Video: Footage reveals APD efforts to negotiate in deadly foothills shooting
New videos show negotiations with officers attempting to get James Boyd to leave his campground slowly deteriorated over the course of three hours
By Patrick Lohmann
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Videos released by Albuquerque police Tuesday show negotiations with officers attempting to get James Boyd to leave his campground slowly deteriorated over the course of three hours.
Several different officers tried their hand at negotiating with 38-year-old Boyd, including a K-9 officer, a State Police officer, an officer with crisis intervention training and open space officers who made the initial contact with Boyd, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Through it all, he insisted that he was a high-ranking Department of Defense employee, that his presence in the Sandia foothills was legal, and that he needed his knives as much as officers needed their guns.
But the impasse continued for several hours, and officers could be heard expressing their frustration at the hourslong standoff on a Sunday evening in March. One officer could be heard telling Boyd, "You're not Department of Defense," which apparently prompted Boyd to raise his knives. "I know you might think you are, boss, but you aren't."
Other officers tried to get information from him, including about his past employment, upbringing and medical issues. After finally getting his name -- Boyd had told officers to address him as "Ba," his nickname — they contacted dispatch to learn about his criminal history and mental illness diagnosis.
Boyd had asserted that police did not have the authority to arrest him, according to the videos. He also threatened to kill officers several times, saying he was military trained. He did not respond to officers when they asked if he had a gun in his belongings.
They offered him a week's stay at a hotel, tried to usher him to another part of the wilderness where camping was legal, and promised him a meal at Denny's. Boyd at times seemed receptive to the offers until officers demanded he set down his knives, which Boyd would refuse, resetting the negotiations.
It's not entirely clear from the videos what agreement they finally reached with Boyd. He ultimately stuffed the two small knives he was holding into his pockets, grabbed his backpack and decided to try to walk down the slope in the foothills.
That's when an officer threw a flash grenade and other officers shot him with live rounds, beanbags and Taser rounds and set loose a police dog upon him.
Officers had discussed using a flash bang when he began to walk down the hill, and one officer could be heard whispering to the K-9 officer who handled the majority of the negotiations that officers should "bang him" when he started walking down the hill.
Officers did mention several times that they had "a plan" for getting Boyd into custody and they called in a Taser shotgun and other less-lethal options before Boyd began walking down the hill.
Officers were then seen trying to resuscitate Boyd, imploring him to breathe, and making sure he was no longer armed. He died the next day at the hospital.
The Boyd shooting prompted national and international outcry when officer Dominique Perez's video of the confrontation went viral on the Internet.
Officer Keith Sandy was the other officer who shot at Boyd, though investigators were unable to retrieve video from his camera.
Police would not say whether that's because the device malfunctioned or if Sandy failed to turn it on.
Vigil Planned For Homeless Camper
A multi-faith service and vigil is planned Sunday to commemorate three months since homeless camper James Boyd was shot and killed by Albuquerque police.
The event starts at 7 p.m. near the Copper Trailhead east of Tramway.
Organizer David Correia said clergy from churches throughout the city, family members of people killed by Albuquerque police and other community activists organized the ceremony.
He said Boyd's mother, Barbara Jones, and his bother, Andrew Jones, are in Albuquerque and plan on attending the service.
Copyright 2014 the Albuquerque Journal