Defense expert in Sandy, Perez trial calls shooting justified

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The two former Albuquerque Police Department officers accused of murdering James Boyd used an expert witness on police shootings on Friday who said the killing was justified.

Ronald McCarthy is a retired Los Angeles police officer. He told the jury the homeless camper was not surrendering but was in attack mode.

The prosecution has said from the beginning, that James Boyd was turning away to surrender when he was shot and killed. But the defense’s first expert witness says otherwise.

“What is your opinion about the states contention that Mr. Boyd was surrendering,” asked the defense. “I don’t agree with it at all,” said McCarthy.

McCarthy walked the jury through how reasonably trained officers should act around certain threats, and specifically how APD dealt with James Boyd the day of the shooting.

He claims when someone is surrendering, they drop their weapons something Boyd never did.

The defense has said James Boyd was taking a step towards an APD K-9 handler with his knives, and that’s why Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez opened fire.

The expert witness agrees that’s exactly what happened.

“He was arming himself with the intent to attack the officers who were closing on him and he continued to hold on to the weapons,” said McCarthy.

When asked if shooting the homeless camper was a reasonable decision for the officers to make, he said yes.

When prosecutors questioned McCarthy, they maintained that Sandy and Perez shot for no reason.

“Officers could only shoot if their was an immanent threat of great bodily harm, they couldn’t shoot if there’s only a potential threat, isn’t that right sir,” asked the Special Prosecutor. “That’s correct, it must be immediate or immanent,” said McCarthy.

Prosecutors also implied Boyd never attacked officers.

“He never slashed or stabbed any of the officers did he, sir,” asked the Special Prosecutor. “He did not slash or stab any of the officers,” replied McCarthy.

Then, the defense turned to an instructor who taught Perez in a class called, Edged Weapons Awareness.

They referred to a training video used in the class.

When the jury wasn’t present, the Special Prosecutor referred to the video as a “slasher film for police,” expressing concern about its graphic nature.

On the stand on Friday, David Hubbard said, “This video very graphically demonstrates the importance of distance.”

The class also addressed responding to people with mental health issues.

“Bottom line in dealing with these people is the unpredictability of their actions,” Hubbard said.

Both Sandy and Perez face second-degree murder charges for killing Boyd.

The trial will resume Tuesday. 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.

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