Hundreds of Albuquerque, N.M. residents took to the streets on Tuesday to voice their outrage over the fatal shooting of an unarmed homeless man by police.
Protesters and activists also used the hashtag of the homeless man’s name #JamesBoyd on Twitter to encourage community members to get involved and to call for a full investigation into the Albuquerque Police Department’s recorded confrontation.
A helmet camera captured [warning: graphic footage] the final moments of a three-hour standoff between James Boyd, who was camped in an unauthorized area of the city’s foothills, and Albuquerque police, who tried to remove him. After Boyd appeared to surrender by picking up his belongings, an officer fired a shot from a stun grenade, prompting Boyd to draw his knife. The officers then fired several shots. Boyd later died from his injuries.
Many residents spoke out against what they say was excessive force by police. The APD has been the subject of a federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice since 2012 for enforcement tactics that have resulted in more than $24 million in misconduct lawsuits shelled out to victims and their families. Since 2010, the department has shot 36 people, killing 23.
Public outcry over the shooting of James Boyd grew after police chief Gordon Eden implied during a press conference that the shooting was justified.
“Do I believe it was a justified shooting? Yes, if you follow case law, ‘Garner versus Tennessee,’ there was a directed threat to an officer,” he said.
One person shared resources on how to hold the city and APD accountable:
— October Surprise (@roboticpressure) March 25, 2014
Another called on residents to withhold judgment until all of the facts are known.
Albuquerque City Council President Ken Sanchez has joined the call for an internal review and is requesting that James Boyd’s case be included in the Department of Justice’s investigation.