ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The judge declared a mistrial Tuesday in the case of former Albuquerque Police Department officers Dominique Perez and Keith Sandy due to a hung jury.
Attorneys speak out after mistrial
Right after the judge announced a mistrial, Keith Sandy’s attorney said he wishes it was a not guilty verdict but he stands by his client, saying it was a misguided prosecution.
Sandy’s attorney, Sam Bregman, said after the announcement, “When cops follow their training, they shouldn’t be prosecuted.”
The defense says the heavy majority of jurors who wanted to acquit sends a strong message to anyone thinking about trying the case again.
He went on to say that it was an honor to represent Sandy and he would do it again without charging him a penny. Bregman said 99-percent of APD officers are good including Sandy and Perez.
“That every day we ought to wake up and we ought to thank them for the job they do for our community,” said Bregman.
Perez’s attorney said he would not be commenting on the case Tuesday night. But in closing arguments, he called Perez an innocent man.
Special Prosecutor Randi McGinn said she was not too concerned about the three guilty and nine not guilty vote. She said ultimately this discussion had to happen and she was happy it happened publicly.
McGinn says the split decision goes to show how polarizing an issue this case has been for the community.
“The city now has what it’s always wanted, which is the true story of what happened up on the mountain,” said McGinn.
In the future, McGinn said police shouldn’t be investigating their own officers in a situation like this.
“This was a very difficult case from the get-go. There haven’t been convictions anywhere across the country for these kinds of cases,” said McGinn.
McGinn also went on to say that she felt sorry for Perez who, unlike Sandy, was sent up to face Boyd just three minutes before the shooting.
McGinn put in hundreds and hundreds of hours on the case for just $5,400.
Groups across the city react to hung jury
Albuquerque’s Police Union has also been outspoken about the case, saying the charges were politically motivated and set a terrible precedent. The Police Union says the DA charged the officers because she was getting heat for never prosecuting a police shooting.
“Nobody goes to work and says I want to get involved in an officer involved shooting today, I want to be charged with murder for simply doing my job. That’s not what police officers do but the added scrutiny in the country and here in Albuquerque it’s a hard profession,” said Shaun Willoughby, Albuquerque Police Union President.
A small group of protesters were seen in Downtown Albuquerque after the announcement was made about the hung jury. There were about 30 State Police officers in riot gear around the courthouse in anticipation of protesters. In the end, only about 10 protesters showed up.
Albuquerque residents also reacted to the mistrial. “We have a dead person now here in the city and now we have two cops who have walked again from justice,” said Dave Truszkowski.
Officials release statements about outcome of Sandy, Perez trial
Many people in the public eye released statements and reactions to the outcome of the trial.
Mayor R.J. Berry released this statement on Tuesday:
This tragic incident has deeply affected our community. As difficult as it has been for everyone, we have all learned from it. The most important thing moving forward is that we get closure, both for the officers, the families involved and our community.
Chief Eden did not issue a statement on Tuesday as he is a witness in the case. The Assistant Chief of Police said this:
APD leadership and the administration support and appreciate the difficult work and challenges our officers face each and every day. We strive to serve the community with honor, courage and commitment always. Closure is important for our department and our community to move forward and we hope it comes soon. – Assistant Chief of Police Robert Huntsman, Albuquerque Police Department
Raul Torrez who is a candidate for DA said:
As a candidate for District Attorney I am mindful of the fact that I am not yet empowered to make a decision regarding the best path forward in the wake of today’s hung jury in the prosecution of Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez. I also have not had an opportunity to conduct a detailed review of the evidence or have an in-depth conversation with Special Prosecutor Randi McGinn about the conduct of the trial.
This is an extremely important case for our community and we must not rush a decision about how best to proceed.
Any decisions on the path forward must be guided by the law and the facts, and that’s exactly what I intend to do with every case when I am District Attorney.