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Albuquerque police release camper shooting video

  • Article by: RUSSELL CONTRERAS
  • Associated Press
  • June 12, 2014 - 5:25 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Albuquerque Police Department released new video of the events that led up to officers fatally shooting a homeless man in March — a shooting that sparked a violent protest and angry calls for reform.

On one of the videos released Wednesday, James Boyd, 38, is heard telling officers that he didn't want to come down because he feared police would shoot him. An officer responds, "No, we wouldn't."

The footage shows a number of officers surrounding James Boyd as police try to get him to surrender from his Sandia foothills campsite during the hours-long standoff. Boyd pulled out two knives on officers who had initially approached him and repeatedly threatened to kill officers, the videos showed.

At times, the video shows Boyd, who police and health officials said suffered from schizophrenia, telling officers he's a government agent and speaking of various plots against him.

In another video, an officer is heard saying to another: "Try to keep him occupied then. We have a plan to take him into custody."

Previously released video from a helmet camera showed Boyd gathering his belongings in an apparent agreement to surrender. Officers then opened fire.

Boyd later died at a hospital.

According to an autopsy report released last month, Boyd was killed by three gunshot wounds. The report said one gunshot wound to his upper right arm required surgical amputation of the arm as doctors tried to save his life.

The shooting brought to a head tensions over police shootings, sparking angry protests around the city, including one that had to be broken up with tear gas.

Since 2010, police have shot 40 people, killing 26.

Shortly after the Boyd shooting, the U.S. Justice Department released a scathing review of the agency's use of force and the way officers handle suspects suffering from mental illness. The FBI also said it would launch its own investigation into the Boyd shooting.

Investigators say police were unable recover video footage from one of the officers in the shooting.

In a statement, Police Chief Gorden Eden said he couldn't comment on any personnel matters connected to the shooting.

"In order to preserve the integrity of the investigation into an officer-involved shooting, the internal administrative investigation of issues regarding (standard operating procedures) usually does not commence until after that investigation is closed," Eden said.

Meanwhile, Mayor Richard Berry on Thursday announced a new "broad-based" public outreach initiative aimed at drawing community input from a number of planned forums. Berry said he would ask residents from all around the city, including those who staged a sit-in at his office last week, to take part.

Berry said everyone needs to come with "solution-based" approaches.

© 2014 Star Tribune