The city of Albuquerque is in for a hefty bill to pay for the wrongful death of a homeless man police killed in 2014.
Last Friday, attorneys for the family of James Boyd announced that the city agreed to a settlement payment of $5 million in a wrongful death lawsuit.
In March 2014, police surrounded and shot Boyd, an unarmed homeless man who had been camping illegally in the Sandia foothills. A video of the shooting went viral, leading to several protests in Albuquerque and plenty of national media coverage.
Still, Albuquerque Police Department Chief Gorden Eden’s initially responded that the shooting was justified.
The $5 million settlement marks one of the largest in city history.
It is the city’s third largest settlement over a police shooting following an $8-million payout after the death of Kenneth Ellis and $6 million after the death of Christopher Torres.
An attorney for Boyd’s family praised the settlement and the ensuing reform plan for APD instituted by the federal Department of Justice.
“Foremost, the family sought justice to ensure that what happened to Mr. Boyd never happens to anyone else, and they believe the city is taking necessary steps to ensure officers are provided adequate training, supervision, and support and Mr. Boyd’s videotaped shooting and excruciating death changes policing for the better in Albuquerque. The family hopes Albuquerque becomes a model for other cities struggling with the same issues across our country.”
City Attorney Jessica Hernandez also released a statement about the settlement.
“We are hopeful that resolving this difficult and emotional case is a significant step in moving forward as a community,” she said. “The City and the Department are committed to the reform efforts that are already underway, including specialized training in managing situations involving mental health issues.”
Fallout from the Boyd shooting likely won’t end here. Special prosecutor Randi McGinn is seeking second degree murder and manslaughter convictions against Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez, the two officers who shot Boyd.