Police Abuse

Helmet Video of Albuquerque Cops Shooting Homeless Man Sparks Outrage Across New Mexico

|

shot by cops
YouTube

Albuquerque, New Mexico, police described James Boyd, the homeless camper who was fatally shot during a stand-off over illegally camping in a public space while he appeared to be turning away, as a mentally disturbed man with a violent 20-year criminal history. The police alleged he had previously threatened officers, that he was reaching for a knife, that a K-9 officer was in danger and that Boyd was mentally disturbed the day the police shot him. A few years ago, that might've been the end of the story. But the shooting was caught by police helmet cams (video at bottom), and has sparked outrage across New Mexico. The Albuquerque police only began to wear cameras in 2012, the same year those officers came under Department of Justice review and in which they fatally shot 17 people. Via the Associated Press:

A protest Tuesday evening in downtown Albuquerque drew a crowd from around the city and Santa Fe. Some chanted "We want justice," while others held signs that read "APD is guilty" as they marched for a few blocks to police headquarters. The demonstrators filled the streets, blocking traffic as they went.

"I think the helmet cam has a lot to do with it," said Hans Erickson, vice chair of the [police oversight] task force. "It's so important for us to have as much information on these kinds of shootings as we can."

Erickson said the footage allows the public to see what happened without having to rely solely on accounts of police and witnesses.

The task force has demanded an independent investigation into the shooting, while the mayor of Albuquerque called what appeared on tape "horrific." Democrats in the State Senate also, the A.P. reports, took note. Those interested enough blame a lack of training. State Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez (D-29) called it "shameful" that officers weren't being prepared to "handle all situations that come their way," apparently shifting the blame from officers who might act inappropriately to the agencies that pay them, often handsomely. "Unfortunately," he added, "it is at the expense of precious lives."

Ronald Bailey made the case for mandatory police cameras last year. A PoliceOne list of tips for cops to beat civil and criminal complaints also stresses the importance of video evidence. Even videos by bystanders not interfering with a cop's duties "should actually be welcomed." The police instructor who wrote those tips also adds: "You should act as if you were being recorded all the time, and should a lawsuit or complaint come up, have access to that video." Maybe he should have also mentioned that trying to gain access to video by seizing cellphones could itself lead to a lawsuit.

Watch the video of the Boyd shooting below:

NEXT: John Stossel on How FDA Bullies Harm Americans

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The cops who beat Kelly Thomas to death knew they were on camera, and they didn’t care. Why? Because they knew there would be no consequences for their act of murder.

    Same with these murderers. They don’t care because they know nothing else will happen.

    1. Only if the Albuquerque DA can move the case to Orange County, California for trial.

    2. It’s not murder if they wear special costumes and get special permission from special people in a special building somewhere. None of the moral rules apply you see.

  2. I learned my lesson from the last time. I’m not watching that.

    1. Excellent choice, dammit. 8-(

    2. Yeah it’s truly awful. They shot him at least once already and he falls limp to the ground. The soldiers ordered him to stand up, he yells that he can’t move and they then proceed to use more of that ‘non-lethal’ force, killing him for the justifiable reason of having been already grievously wounded and paralyzed by their bullets.

      One more murder to show us why these political institutions of crime have no right to rule over free people or to exist at all.

  3. “I think the helmet cam has a lot to do with it,” said Hans Erickson, vice chair of the [police oversight] task force.

    I’m certain that will be the last time that any incriminating video will survive “routine maintenance of the equipment.”

    Baboons with guns. Apologies to the actual baboons.

    1. It’s only incriminating if there are consequences. There will be no consequences.

      1. costume. rules is rules.

  4. Speaking of recording the little piggies in blue, does anyone know of any device/hardware that can easily be installed in your car to record the cops should you be pulled over?

    1. Every car in Russia has a dash cam. They can’t be that expensive.

      1. A little “Meanwhile in Russia” to lighten the mood.

        1. Bait-and-switch.

    2. You mean something like this?

    3. just google dash cam for sale and a million will show up

    4. Mount your smart phone on teh dash and download the bambuser app. Bambuser will upload your video to the cloud in real time, so if the fucker decides to destroy or confiscate your phone, the video will live on.

  5. What the f—ing f—? I think my jaw has perma-dropped.

  6. Considering vacationing in New Mexico this spring, but not after watching this.

    1. Yeah. What the hell is up with New Mexico? Seems like their cops have been supplying a lot of nut punch articles lately.

    2. Yeah. Crossed that state off the list after the police abuse of an anus article.

  7. I can’t imagine anyone looking more harmless or cooperative. Why the fuck would they throw a flashbang when he was doing as told? Is it some kind of a joke to put a growling dog at his feet, then order him to the ground?

    Then he does the obvious thing, turns away from the snarling dog, so they kill him.

    1. Not only that, but after being shot and on the ground, the mere act of involuntary twitching from the pain of, I don’t know… being shot in the fucking back, was apparantly sufficient cause to fire a few more shots into his soon to be corpse.

      Absolutely fucking rage-inducing level of disgust building in me right now.

    2. I can’t imagine anyone looking more harmless or cooperative.

      Not to get all Tulpa-y but the about-to-be murdered hobo has a knife in each hand

      1. about-to-be murdered hobo has a knife in each hand

        Does he? I couldn’t make it out.

      2. 1. Did’t see any knives.

        2. So what if he did? They had assault rifles.

        3. I didn’t see a hint of resistance until they sent a dog to bite his balls off.

      3. While I saw a knife in one hand (a small one at that, and only visible in the vide when they literally pry it from his cold dead hand), it’s worth noting that even two shitty little knives weilded by a camping vagrant is of little threat 20 paces away from four heavily armed officers, including at least one better equipped than the average US Army soldier.

        There is absolutely no reason in that situation for an office to believe he or the general public is in any imminent danger.

        1. The point is not the threat. The point is that “brandishing” a knife, regardless of its size, is a “I get to kill a guy free” card. The intense erotic desire that the average cop has for the chance to kill someone is similar to Jeffery Dahmer’s or some other sexual psychopath. Just thing of the rush of endorphins each of them felt as the exercised the ultimate power over someone, the power to end their life.

          1. As a Marine, I was in similar situations with actual Iraqi soldiers. We (Infantry Marines who are supposed to be hard-core gung-ho killers) could have gunned them down and never faced any consequences.

            We never did.

            1. That’s because the Marines have a warrior ethos of honor and esprit d’ corps. Furthermore, Marines have actually had to face courts-martial for such stuff. The police look around and see slap after slap on the wrist.

              1. If I got an extra two-weeks paid vacation at my job everytime I killed someone, I’d be racking up Stalin level body counts.

                In a way, I have to commend their restraint.

              2. Agreed – additionally the military is taught constantly that “following orders” will not keep you out of jail.

                So in addition to having an ethos, they are taught that they are directly responsible for their actions.

                & while here – they are actually trained shooters too.

        2. Exactly. It’s all that bullshit about the “20 foot rule* and other such mall ninja nonsense.

          He’s 20 feet away, you have a rifle trained on him, and the ground between you is rocky. Oh, and the guy with the knife doesn’t look like he can cover ground that fast.

          1. “BUT BUT BUT HE’Z GOTZ TEH HI GROUND!1!1
            !”

          2. He was getting ready to use the Erhlenmeyer technique.

      4. I saw a knife in one hand near the end however he clearly didn’t have a knife when he was carrying his bags that he dropped when he was shot with the bean bags. So in this case the man was in his right to try and protect himself after being shot while cooperating.

      5. Not until they hit him with a flashbang.

        1. ^This^. Am I not the only person who thought he was calmly coming down the hill with his stuff when out of nowhere explodes a flashbang grenade and everyone starts acting likes he’s about to attack someone. Absolutely insane. I couldn’t get past 1:18, when the military style non-sense was too much….way too much.

  8. Beanbags for a piece of the GLORY.

  9. What pisses me off about this kind of shit is that they don’t make any effort to communicate clearly. I especially have a real issue with the use of weapons with no warning whatsoever. It looked to me like the guy was grabbing his meager belongings to move off the land the cops said he couldn’t be on.

    Especially fuck this whole “he has a weapon” bullshit. This is America. We have the right to carry weapons. Carrying a weapon is not a crime. Talking to a cop while carrying a weapon is not a crime either.

    Fuck I am shaking with rage right now. Fuck these cops.

    1. True, but you can’t brandish a weapon casually, either gun or knife. Everything else you said was right on.

      1. Actually, from my perspective he had grabbed his stuff and was slowly walking down the hill when flashbang grenade blew up in front of him and the dog was let loose….as far as I could tell, that’s when the knife came out….and it looked like he wanted to protect himself from dog, and nothing more. I wouldn’t say there was anything casual about any bit of this once the explosion occurred.

  10. Can’t you just see the bravery? These guys are courageous heroes. Every child should aspire to be like them.

  11. I guess it begins with the public. If they start changing the rhetoric from cops being ‘heroes’ to ‘murderers’ in cases like this, then maybe ‘nothing else happens’ can end.

    Is it me or is Bailey getting to comfortable with the word ‘mandatory?’

  12. Does law enforcement culture convert them into sociopaths or are they born that way and then naturally drawn to the position of power?

    1. We need a Reason volunteer to take the training and report back.

      1. I’ll do it. Here in L.A., that’s practically a golden ticket to a lifetime of six figure prosperity for 36 hour work weeks.

        I just need someone to install a small detonation device in my left ventricle so that if I ever turn into one of these monsters, you can end me before I kill someone innocent.

  13. that a K-9 officer was in danger

    There is no such thing as a “K-9 officer”; there are only vicious dogs, trained to kill, whose leashes are held by psychopaths. Just as we didn’t put the German Shepherds in Nazi death camps on trial for war crimes, these animals do not undergo anthropomorphization just because they are owned by a barely literate, slope-browed, hyper-violent ape-man in a blue or tan uniform.

    1. Glad I’m not the only one.

      They seem to think that a trained attack dog is the same as a human officer.
      I get that people get attached to dogs, but no human’s life is worth less than any dog’s.

      1. In all fairness, I think the shooting cop(if you want to call a man suited with more body armor and munitions capacity than a Seal Team 6 member a mere cop) has a life worth far less than that dog.

        The dog follows instinct and training. The cop (in theory) should be capable of human empathy, discretion, and risk assessment.

      2. but no human’s life is worth less than any dog’s.

        Hell no. I can think of dozens of people who deserve death more than any dog I’ve ever known.

        1. Well, if you exclude congress or your local police department, Zeb’s point stands.

          1. Plus bureaucrats and federal agents.

        2. Maybe I’m a bad person, but there’s definitely people I would shoot before I’d shoot one of my dogs.

    2. this comment restores my faith in a small sliver of humanity.

    3. The “K-9 Officer” is the handler, not the K-9.

      1. Usually, but when they are agitating for laws to make killing a K-9 equivalent to murdering a cop, they refer to them as “officers”.

      2. Are you sure, SIV? Because I’ve seen the dogs routinely referred to as K-9 officers.

        1. SIV is wrong

    4. What they do to shepherds really pisses me off. I’m on my second GSD. She’s 14-months old and as sweet as the kitties she plays with.

      1. Yeah.. well my dad’s german shepherd is fine with cats but he likes to kill livestock and bite strangers…

  14. a K-9 officer was in danger

    You mean a fucking dog? Fuck the dog. It’s bad enough that a perceived threat to a police officer is reason to kill. No way anyone should get shot for threatening a fucking dog.

    1. Wonder how the law would take it if I sent my dog to attack somebody, then shot him dead if he didn’t take his mauling passively enough?

    2. I’ll allow medals for war dogs, who have actually saved soldiers’ lives with their heroism, while at the same time recognizing the inherent cuteness/humor in doing so.

      1. Along the same principle, dogs who are especially cool should be given sunglasses and hats.

        1. dogs who are especially cool should be given sunglasses and hats

          Yes, they should.

  15. If I were staffing an American SS, I’d start recruiting from local police departments.

    1. Larger city cops (like Albuquerque) and Federal Agencies would be the places to hunt for real psychopaths. I’ve seen too many rural and local suburban cops / deputies who still act like human beings.

      1. Good point, especially about the agencies.

  16. I don’t understand anything that happens in that video. If it were a fictional piece of anti-cop propaganda, I’d say it’s badly written and unfair to cops. Nothing that we see makes any sense.

    1. Yeah seriously. It’s like when people say the villains in Atlas Shrugged are unrealistic and cartoonish, and then you open up the news and politicians are saying the same shit.

  17. Evidently if cops aren’t trained to NOT kill people they kill people. I guess they’ll have to institute a new course at the local police academy called ‘Modern Techniques in How To NOT Kill Citizens 2014’. Perfect course for the fucking dummy society hands a license to kill to.

  18. OK, let’s have some suggestions for making life a living hell for these “brave” LEOs. Without martyrdom of course. Fifty years ago, a bunch of us kids send in dozens and dozens of “bill me” magazine subscription forms using the address of some asshole teacher but that probably made the mailman’s life a living hell too.

    1. Elect a Mayor and city council who gives a shit? One who will fire and try to prosecute the cops? And will fire the Chief if he tries to protect them.

      1. The problem is that people seek out power to wield it, not to limit it.

        Many seek out the job of mayor and city council because they can (and do) treat the police like their private army.

    2. About 25 years ago, some guy would call where I worked (I was a receptionist) and he was a total asshole. So I signed him up on mailing lists for catalogs that I new would sell his name to other catalogs. I can’t remember his actual name, but it was effectively:

      John Smith, Cretan.

    3. Billboards. With the cop’s pictures. And suitably abusive text.

  19. I’m not watching this. I am just glad that there is a robust public reaction. People are waking up. Even if these officers get off scot-free, that won’t be changed.

  20. “You should act as if you were being recorded all the time, and should a lawsuit or complaint come up, have access to that video.”

    Here’s an idea. Act as if you are the employee and equal of the people in your community, and not part of some baboon army of occupation.

    Crazy, huh?

  21. I. Can’t. BELIEVE. What. I. Just. Watched.

    They didn’t even seem to call for ambulance. Isn’t that what you should do after you cuff someone. They guy lay motionless and they still proceeded to do whatever.

    I’m just stunned.

  22. I thought bean bags were supposed to be used in lieu of lethal force…not merely a way to check if the guy’s dead after the fact so you don’t have to get close enough to smell him.

  23. It’s sad that my first thought upon seeing this headline was: “At least they didn’t beat him to death this time.”

  24. The police alleged he had previously threatened officers,

    Irrelevant to whether he needed shooting right then and there.

    that he was reaching for a knife,

    If he was reaching for one, he didn’t have one, so that’s not good grounds for killing him. Plus, how do they know what he was reaching for?

    that a K-9 officer was in danger,

    If its not imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm, that doesn’t justify the shooting either. Even if the K-9 officer is a human being.

    and that Boyd was mentally disturbed the day the police shot him.

    Also not justification for killing someone. Geez, even if you take their official story at face value, it doesn’t add up to self-defense.

  25. These dickless wonders should by given 400 paper cuts apiece, dipped in alcohol, rubbed down with salt, then cast from an aircraft into the middle of a shark swarm.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.