APD officers to face criminal charges for first time

James Boyd shooting
APD officer Rick Ingram, pictured at right, points the yellow-colored Taser X12 shotgun at James Boyd on March 16, 2014. The shotgun had been discontinued nearly two years prior.

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – District Attorney Kari Brandenburg plans to file murder charges on Monday against the two Albuquerque police officers who shot James Boyd in the Sandia Foothills last March, according to multiple sources with firsthand knowledge of her decision.

It will mark the first time an APD officer has faced criminal charges for shooting someone in the line of duty in New Mexico’s largest city. APD has one of the highest rates of police shootings in the country, and Boyd’s death was the result of the most controversial in a series of 27 fatal shootings here since 2010.

Boyd, 36, had been camping in a restricted area of open space at Albuquerque’s eastern edge. During a four-hour standoff with police who had responded to a call about Boyd from an area resident, he brandished two small knives multiple times.

One officer’s helmet-mounted camera captured the final moments of the encounter, when Boyd appeared to be complying with commands to leave the area. As he bent down to gather his belongings, an officer threw a flash-bang grenade at his feet. Another officer sicced a police dog on Boyd, who pulled the knives out of his pockets again. As he was turning away from the officers, two of them fired three rounds apiece from assault-style rifles, striking Boyd in the back.

Boyd, who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, died later at the hospital.

Prosecutors will charge officer Dominique Perez of the APD SWAT team, and former detective Keith Sandy, who was allowed to retire from the department eight months after the shooting, by “criminal information,” the sources told KRQE News 13.

Filing charges by information is common in many parts of New Mexico, but rare in Bernalillo County. The process is authorized under New Mexico law and allows prosecutors to charge suspects without obtaining an indictment in a secret grand jury proceeding.

Preliminary Hearing Process

At a preliminary hearing for Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez, the officers would be able to contest the charges. Prosecutors also would present evidence at the hearing, which would be open to the public. At its conclusion, a District Court judge would decide whether there is probable cause to bind one or both of the officers over for trial.

The move is likely to trigger a preliminary hearing in state District Court, where Sandy and Perez would be able to contest the charges. Prosecutors also would present evidence at the hearing, which would be open to the public. At its conclusion, a District Court judge would decide whether there is probable cause to bind one or both of the officers over for trial.

Brandenburg’s filing will charge Sandy and Perez with open counts of murder. That means a trial jury could consider a range of charges from voluntary manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of six years in prison, to first-degree murder, which carries a potential life sentence.

Reached by telephone, Brandenburg refused to comment for this story. So did attorneys for the two officers.

News 13 first reported that the four-term District Attorney anticipated charging Sandy and Perez in a story on Dec. 16.

In an earlier story, on Oct. 23, News 13 reported that a separate, FBI investigation of the Boyd shooting is unlikely to result in federal charges against the officers. That’s because federal authorities do not believe the evidence in the case is enough to get over the high bar required to charge police officers with criminal civil rights violations.

The state charges will land at a time of heavy turbulence for APD and Mayor Richard Berry’s administration.

The city and the U.S. Department of Justice are awaiting approval from a federal judge on a 106-page agreement they signed to resolve the DOJ’s findings of widespread excessive force by city police. Those findings followed an 18-month investigation in which federal officials found an over-aggressive culture among police, particularly APD’s specialized squads, and a leadership structure that has long refused to address problems.

More recently, two APD officers have been shot in the line of duty. Both remained hospitalized Sunday evening.

On Jan. 3, Christopher Cook allegedly shot 31-year APD veteran Lou Golson multiple times during an early morning traffic stop in the middle of town. Cook was arrested days later. He has been charged with attempted murder and other felonies. Golson is recovering at an area hospital.

Six days later, on Friday, two undercover narcotics detectives allegedly purchased $60 worth of methamphetamine through two 28-year-old men inside a police-owned, unmarked Lexus. As several plainclothes officers surrounded the car to make an arrest, one of them,  Lt. Greg Brachle, opened fire. He struck one of the detectives with multiple rounds and grazed the other detective.

One of the detectives was in critical condition at an area hospital Sunday evening after multiple surgeries. News 13 is not naming either of the undercover detectives at the request of their families.

Charges in the Boyd case also come at a tumultuous time for Brandenburg.

On Nov. 25, APD Detective David Nix sent a 700-page, 22-DVD case file to the state Attorney General’s Office. The file included a letter that said APD believes probable cause exists that Brandenburg committed bribery or intimidation of a witness.

The case centers around burglary allegations against Brandenburg’s son, 26-year-old Justin Koch. Nix wrote in his police report that he believes Brandenburg tried to bribe victims of Koch’s burglaries in exchange for them not pressing charges against him.

Current and former law enforcement officers who have spoken with News 13 raised numerous questions about the viability of the case — and why the department chose to forward it to prosecutors. News 13 reported last month on a conversation between Nix and another detective in which they discussed how “weak” the case was. The other detective, Soren Ericksen, noted that ” … it’s gonna destroy a career.” 

Based on a News 13 review of the case file, Nix appears to have concluded his investigation at the end of July. In October and early November, prosecutors from Brandenburg’s office told an attorney for the local police union and others at APD that they anticipated charging Sandy and Perez for Boyd’s death. At the end of November, Nix wrote his police report and sent the case to the AG’s Office.

Brandenburg has faced intense criticism from police-reform advocates and others for not charging any police officers in shooting cases.

On Monday, she will take the first step toward a significant departure for her office.

KRQE.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

  • http://newmexico.dotnewz.com/charges-to-be-filed-monday-against-apd-officers-in-boyd-shooting-albuquerque/ Charges to be filed Monday against APD officers in Boyd shooting #Albuquerque | New Mexico Newz

    […] Read More […]

  • http://freedomsfloodgates.com/2015/01/12/for-the-first-time-ever-apd-cops-will-be-charged-with-murder-for-killing-someone/ For the First Time Ever APD Cops Will Be Charged with Murder for Killing Someone - Freedom's Floodgates

    […] to KRQE, prosecutors will charge officer Perez and now former detective Sandy, who was allowed to retire […]

  • http://shot97.com/for-the-first-time-ever-apd-cops-will-be-charged-with-murder-for-killing-someone/ For the First Time Ever APD Cops Will Be Charged with Murder for Killing Someone - SHOT97

    […] to KRQE, prosecutors will charge officer Perez and now former detective Sandy, who was allowed to […]

  • http://hinterlandgazette.com/2015/01/2-albuquerque-officers-accused-killing-james-boyd-face-charges.html 2 Albuquerque Officers Accused of Killing James Boyd to Face Charges | Hinterland Gazette

    […] KRQE reported that multiple sources confirmed Sunday that District Attorney Kari Brandenburg planned to file charges against Dominique Perez, a SWAT officer, and former detective Keith Sandy, who retired from the department eight months after the fatal shooting. […]

  • http://www.thedailysheeple.com/da-plans-to-file-murder-charges-against-apd-cops-who-killed-homeless-man-but-theres-a-twist_012015 DA Plans to File Murder Charges against APD Cops Who Killed Homeless Man, but There's a Twist | The Daily Sheeple

    […] One officer’s helmet-mounted camera captured the final moments of the encounter, when Boyd appeared to be complying with commands to leave the area. As he bent down to gather his belongings, an officer threw a flash-bang grenade at his feet. Another officer sicced a police dog on Boyd, who pulled the knives out of his pockets again. As he was turning away from the officers, two of them fired three rounds apiece from assault-style rifles, striking Boyd in the back. (source) […]

  • http://libertycrier.com/charges-to-be-filed-against-albuquerque-officers-in-homeless-man-shooting/ Charges To Be Filed Against Albuquerque Officers In Homeless Man Shooting - Liberty Crier

    […] Charges To Be Filed Against Albuquerque Officers In Homeless Man Shooting [continued] […]

  • http://www.inquisitr.com/1748920/albuquerque-police-shooting-homeless/ Albuquerque Police Officers Face Murder Charges In Shooting Death Of Homeless Man

    […] reported by KRQU, Boyd continued to refuse the officers’ demands. Perez and Sandy then opened fire. The Albuquerque police officers shot the homeless man a total of three times. Boyd was transported […]

  • http://trendingnewsz.com/da-plans-to-file-murder-charges-against-apd-cops-who-killed-homeless-man-but-theres-a-twist DA Plans to File Murder Charges against APD Cops Who Killed Homeless Man, but There's a Twist - Trendingnewsz.com

    […] One officer’s helmet-mounted camera captured the final moments of the encounter, when Boyd appeared to be complying with commands to leave the area. As he bent down to gather his belongings, an officer threw a flash-bang grenade at his feet. Another officer sicced a police dog on Boyd, who pulled the knives out of his pockets again. As he was turning away from the officers, two of them fired three rounds apiece from assault-style rifles, striking Boyd in the back. (source) […]

  • http://www.miataturbo.net/current-events-news-politics-77/hero-warrior-cop-fear-ready-raid-kill-create-crime-73864/page174/#post1195713 The hero warrior cop is in fear and ready to raid, kill, and create crime - Page 174 - Miata Turbo Forum - Turbo Kitten is watching you test compression.

    […] to bypass Grand Jury: Charges to be filed Monday against APD officers in Boyd shooting | KRQE News 13 […]

  • https://www.popularresistance.org/albuquerque-police-officers-face-murder-charges/ Albuquerque Police Officers Face Murder Charges | PopularResistance.Org

    […] reported by KRQU, Boyd continued to refuse the officers’ demands. Perez and Sandy then opened fire. The Albuquerque police officers shot the homeless man a total of three times. Boyd was transported […]

  • http://internetdo.com/2015/01/2-albuquerque-officers-face-murder-charges-in-killing-of-homeless-man/ 2 Albuquerque officers face murder charges in killing of homeless man

    […] information, that means she does not need to find an complaint from a grand jury. Local TV hire KRQE pronounced she will record open charges of murder, that means that a hearing jury could cruise a operation of depends —  during […]

  • http://www.fromthetrenchesworldreport.com/charges-to-be-filed-monday-against-apd-officers-in-boyd-shooting/118583 Charges to be filed Monday against APD officers in Boyd shooting | From the Trenches World Report

    […] KRQE 13 News – by Jeff Proctor and Matt Grubs […]

  • http://aattp.org/breaking-the-albuquerque-cops-who-killed-a-36-year-old-homeless-man-will-be-indicted-today-video/ BREAKING: The Albuquerque Cops Who Killed a 36 Year-Old Homeless Man Will Be Indicted Today (Video) | Americans Against the Tea Party

    […] It’s the first time an officer will face criminal charges for shooting someone in the line of duty in New Mexico’s largest city. The Albuquerque Police Department has one of the highest rates of police shootings in the country, with Boyd’s death being one of the most controversial in a series of 27 fatal shootings in the city since 2010, according to local news affiliate KRQE: […]

  • http://redpowermedia.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/albuquerque-cops-charged-with-murder-in-fatal-shooting-of-homeless-man-at-campsite/ Albuquerque cops charged with murder in fatal shooting of homeless man at campsite | RED POWER MEDIA

    […] KRQE reported that District Attorney Kari Brandenburg would file open murder charges against Dominique Perez, a SWAT officer, and former detective Keith Sandy, who retired from the department eight months after the fatal shooting. […]

  • http://www.tkgnews.com/two-new-mexico-cops-will-face-charges-in-the-killing-of-a-homeless-camper/ Two New Mexico Cops Will Face Charges In The Killing Of A Homeless Camper | TKG News

    […] KRQE reports that New Mexico law allows prosecutors to charge suspects without seeking a grand jury indictment, but the practice is rare. […]

  • http://www.darkpolitricks.com/2015/01/albuquerque-cops-who-gunned-down-homeless-camper-face-murder-charges/ Albuquerque Cops Who Gunned Down Homeless Camper Face Murder Charges  Dark Politricks

    […] H/T: KRQE […]

  • http://thesecularjurist.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/albuquerque-da-to-file-murder-charges-against-two-apd-officers/ Albuquerque DA to File Murder Charges Against Two APD Officers | The Secular Jurist

    […] There may be justice of a sort for James Boyd, a mentally ill homeless man killed by Albuquerque pol… […]

  • http://www.liberalvoice.tv/prosecutor-decides-to-indict-2-albuquerque-police-officers-in-shooting-death-of-homeless-man/ Prosecutor decides to indict 2 Albuquerque police officers in shooting death of homeless man — LiberalVoiceLiberalVoice — Your source for everything about liberals and progressives! — News and tweets about everything liberals and progres

    […] Local news affiliate KRQE reports: […]

  • http://gold.sport24blog.com/da-plans-to-file-murder-charges-against-apd-cops-who-killed-homeless-man-but-theres-a-twist/ DA Plans to File Murder Charges against APD Cops Who Killed Homeless Man, but There’s a Twist | gold is money

    […] One officer’s helmet-mounted camera captured the final moments of the encounter, when Boyd appeared to be complying with commands to leave the area. As he bent down to gather his belongings, an officer threw a flash-bang grenade at his feet. Another officer sicced a police dog on Boyd, who pulled the knives out of his pockets again. As he was turning away from the officers, two of them fired three rounds apiece from assault-style rifles, striking Boyd in the back. (source) […]

  • http://techefx.com/for-the-first-time-ever-apd-cops-will-be-charged-with-murder-for-killing-someone/ For the First Time Ever APD Cops Will Be Charged with Murder for Killing Someone - Ace Garage Doors

    […] to KRQE, prosecutors will charge officer Perez and now former detective Sandy, who was allowed to […]

  • http://krqe.com/2015/01/12/officers-attorney-says-das-choice-to-charge-murder-is-terrible/ Officer’s attorney says DA’s choice to charge murder is ‘terrible’ | KRQE News 13

    […] officially announced she had filed charges against Sandy and Perez. Neither attorney commented for a News 13 story Sunday night that broke the news of the forthcoming murder charges. As Brandenburg announced a 2 p.m. news conference, Bregman announced his own a half-hour […]

  • http://absolute-news.com/2015/01/cops-gunned-homeless-man-now-facing-murder-charges/ Cops Who Gunned Down Homeless Man Now Facing Murder Charges - Absolute News

    […] H/T: KRQE […]

  • http://truthalerts.com/for-the-first-time-ever-apd-cops-will-be-charged-with-murder-for-killing-someone/ For the First Time Ever APD Cops Will Be Charged with Murder for Killing Someone | TruthAlerts.com

    […] to KRQE, prosecutors will charge officer Perez and now former detective Sandy, who was allowed to retire […]

  • http://krqe.com/2015/01/18/in-case-you-missed-them-top-stories-this-past-week-8/ In case you missed them, top stories this past week | KRQE News 13

    […] District Attorney Kari Brandenburg plans to file murder charges on Monday against the two Albuquerque police officers who shot James Boyd in the Sandia Foothills last March, according to multiple sources with firsthand knowledge of her decision. Read more»  […]

  • http://nevergetbusted.com/hot-news/apd-faces-murder-charges-killing-mentally-ill-homeless-camper-james-boyd/ APD faces murder charges for killing mentally ill homeless camper, James Boyd - Never Get Busted!

    […] to KRQE, prosecutors will charge officer Perez and now former detective Sandy, who was allowed to retire […]

blog comments powered by Disqus