The Albuquerque Journal examines the life and death of James Boyd, a mentally ill man shot and killed by police in the New Mexico city last March 16 in what Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry has described as a “game changer” for the city’s police department. Officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez are facing murder charges, and the slaying has became a symbol for problems with both the Albuquerque police and the state's mental health system.
Boyd, 38 and homeless, was camping illegally in the Albuquerque foothills and was shot after he brandished two knives. Boyd was staying there because he was no longer welcome at many of the homeless shelters in Albuquerque due to his propensity for unprovoked violence. Twenty officers were at the scene when Boyd was shot, and they apparently were well aware of his history of violence. Among other things, he broke a police officer’s nose during an arrest in 2009.