The announcement comes the day after hundreds of protesters marched through downtown Albuquerque. The impetus behind the protest was a video of a shooting in the Albuquerque foothills where police shot a man who was illegally camping. The man had knives, but critics said shooting, and killing, the man was unwarranted.
It was the latest of dozens of incidents involving APD officers. Those have resulted in over $20 million in settlements from the city.
The Attorney General acknowledged that the investigation from his office is “a bit unusual.”
“I know it is a bit unusual, but in this case it seems warranted to let the public know that the Attorney General’s Office is as concerned as they are about the situation and I intend to do everything within my jurisdiction to see that a just result is reached in these cases,” said AG King. “We believe it is very important for an objective unbiased external assessment to be made in both shootings. We are also willing to collaborate with the federal authorities in any review they conduct.”
APD is already under investigation from the Department of Justice after the string of shootings and other use of force incidents.
There was another shooting late Tuesday night, just hours after the large protest. Police shot a man on Albuquerque’s Westside. Albuquerque police chief Gordon Eden told reporters the man had shot at police officers.
The man died at the hospital earlier this morning.
But it was lapel camera video from police officers of the shooting of the illegal camper, James M. Boyd, that prompted such a large public outcry and public protest.
The Albuquerque Journal described the graphic video:
A flash-bang device is thrown at Boyd’s feet, disorienting him. Officers yell at him to get on the ground, and a dog and officer approach him. Boyd takes two knives out of his pockets and appears to wave them. Then Boyd starts turning away from the officers. That’s when shots ring out and he hits the ground. Officers continue to yell at him to drop the knives. “Please don’t hurt me anymore. I can’t move,” Boyd says as he lies on the ground.
Officers fire bean-bag rounds at him as he’s on the ground, then let loose a police dog, which grabs his leg and shakes it. He doesn’t move. Then officers approach and cuff him, blood on the rock above him. He died the next day at the hospital.
Eden initially said that the shooting was justified, but backed off those claims after Albuquerque mayor Richard Berry said his remarks came too soon.
The shooting on Tuesday night was the 23rd time since the beiginning of 2010 that Albuquerque police officers have shot and killed someone in Albuquerque.