Three jurors voted to convict two Albuquerque cops on second-degree murder charges today in the shooting death of a mentally ill homeless man.
But nine jurors voted to acquit the cops, resulting in a mistrial.
Now it’s up to Special Prosecutor Randi McGinn to determine whether to retry Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez for the shooting death of James Boyd in 2014.
Judge Alisa Hadfield declared a mistrial Tuesday after three days of deliberations when it became evident that none of the jurors were going to change their minds.
Both Sandy and Perez, who have since left the police force, were facing up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
They were part of a group of 19 officers who made their way up to an encampment on the foothills of the mountains on the outskirts of Albuquerque where Boyd was sleeping.
The two cops said they killed Boyd because he was carrying pocket knives.
“For this fucking lunatic? I’m going to shoot him in the penis with a shotgun here in a second,” Sandy was recorded on telling another officer before the shooting.
According to ABC News:
The courtroom was silent as the judge announced the mistrial, and the defendants left court without making a comment. Albuquerque police union members were seen tapping other officers on the shoulder and hugging each other after the news.
Sandy and Perez shot mentally ill, homeless camper James Boyd in 2014 after receiving complaints he was acting erratically on a rocky hillside. They were among 19 officers who swarmed the area with rifles, tactical gear, flash grenades, stun guns and K-9 units, a show of force that the prosecutor questioned throughout the trial.
The defendants, who are no longer on the force, said they opened fire because Boyd had two pocket knives and they believed he posed a deadly threat to a K-9 handler who had lost control of his police service dog and chased the animal, bringing him within 9 to 12 feet of Boyd.
Last year, Albuquerque paid a $5 million settlement to Boyd’s family.
The shooting was caught on body cam video which can be seen below. Also below is report from PINAC’s Charlie Grapski from the area where Boyd was shot, walking us through the shooting.