James Boyd family, city of Albuquerque reach $5M settlement

James Boyd Shooting

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – In one of the largest settlements after a police shooting, the City of Albuquerque announced Friday it will pay out millions to the family of James Boyd.

Helmet-cam video captured APD Officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez firing three shots each, which killed Boyd in March 2014.

“The graphic and excruciating nature of that footage changed everything,” said Shannon Kennedy, attorney for the family of Boyd.

Video of the Albuquerque Police shooting from March of 2014 sparked protests in the streets of Albuquerque.

Critics also slammed APD Chief Gorden Eden for his comments on the shooting when asked if it was justified.

“Do I believe it was a justified shooting? Yes,” he told KRQE.

“People who are typically invisible, like the homeless among us, became visible and police violence and misconduct became visible,” Kennedy said.

Boyd’s family sued, saying police escalated the situation that led to Boyd’s death.

Now, more than a year later, the city is settling the lawsuit, paying $5 million to the family.

It is the city’s third largest settlement over a police shooting following an $8-million payout after the death of Kenneth Ellis and $6 million after the death of Christopher Torres.

“Did the city do anything wrong in this case?” News 13 asked the city’s chief administrative officer.

“I think you can always look at police tactical situations and evaluate what went right, what didn’t go right and what went wrong, and this was a situation where it didn’t have a good outcome,” Rob Perry said.

The city said the settlement is not an admission of guilt.

The lawsuit pushed for a change of APD policies and the attorney for Boyd’s family said what has happened since the city reached an agreement with the Department of Justice is promising.

“They are very, very encouraged by the work of the city with the DOJ to protect the homeless in our community,” Kennedy said.

In January, Perez and Sandy were charged with Boyd’s murder. Officer Perez and retired officer Sandy were initially charged with first degree murder before District Attorney Kari Brandenburg was disqualified from the case.

Special prosecutor Randi McGinn took over and wants a judge to sign off on second degree murder charge. That decision could happen in August.

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