By DAVID CORREIA
James Boyd, a 38-year-old homeless man thought to be schizophrenic, was shot and killed by Albuquerque Police officers Keith Sandy and Dominque Perez on Sunday, March 16 after officers attempted to remove Boyd from the Sandia foothills. He was pronounced dead the next day.
The shooting death of Boyd has created a storm of controversy. A rally and march against police violence is scheduled for Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 6 PM in downtown Albuquerque at the corner of Central Avenue and 1st near the Alvarado Transportation Center.
On Monday, March 24, 2014, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center Task Force for Public Safety convened a group comprised of concerned members of the community who represented themselves, various activist and community organizations and a number of families of victims of APD violence [full disclosure: I am a member of the Albuquerque Task Force for Public Safety]. The group, which calls itself the Albuquerque Task Force for Public Safety, is independent of the MKL Center, and has issued 14 demands that it will present at tonight’s downtown rally and at a special meeting with the United States Department of Justice requested by Jewel Hall of the MLK, Jr. Center and scheduled for Wednesday, March 26. Those demands are:
- We demand APD go into immediate receivership and the US DOJ serve as trustee—an immediate DOJ takeover of the APD
- We demand authentic citizen oversight of APD that includes the authority over hiring and firing for APD leadership and officers
- We demand the arrest of the two APD officers who shot and killed James Boyd
- We demand the immediate termination of Chief Eden
- We demand indictments of all officers guilty of violating human rights
- We demand the demilitarization of APD
- We demand an increase of funding for social services (substance abuse prevention and treatment, preventing or abolishing homelessness, an acknowledged right of all for housing/shelter, and the right to the city)
- We demand a new and vigorous investigation of APD hiring practices.
- We demand that the access to deadly weapons by APD officers be dramatically reduced
- We demand authentic community policing that puts positive police-community relationship ahead of violent confrontation.
- We demand a non-police emergency response of trained mental health professionals and unarmed negotiators to ALL encounters that include the possible use of deadly force.
- We call upon those police officers who recognize the problem of police violence to publicly support these demands.
- We demand that the city council adopt the Police Oversight Task Force’s recommendations for police oversight immediately and without amendment or alteration
- We demand immediate, rigorous and ongoing medical evaluation of all APD officers to determine their mental fitness to carry a weapon and serve as a police officer.
While New Mexico has no statute on citizen’s arrest, New Mexico courts acknowledge the Common Law concept of citizen’s arrest, and have ruled that a person can detain another person when there is at least probable cause to believe that the person has committed a felony-level crime or a breach of the peace in his presence. The requirement of presence is extended to included evidence, such as video evidence, that gives the arrestor what the courts have called “a reasonable subjective belief that such a crime had been committed.” Therefore, in addition to the demands, the Albuquerque Task Force for Public Safety, noting the long refusal of the office of District Attorney to indict officers or agents of APD or the elected officials who oversee APD, has issued warrants for the arrest of Mayor Richard Berry, Chief of Police Gordon Eden, and the officers who shot and killed James Boyd, Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez.