Detective describes unraveling encounter in which man killed

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Posted: Aug 04, 2015 5:30 PM
Detective describes unraveling encounter in which man killed

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An Albuquerque, New Mexico, police detective testified Tuesday that an officer charged in the shooting death of a homeless man said the encounter began to unravel when the man held two knives and took a defensive stance.

Detective Geoff Stone, the lead investigator of the 2014 shooting, said then-Detective Keith Sandy, one of two defendants in the murder case, said he was called out to the incident and asked to bring his Taser.

Stone testified that he was told the homeless man, James Boyd, was acting erratically at a campsite, calling himself "da boss" and that he threw a sandwich and dinner roll at officers.

The roll landed near a police dog who tried to eat it, prompting Boyd to call out, "'Well he can have it. I got another one,'" Stone testified.

Stone said Sandy told him he felt officers were in danger because of their position near a hill and because Boyd refused to obey commands.

Sandy began devising a plan to use a flash bang and the dog to capture Boyd but it was not successful.

Boyd then placed knives in both hands at chest level and had a defensive posture, Sandy told Stone.

Officer Dominique Perez and Sandy, who has left the police force, are charged with murder in the case. Stone was testifying at a preliminary at which a judge will decide if the two defendants must stand trial.

Special prosecutor Randi McGinn questioned Stone about how he conducted the investigation.

McGinn also showed a video of the shooting that has not been released before.

The video was recorded by a nearby resident and appeared to be shot from a distance. It shows Boyd, wearing white, standing as police advance toward him while yelling commands.

About five shots are then heard, and Boyd collapses.

A previously released police video appears to show Boyd surrendering.

Defense attorney Luis Robles focused his questioning of Stone on how the day of the shooting unfolded.

Stone was asked about computer-aided dispatch reports that detail every report officers make while at the scene of an incident. Several reports mentioned that Boyd kept threatening to kill officers and refused to drop his knives, Stone said.

"Through the course of my investigation it did not seem that he was overtly surrendering, no," Stone said.

Boyd, who had schizophrenia, was shot in March 2014 during an hours-long standoff as police accused of him of camping illegally. Police say Boyd repeatedly threatened officers with two knives.

Attorneys for Perez and Sandy say the pair did nothing wrong. Prosecutors say the two unnecessarily escalated the encounter.