Expert: Officers’ ‘reckless plan’ caused James Boyd death

Keith Sandy, Dominique Perez

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A national expert on policing took the stand Tuesday in the murder trial for two former Albuquerque police officers.

Jeff Noble testified that the killing of homeless camper James Boyd was reckless. That witness also called the officers’ actions unreasonable – saying the Albuquerque Police Department ran up on Boyd, not the other way around.

“This isn’t about a mistake or poor judgement. This is about a reckless plan,” Noble told the jury.

This is the state’s second witness, a long-time and now retired officer from southern California.

Prosecutors had Noble walk the jury through the video of the moments leading up to the shooting frame by frame. He says Boyd never took a step towards the dog handler with his two pocket knives like the defense claims.

“I don’t believe Mr. Boyd was an immediate threat to the officers, because he didn’t make any movement to begin an attack on the officers,” said Noble.

Instead, Noble says the homeless camper was turning to lay down on the ground when Officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez fired shots, killing him.

In cross-examination, the defense brought up a case in California where they say Noble shot a suspect in the back. The defense then attempted to attack Noble’s credibility when it comes to dealing with the mentally ill.

“You don’t have any expertise on Mr. Boyd’s psychological condition is that right,” asked Defense Attorney, Luis Robles. “No, I don’t,” said Noble.

The defense then compared Irvine, California where Noble is from to Albuquerque saying Irvine always makes the “Safest Cities in America” list and that policing in a crime-filled city like Albuquerque is completely different.

After Noble finished on the stand, Judge Alisa Hadfield said she got a report that a juror overheard someone in the courtroom audience making comments about the jury.

That led to a stern warning although she did not say who the complaint was about.

“If I find out you violated my decorum order, you will be removed from the courtroom and not allowed to observe,” Judge Hadfield said. “I don’t know how more clear I could be.”

The judge is concerned, not just that comments could be distracting to the jury, but that they could even lead to a mistrial.

With that, court was cut short for the day instead of moving on to the next witness who briefly took the stand in preparation to testify.

That witness was Geoffrey Stone, the detective who initially investigated the boyd shooting for APD. He’s expected to testify when the trial resumes on Wednesday morning.

Both Sandy and Perez are facing second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter charges. They claim they shot Boyd to protect a K9 handler.

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