Gruesome Video Shows Albuquerque Police Killing a Homeless Man

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 20 2014 5:20 PM

Gruesome Video Shows Albuquerque Police Killing a Homeless Man

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Special operation policemen in August 2008.

Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

The horrific killing of a homeless man by Albuquerque police officers in March was captured on video. CNN conducted an investigation into the affair on its show Erin Burnett Outfront, speaking to authorities and family members of victims of police shootings in New Mexico's largest city. Burnett reported that such shootings are high in Albuquerque, even when compared to bigger cities like New York and Chicago. 

In the video the victim, James Boyd, can be seen attempting to camp out because city homeless shelters had closed. Officers shot Boyd, who had a history of mental illness, after trying to negotiate with him. According to CNN, encounters like these are “routinely recorded as part of police protocol." In April, police killed 19-year-old Mary Hawkes who was suspected of auto theft. There have been at least 25-officer-related shootings since 2010, 17 were fatal. And the trend incited a series of protests earlier this year.

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An investigation conducted by the US Department of Justice revealed "deficiencies" in the Albuquerque Police Department, including "inadequate training" and "insufficient oversight." 

"We have reasonable cause to believe that APD engages in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment," it said.

You can watch the video below (please be advised that it contains graphic images):

Irene Chidinma Nwoye is a writer and former Slate intern in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.