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    Two APD officers charged with murder of a schizophrenic homeless man

    Two Albuquerque Officers Charged with Murder of Homeless Camper (VIDEO)

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    Two Albuquerque, New Mexico police officers will be tried for the murder of James Boyd, a schizophrenic homeless man, whom they shot in early 2014. The charges come amid a rash of U.S. police officers evading criminal charges in the use of deadly force against civilians.

    The shooting in March sparked violent protests around the city which in turn prompted a federal investigation of the crime. 

    Protesters square off against police in protest for James Boyd
    Protesters square off against police in protest for James Boyd

    Second District Attorney Kari Bradenberg said SWAT team member Dominique Perez and former detective Keith Sandy will each face a single count of open murder, a charge which allows prosecutors to pursue either first-degree or second-degree charges, depending on evidence. 

    The two officers are currently on paid leave.

    The two officers were in “an hours long standoff” in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains with Boyd, who was holding a knife, according to police. A video from an officer’s body camera showed the incident.

    Sam Bregman, lawyer for Sandy, told The Associated Press that the decision was "unjustified" and that Sandy did nothing wrong. 

    "To the contrary, he followed his training and probably saved his fellow officer's life," Bregman said.

    Luis Robles, an attorney for Perez, said, "Sadly, this day has come. Regardless, I am confident that the facts will vindicate Officer Perez's actions in this case."

    The Boyd shooting is one of dozens of instances of police use of force in Albuquerque since 2010, and a federal investigation of the city revealed a pattern of excessive force, which it deemed to be mostly the result of insufficient training and ineffective policies, according to a letter to Albuquerque Mayor Richard Barry from the U.S. Justice Department.

    According to the Huffington Post, the Justice Department and the Albuquerque Police Department struck a deal in April in which both parties agreed that the department must completely overhaul their policies and training methods to mitigate any future cases of excessive force.

    Damon Martinez, the U.S. attorney for the district of New Mexico, said at a news conference that the agreement represents a new chapter for Albuquerque and will "ensure effective policing and build community trust for our police officers."

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