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Jury Won't Convict Cops For Killing Homeless Man (Video)

The jury trial of former police officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez ended in a mistrial in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Oct. 11 (video below).

Sandy and Perez were charged with the second-degree murder of a mentally ill homeless man, James Boyd, whom they killed on March 16, 2014, notes The Associated Press.

Nine jurors voted to acquit, while three voted to convict after more than two days of deliberations. Judge Alisa Hadfield ruled the case a mistrial after jurors remained deadlocked.

The courtroom was quiet after the ruling; Albuquerque police union members patted shoulders and hugged each other.

During a four-hour stand off with Boyd, 19 police officers armed with rifles, flash grenades, stun guns and a police dog surrounded the homeless man over complaints that he was acting oddly on a remote hillside where he had set up an illegal campsite.

In a police body cam video, Boyd appears to be cooperating with officers, telling them that he doesn't want to harm them. He gathers his belongings and begins to walk down the hillside, when an officer says, "Do it," and another officer fires a flash bang grenade.

Several other officers rush Boyd with their guns drawn and yell, "Get on the ground!" A police service dog rushes toward Boyd and then retreats back to its K-9 handler. Boyd appears to turn away as he is shot multiple times.

According to the officers, they fired their guns because Boyd had two pocket knives, and they thought he was a deadly threat to the K-9 handler who lost control of the dog.

The Albuquerque Journal reported in September 2014 that hours before the fatal shooting, Sandy was caught on New Mexico State Police Sgt. Chris Ware's dash cam video saying that Boyd was a "f----- lunatic," and that he was going to shoot Boyd with some kind of shotgun.

Ware originally told investigators that he didn't recall what Sandy had stated, but after listening to the audio, Ware said that Sandy was referring to a Taser shotgun.

According to Special Prosecutor Randi McGinn, the district attorney in Albuquerque will have to decide if there will be another trial, reports the AP.

Raul Torrez, who doesn't have any opponents in the upcoming district attorney election in November, will likely take office in January 2017.

Torrez will have to make the decision about a retrial, but cautioned in a written statement that he doesn't want rush things in the two-year-old case: "This is an extremely important case for our community, and we must not rush a decision about how best to proceed."

The City of Albuquerque and the Albuquerque Police Department made their decision in July 2015 to pay a $5 million settlement to Boyd's family over the fatal shooting, noted Court Chatter.

The Albuquerque Police Department was investigated by the U.S. Justice Department for more than 20 deadly police shootings between 2010 and 2014, reports the AP.

Andrew Jones, Boyd's brother, said in a statement through his lawyer: "His life mattered. And we very much appreciate that the officers had to publicly answer for killing him."


Sources: AP via ABC News, Court ChatterAlbuquerque Journal / Photo credit: Albuquerque Police Department via YouTube

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