“Since January, the civic drama has featured dueling investigations and mutual accusations of wrongdoing, but at its heart is the city’s record on fatal police shootings: 28 people have been shot to death by Albuquerque police over the last five years, a per capita rate eight times that of New York.
The shootings have sparked protests across the city, and a U.S. Justice Department report in 2014 found excessive deadly force and “broken” oversight at the Police Department. But not a single officer had been charged in a shooting during the last 50 years, according to the Albuquerque Journal, and certainly none during the 14 years Brandenburg has held office.
That changed Jan. 12, when Brandenburg said she was filing murder charges against Officer Dominique Perez and recently retired Det. Keith Sandy in the March 2014 death of the homeless man, James Boyd, who had been illegally camping in the scrubby foothills on the eastern edge of town.
Officials said Boyd had wielded two knives, but a police video of the incident shared widely online showed he’d taken them out of his pocket only after one of the dozens of police officers confronting him at his campsite fired a stun grenade and another officer unleashed a police dog. Still, Boyd appeared in the video to be turning away as officers fired six shots. He quickly collapsed.
“Please don’t hurt me anymore,” Boyd says in the video.
Brandenburg had long been considered a friend of the Police Department — her father, Jim Brandenburg, served as district attorney for four years and chief trial attorney for eight years before that in the 1960s. She grew up with police officers coming to her home at all hours of the night seeking warrants — “strong, tall, they looked like heroes,” she recalls.
Brandenburg had never found criminal culpability on the part of the police, unlike Justice Department findings that the majority of 20 deadly police shootings in the city from 2009 to 2012 were unconstitutional and often involved people who were, like Boyd, mentally ill and in “crisis.”
Wow, 20 “Unconstitutional” shootings in 3 years. Talk about protecting and serving the hell out of your community. Then to top it off they start an investigation of the DA to halt any murder charges.
Sounds like someone needs to de-charter their police Dept.