Albuquerque cops assault and kill camping homeless man

Video shows officers assaulting and then killing a mentally ill man who was illegally camping

Published March 24, 2014 3:27PM (EDT)

 Police fire flashbang grenades at James Boyd as he cooperates     (ProgressNow)
Police fire flashbang grenades at James Boyd as he cooperates (ProgressNow)

A video showing Albuquerque cops assaulting, shooting and killing a mentally ill homeless man who was illegally camping has sparked outrage and calls for greater oversight of the consistently brutal police department.

ProgressNow, a New Mexico-based progressive advocacy group, noted that while "Albuquerque’s new police chief, Gordon Eden, announced Friday that he had determined officers who shot and killed a homeless camper on city property on March 16 were justified in their actions ... a video from the scene released by the department on the same day shows officers negotiating a peaceful surrender with the subject, then attacking him with a flashbang grenade as he walks towards them on their command."

When 38-year-old James Boyd then retreated from the bombardment, he was shot with live rounds and later died. The killing is just the latest in a series of incidents of police brutality perpetrated by the Albuquerque department. As ProgressNow reported:

The Albuquerque Police Department has been under federal review by the U.S. Department of Justice since 2012 when the agency’s record of shooting 25 suspect – 17 fatal – garnered national attention. The department has added 11 more shootings to that list since the end of 2012. Albuquerque officers have shot more persons than the NYPD, a department serving a city 16-times larger, since 2010.

Excerpts from the video of the assault and shooting of Boyd can be viewed below. (Warning: Graphic).

By Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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Albuquerque Camping Ftp Homeless Killing Mentally Ill New Mexico Police Brutality Police Shooting Video