Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez announced Friday afternoon his office would not reopen the case against former Albuquerque Police Department officers Dominique Perez and Keith Sandy. The announcement came almost three months after Torrez took office and two months after he announced a special task force of prosecutors would review the case.
In a press conference Torrez said both the task force and two attorneys from his office came to the same conclusion—that there was no evidence to show that a new trial would result in a new outcome.
“There is no reason to believe the case against officers Sandy and Perez could be tried better or more exhaustively at a second trial or that a second jury could reach a different outcome than the first,” Torrez told reporters.
The decision to not prosecute signals the end to a nearly-two year legal battle. The two officers shot and killed homeless camper James Boyd in 2013. Former DA Kari Brandenburg announced her decision to charge Sandy and Perez with shooting and killing Boyd almost a year later.
After a district judge removed Brandenburg from the case because of an “appearance of conflict of interest,” special prosecutor Randi McGinn took over the case. Last year, the trial against the two officers ended in a mistrial when the jury could not agree on a verdict.
Torrez sent a message to members of the public who may disagree with his decision.
“I fully respect their right to disagree with this decision,” Torrez said. “The only thing I would ask is that if we’re really going to learn the lessons behind this tragedy we need to focus some of that energy on constructive change.”
Torrez said the “constructive change” he would like to see are improved relationships between community members and law enforcement and addressing behavioral health issues and homelessness more effectively.
When video of Boyd’s death were released, protests erupted in Albuquerque. Following the mistrial last year, demonstrators gathered on the courthouse steps in protest of the final outcome. The next day, dozens of protesters took to the streets and blocked traffic to protest the decision.