ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Officers fired six shots at a man who was killed in the Sandia foothills Sunday after he refused to drop his knives and made threatening moves during a standoff with police, Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden said Friday.
Speaking to reporters during a press conference, Eden said two officers fired three shots each after James M. Boyd, 38, threatened to kill officers and held onto knives as an unarmed K-9 officer approached him.
A police helmet camera video released Friday showed Boyd turning away as officers unloaded with beanbags, stun guns and live rounds. In another video, officers can be heard yelling at Boyd to “drop the knife,” and Boyd gives angry, vulgar responses during the lengthy standoff.
Boyd, who police say had a lengthy criminal record, later died. However, Eden said the medical examiner has not yet determined if the bullets killed Boyd.
Eden said police responding to a suspicious-person call found Boyd sleeping at what looked like an illegal makeshift camp. Eden said Boyd later claimed to be a federal agent and demanded to see officers with New Mexico State Police, who he also threatened to kill.
“The officers were attempting to affect a felony arrest using less-than lethal weapons, including a distractive device, K9, and a Taser shotgun,” Eden said.
Authorities said Boyd threatened to kill a Crisis Intervention Team officer called to the scene.
When Boyd refused to follow police orders and an unarmed K9 officer got close to him, officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez shot toward Boyd, Eden said.
The helmet video camera showed an injured Boyd with two 5-inch knives in his hand when officers surrounded and handcuffed him.
“The suspect did in fact make a decision not to follow the directions that (were) provided to him by the officers,” Eden said. “On many occasions he said that he was not going to come off that mountain.”
Asked if he thought the officers’ actions were justified, Eden said yes.
According to a video of the shooting obtained by the Albuquerque Journal, half a dozen officers appeared to be standing about 20 feet away from the man while shouting “Get on the ground!” Then an initial burst of gunfire rang out.
Eden said many of Boyd’s prior arrests were for violent crimes, including a December 2010 arrest on charges he punched a female officer and fractured her nose at a city library.
The shooting comes as Albuquerque police is under a U.S. Justice Department investigation over excessive force and three dozen police shootings since 2010.
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