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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Albuquerque Police Are Out of Control

Posted by 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."


Comments (23) RSS

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Max Solomon 1
That was a straight up point blank execution. They've become so militarized in response to 9/11 that they're acting like the mentally ill/bums are the Taliban.

Of course the dude's got knives - wouldn't you if you were homeless?

1 cop with patience and a nightstick could have got this job done without violence.
Posted by Max Solomon on April 1, 2014 at 4:24 PM · Report this
Looks like they're pretty in control to me.
Posted by GermanSausage on April 1, 2014 at 4:28 PM · Report this
If you think one wacko w/ a knife can't be a threat to half a dozen heavily armed cops think again. You can see what I mean here:…
Posted by Ken Mehlman on April 1, 2014 at 4:47 PM · Report this
If only the cops didn't have such easy access to guns... this senseless tragedy could have been prevented.

Perhaps if we had some sort of mandatory training requirements, or background checks on cops, or gun registration, or maybe if we banned large capacity magazines, or black guns with folding stocks... or something.
Posted by CPN on April 1, 2014 at 4:57 PM · Report this

Ummmmm ... in the link you provide, the conflict ends without bloodshed. Not quite sure you made your point.
Posted by pkbrown on April 1, 2014 at 5:00 PM · Report this
I was there for the "Port Militarization Resistance" protest in Olympia in 2007 and for the Sunday protest in Albuquerque.

To compare the two: after an initial cohesive wave ("March on police headquarters!"), the protest in Albuquerque morphed into cop baiting and opportunistic vandalism. Protesters in the Pacific Northwest are far more tactical with their street medics, human chains and so on. But something happened here in Albuquerque that I doubt would happen back home: a protester actually brought an AK. Very troubling.

There was a community followup yesterday that seemed to add clarity to the general sense of outrage and frustration: people met at the peace and justice center to discuss changes they would like to see in APD. I was glad to read about that.

APD will be facing the same kind of federal investigation as the SPD did a few years ago. Will that be enough to prevent APD from treating campers like enemy combatants? Probably not, so perhaps acting out is called for after all.
Posted by courner on April 1, 2014 at 5:02 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 7
@4: what about conflict de-escalation training to start with? dude's crime was CAMPING.
Posted by Max Solomon on April 1, 2014 at 5:04 PM · Report this
quix 8
It's a long running problem here. There's a great feature on it in the Alibi.…

Lapel videos aren't always all they've cracked up to be. There are plenty of officers with an uncanny gift for aiming their cameras away from the relevant situation. Which isn't to say you can't get informative (and occasionally entertaining) videos: it's just a fight.

On a marginally related note, I've seen lapel video of a suspect telling APD officers they work for "one of the most corrupt motherfucking police departments in the country."

The APD officer's response: "No, that'd be Seattle."
Posted by quix on April 1, 2014 at 5:06 PM · Report this
I can't help as I watch this see two trgedies. One is the tragedy of a militarized police force that's trained not to serve the community, but to perceive threats that it must subdue. The other is the personal tragedy - that poor man, troubled, afraid, confused and now lying there, mortally wounded and alone. It's horrible on every possible level. Good on the people of Albuquerque for speaking out... It's their John T. Williams.
Posted by Centrists Rule the World today on April 1, 2014 at 5:08 PM · Report this
@5 In the link I provide the conflict is ended when the suspect is shot dead, but only after he wounds three police officers. Video of that incident is shown to cops as an example of what not to do.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on April 1, 2014 at 5:21 PM · Report this
@8: Wow that was depressing.

@3: Just straight up ignoring that the situation was stable until the police fired a flash-bang? The police took a stable situation and escalated it, causing the man to grab his knives, and turn AWAY from them, at which point they shot him, then despite him crying out that he couldn't move, and not moving, they shot him some more and attacked him with a dog.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on April 1, 2014 at 5:43 PM · Report this

My point was to satirize authoritarian bootlickers on both the right and the left. Both camps are on the extreme ends of the political spectrum but they both love authority... as long as it's their side with the authority. The right-wing authoritarians, whom the media calls 'law-and-order Republicans' love it when a homeless guy gets boot stomped.

Meanwhile, in left-wing bootlicker land, anyone like myself who is a responsible law abiding firearms owner is, 'Perpetually living in fear and has a small penis and a Walter Mitty complex.' After all, why do you need a gun when you can just call 911? You know, because the cops are here to protect us.

Except when they're not.
Posted by CPN on April 1, 2014 at 5:45 PM · Report this
delirian 13
I'm actually glad to hear that someone was carrying an AK-47 during the protest. This is a protest about a police department murdering a man. People should have pitchforks and guns for this type of thing.
Posted by delirian on April 1, 2014 at 5:46 PM · Report this
@11 I'm not sure I agree w/ the decision to deploy the flash bang, but the decision to shoot after he went for his knives was 100% legit.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on April 1, 2014 at 6:14 PM · Report this
That was a knife? It would be laughable if the end of this encounter wasn't so pathetic, and in my opinion, cowardly. The citizens of ABQ are right in reacting to this and they need to enact policing standards and limits acceptable to community. I wish Seattle would do the same.
Posted by Fairhaven on April 1, 2014 at 6:38 PM · Report this
"Flashing' a knife and making a direct, attempt to endanger the lives of the officers are in two different hemispheres. Your statement is completely without
any merit.
Posted by Fairhaven on April 1, 2014 at 6:42 PM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 17
@16 - It won't be the first time for one of Ken's statements and it won't be the last.
Posted by Pridge Wessea on April 1, 2014 at 7:59 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 18
was he "flashing" his knives or disposing of them? the idea he's going to cross that broken ground and injure an officer with attack dogs is fucking absurd. unless they thought he was some sort of camping ninja with throwing skills. imperfect humans applying militaristic safety protocols.

what, i ask you, is so funny about peace, love, and understanding?
Posted by Max Solomon on April 1, 2014 at 8:32 PM · Report this
Boyd, who police said may have been a paranoid schizophrenic, has a long criminal history. In the past, he allegedly attacked people with knives, box cutters, and his hands, and in 2010 broke a female officer's nose, according to KOAT.

Now look what slog told BJC to do about a similar person "because it's part of city life" (is Albuquerque urban?)…
Posted by ChefJoe on April 1, 2014 at 10:06 PM · Report this
LEE. 20
@3, etc

Every night I pray to a god I don't believe in that one day you fall asleep in you car with a gun in your lap.
Posted by LEE. on April 1, 2014 at 11:42 PM · Report this
The Third Rail 21
Illegal camping: Now a capital offense.
Posted by The Third Rail on April 2, 2014 at 3:00 AM · Report this
NopeNope 22
Posted by NopeNope on April 2, 2014 at 7:50 AM · Report this
Fistique 23
Wow, I was sure this thread was going to be full of Breaking Bad jokes. Now I just feel trite.
Posted by Fistique on April 2, 2014 at 9:45 AM · Report this

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