An expert in police practices has testified that two Albuquerque officers violated their own training when they fatally shot a homeless man in 2014.
Shooting of James Boyd
On March 16, 2014, the Albuquerque Police Department was called to the Pierdra Vista area when neighbors noticed a suspicious man illegally camping in the foothills. The responding police officers found 38-year-old James Boyd, who was armed with knives and yelling angrily.
At one point, Boyd was walking down the hill and an officer set off a flash-bang grenade. The area was filled with smoke and a police dog rushed at Boyd. The officers yelled for Boyd to get on the ground and he reached into his pockets and pulled out what appeared to be two knives. Boyd was shot and killed during this standoff. Boyd was shot by stun gun, bean bag, and assault rifle rounds during the standoff. The lethal shots came from Officer Dominique Perez and Officer Keith Sandy.
Officers Perez and Sandy were charged with second-degree murder in connection with Boyd’s death. Perez was later dismissed from the Albuquerque Police Department. Sandy retired.
Attorney for Perez, Luis Robles has commented that charging these officers with murder will have a negative impact on the police department, “If you’re second-guessed every time you make a decision, and you might find yourself criminally charged, and if you second-guess yourself and you don’t take action, you might find yourself in a very dire predicament where you’re fighting for your life… I think everyone thought that by essentially going after (APD) you were going to make things better. Be careful what you ask for. If you break your police department, you will have that broken police department to protect you. And that’s a really unfortunate place to be when you need their help in a situation where you can’t help yourself.”
Trial for Murder
At the officers’ trial, special prosecutor Randi McGinn argued that the police officers created a dangerous situation during the standoff that led to the standoff. McGinn called police expert Jeffrey Noble to testify.
Noble testified that the police officers violated their training by shooting Boyd. Noble said that the officers had a plan to get Boyd to surrender. When that plan failed, the officers had the opportunity to reassess the situation and create distance between themselves and Boyd, but they failed to do so. Noble also said that the knives that Boyd had did not possess an immediate threat when he was shot.
Expert Witness Jeffrey Noble
Jeffrey Noble has 28 years of experience as a police officer, including his time serving as the Deputy Chief of Police of the Irvine Police Department. After his retirement from the Irvine Police Department, Noble served as a temporary Deputy Chief of Police for the Westminster, CA Police department where he facilitated the efforts of an independent oversight official, reviewed department policies and procedures, conducted department audits, and provided management and leadership to the department.
Noble has been retained as a police expert in over 100 cases in California, Texas, Washington, Florida, Georgia, Colorado, Oklahoma, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, South Carolina, Tennessee, New York, Illinois, Arkansas, Idaho and Louisiana.