Autopsy: Homeless man shot in the back by police
- Article by: RUSSELL CONTRERAS
- Associated Press
- May 29, 2014 - 5:55 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A homeless camper killed by Albuquerque police — in a shooting that sparked a violent protest and a federal investigation — was shot in the back, had multiple emergency surgeries and then had his arm amputated before he died, an autopsy report released Thursday said.
James Boyd, 38, underwent multiple surgical procedures to control bleeding but died from three gunshot wounds, including one in the lower-left back, a day after the March 16 shooting, according to the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator report.
The report lists homicide as the manner of death.
Boyd, who suffered from schizophrenia and was reportedly camping illegally in the Sandia Mountain foothills, was shot by officers after a long standoff. A helmet-camera video of the shooting showed Boyd gathering his belongings before officers opened fire.
The footage sparked widespread calls for Albuquerque police reform and later a violent protest in the city that forced riot police to use tear gas to control demonstrators.
The FBI then said it would launch its own investigation into the shooting. The U.S. Justice Department followed with a scathing review of Albuquerque police's overall use of force and its practices on handling suspects suffering from mental illness.
Critics of the police said the Boyd shooting, and the more than three dozen since 2010, later pushed angry protesters to crowd a city council meeting earlier this month and forced councilors to flee before demonstrators took over city council chambers.
The autopsy report said one gunshot wound entered Boyd's lower left back, which zipped through the lower abdomen and exited the left armpit before re-entering the upper left arm.
Another gunshot wound to his upper right arm required surgical amputation of the arm. A third gunshot wound was identified in the upper left arm, the report said.
Toxicological analysis of Boyd's blood did not find any alcohol or drugs in his system. The report mentioned that he had skin scrapes and cuts on his right leg — where a police dog was shown on a video biting.
Boyd died at the University of New Mexico Hospital.
Last week, Albuquerque police shot a third person since the Justice Department released its harsh review in April. It was agency's 40th police shooting since 2010.
The city of Albuquerque has entered negotiations with the Justice Department over reforms, but it could take months for the two sides to outline an agreement.
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