Tags: Albuquerque | police | homeless man

Family of Homeless Man Killed by Albuquerque Police to Get $5 Million

Friday, 10 July 2015 07:52 PM

By Joseph Kolb

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., July 10 (Reuters) - The city of Albuquerque has agreed to pay $5 million to the family of a homeless man shot to death by police last year in a mountainside encounter captured on video that prompted protests against excessive force by officers, officials said on Friday.

The payment settles a wrongful death lawsuit brought against the city by the family of James Boyd, a man described by relatives as mentally ill who was killed in March 2014 near his makeshift campsite after a four-hour standoff with police.

Two officers from the Albuquerque Police Department, Dominique Perez and Keith Sandy, were charged with second-degree murder in his death.

"The parties believe that this was the right time to reach a settlement," said Albuquerque City Attorney Jessica Hernandez. "We are hopeful that resolving this difficult and emotional case is a significant step in moving forward as a community."

Hernandez said city officials and the police department are committed to reform efforts already underway "including specialized training in managing situations involving mental health issues."

The settlement agreement comes amid a national debate over police use of force following a series of incidents involving fatal shootings by officers of unarmed suspects, often African Americans.

Boyd, 38, who was white, was accused of illegally camping and was armed with two small knives, local media said at the time. His brother filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family last year.

Boyd's death was recorded by a body camera worn by one of the Albuquerque officers, and the footage triggered street demonstrations.

The U.S. Justice Department has determined that the city's police department has used excessive, sometimes deadly, force against civilians. It is under federal monitoring.

Shannon Kennedy, the Boyd family's attorney, thanked the city for seeking a solution "to provide effective, compassionate and constitutional policing to our most vulnerable residents, especially those struggling with mental illness and homelessness."

For far too long, Kennedy said in a statement, the Albuquerque Police Department had fostered policies and practices that failed officers "and, in turn, the community." (Reporting by Joseph Kolb; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Will Dunham; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Will Dunham)

© 2018 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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Friday, 10 July 2015 07:52 PM
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