The “Bounty” Police Force? Albuquerque Officers Face Protests, Probe over Spate of Fatal Shootings
1 April, 2014 – Democracy Now
Outrage is growing in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after the latest incident in a spate of police shootings. Video footage captured by a police helmet camera shows officers killing James Boyd, a homeless man who appeared to be surrendering to them at a campsite where he was sleeping. Boyd is seen picking up his belongings and turning away when officers deploy a flash grenade and then fire six live rounds at him from yards away. The Albuquerque Police Department has come under federal scrutiny for being involved in 37 shootings since 2010, 23 of them fatal. This week the FBI confirmed it is investigating the killing of Boyd, and the Justice Department has already been investigating the city’s police shootings for more than a year. We are joined by Russell Contreras, an Associated Press reporter who was tear-gassed while covering the Sunday protest and has been following the police shootings. We also speak to Nora Tachias-Anaya, a social justice activist whose nephew, George Levy Tachias, was fatally shot by police while driving in Albuquerque in 1988. Tachias-Anaya is a member of the October 22 Coalition To Stop Police Brutality.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
RENÉE FELTZ: We begin today’s show in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where hundreds marched over the weekend to protest a spate of deadly police shootings. The march began peacefully, lasting at least eight hours, and ended when police fired tear gas at demonstrators who blocked traffic. Albuquerque has one of the highest per capita rates of fatal police shootings in the country. In the latest incident, police killed a homeless man named James Boyd, who appeared to be surrendering to them at a campsite where he was sleeping.
AMY GOODMAN: Video from a police helmet camera shows Boyd picking up his belongings and turning away from the police, when the officers deploy a flash grenade and fire six live shots at Boyd from yards away. That’s after he picked up his belongings and appeared to turn away. Police fired beanbags and let loose a police dog on Boyd as he lay on the ground, still alive, pleading with officers not to hurt him and saying he could not move.
This is a clip from the Albuquerque police video of their encounter with James Boyd. Boyd died from his injuries the next day. After footage of the police shooting him went viral, the hacker group Anonymous called on people in Albuquerque to protest.
ANONYMOUS: Recently, a video has been released to the public which shows Albuquerque police officers murdering a man in cold blood for illegally camping. This man, which was schizophrenic, obviously had no intention of hurting these police officers. On the contrary, this man looks as if he is simply attempting to protect himself from visually fierce, militarized thugs. Whether this man had a history of crime is irrelevant. We drastically need to address the growing police state that has occupied our country. When will we say, “No more”? How many more citizens will be murdered? Naturally, the APD will attempt to label Anonymous as a terrorist organization for our demands of justice. But the question has to be asked: Who do we terrorize? Is it not the growing police state that terrorizes its own citizens?
AMY GOODMAN: On Sunday, Anonymous claimed responsibility for taking down the Albuquerque Police Department’s website for several hours.
The police department has come under federal scrutiny for being involved in 37 shootings since 2010, 23 of them fatal. This week, the FBI confirmed it’s investigating the killing of James Boyd, and the Justice Department has already been investigating the city’s police shootings for more than a year. …more