by Ansel Herz
on Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 4:08 PM
They even wear body cameras—something Seattle City Council member Bruce Harrell has long called for with regard to Seattle police—which means there's (graphic) video of police gunning down a homeless man when his back appears to be turned (via the Albuquerque Journal below).
Thirty-eight-year-old James Boyd, who died on March 17, the following day, was both mentally ill and had a violent criminal record. Police said they were trying to remove him from an illegal camping site after an extended standoff. Here's how the Albuquerque Journal recounts the episode:
'All right, don't change up the agreement,' Boyd says, as officers have their guns trained on him. 'I'm going to try to walk with you.' Boyd picks up his backpack and belongings, and he looks ready to start walking. There are no knives in his hands at this point. 'Do it!' an officer says on the video.
A flash-bang device is thrown at Boyd's feet, disorienting him. Officers yell at him to get on the ground, and a dog and officer approach him. Boyd takes two knives out of his pockets and appears to wave them. Then Boyd starts turning away from the officers. That's when shots ring out and he hits the ground. Officers continue to yell at him to drop the knives. 'Please don't hurt me anymore. I can't move,' Boyd says as he lies on the ground.
Officers fire beanbag rounds at him as he's on the ground, then let loose a police dog, which grabs his leg and shakes it. He doesn't move. Then officers approach and cuff him, blood on the rock above him. He died the next day at the hospital.
Here's the video:
Hundreds of Albuquerque residents were sufficiently outraged by Boyle's death, on top of previous incidents, that they took to the streets yesterday and faced off with—you guessed it—riot police who fired tear gas at them. "In all," the New York Times notes, "23 civilians have been fatally shot by the police, and 14 others have been wounded since 2010, a series of events that has prompted a broader federal investigation into the department’s use of force."