One of the New Mexico officers who fatally shot a homeless man accused of illegally camping is facing renewed scrutiny after allegedly saying he was going to shoot that "fucking lunatic" in the penis just two hours before the incident.
Last March, 38-year-old James Boyd was confronted by three gun-wielding officers in the Albuquerque foothills who were attempting to remove him from the area.
In helmet camera footage released by the Albuquerque Police Department, authorities can be seen throwing a flash-bang at Boyd. The suspect then appears to take out a knife, at which point officers Dominique Perez and Keith Sandy fire multiple rounds into the homeless man. The officers can then be seen shooting him with bean bag rounds before releasing a K9 unit on him as he lays motionless on the ground.
WARNING: This video may be disturbing to some
In a newly released dashboard audio recording obtained by KOB4, officer Keith Sandy can be heard dismissing Boyd as a "fucking lunatic" and threatening to shoot the man in the penis with a shotgun just two hours before the deadly confrontation.
In an interview with the station, civil rights attorney Shannon Kennedy -- who is representing Boyd's family in a wrongful death suit -- said the fatal shooting of Boyd may have been premeditated.
“It's chilling evidence and stunning that he has not been criminally indicted," Kennedy said of Sandy. "He says to a state police officer ‘that f'ing lunatic, I'm going to shoot him in the penis. It's crystal clear and he says it with contempt in his voice.’”
In an internal memo obtained by KOB4, investigators asked Sandy about his comments.
"Jokingly, just kind of locker room banter, just told him, you know, 'Don't worry. I'll shoot him in the pecker with this and call it good," Sandy said.
Only minutes later, Sandy then recanted his statement, saying he didn't think he said that, according to the station.
This isn't the first time Sandy and the department have faced criticism. In 2007, Sandy was fired from the New Mexico State police over accusations of fraud, KRQE reported. He then joined the Albuquerque Police Department. His rise through the ranks, however, has come at a time that the APB has been under Department of Justice review.
Since 2012, APB officers have shot 25 suspects, resulting in 17 fatalities.
Since 2010, Albuquerque police have shot more people than the NYPD, even though the NYPD is a much larger law enforcement agency, serving a city 16 times as large, according to a statement by ProgressNow, a grassroots advocacy group.
Repeated requests by KOB4 to speak with APD Chief Gorden Eden about the new audio went unanswered. The department later issued a statement saying that Sandy had actually said he was "going to shoot [Boyd] with a Taser shotgun in a second."
The case remains under FBI investigation, Eden said in a prepared statement on Monday. Officer Sandy continues to be placed on paid administrative leave.