands,” said Joe Kennedy, an attorney representing the Boyd estate. ” It’s a clearly unjustified taking of a human life with no excuse and no justification and it’s intentional.”
Kennedy says the factors that led up to the Boyd shooting make it clear that APD didn’t learn its lesson from prior shootings.
The lawsuit notice cites, among other things, a failure of APD to train enough officers to deal with people with mental health issues and a failure to have any of the officers that were trained on scene at the Boyd standoff. It also says APD unnecessarily escalated the situation, throwing a flash bang grenade at a man who appeared to be cooperating.
Based on the notice, the coming lawsuit is likely to focus on Keith Sandy, the APD officer who first shot Boyd. Before he was with APD, Sandy was fired from his job with New Mexico State Police for time card fraud.
News 13 has requested Sandy’s lapel camera and belt tape recordings from NMSP, as has Boyd’s estate but the city and state have declined to release them. Both are part of the FBI investigation into the Boyd shooting.
“We’re very interested in what Officer Sandy said leading up to the actual shooting,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy says both the city and state are violating state law by declining to release the recordings and plans on filing a separate public records lawsuit within the next couple of weeks.
The Kennedy Law Firm is the same one that got the city to pay out $7.9 million for APD’s shooting of Iraq war veteran Kenneth Ellis.
The Boyd suit could be pricey for the city as well.
“The city needs to know that taxpayer pocketbooks are going to continue to get hit hard if they continue to do what they’ve been doing,” Kennedy said. “We’re trying to make it as expensive as possible for them to kill people.”
City administration provided a brief response to News 13’s request for comment.
“If and when we receive a lawsuit we will respond appropriately,” said city attorney David Tourek in a statement.