ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A group of well-known Albuquerque Police Department critics crashed the mayor’s office Tuesday, Feb. 28, to protest an officer who was fired and rehired after the notorious shooting of a homeless man in the foothills. They’re upset that Dominique Perez is working with the SWAT team.

It was tense at the mayor’s office as four or five protesters camped out in the lobby waiting to ask why Dominique Perez, one of the APD officers fired after murder charges were filed in the shooting death of homeless man James Boyd in 2014, still has a job. 

The shooting sparked protests and the firing of swat team members Perez and Keith Sandy. But Perez was reinstated under Mayor R.J. Berry in 2017 after his murder trial ended in a hung jury. Activist Andres Valdez said, “it’s very strange that Mr. Dominique Perez was even…re-hired in the first place. He was not found innocent. It was a hung jury. He was not found innocent, he was not found guilty, but not innocent.”

Activists say they’re concerned with Perez’s job duties at the department. Retired APD Officer Samson Costales explained, “it lets them know a person who is capable of shooting a man in the back is going to be allowed to oversee or maybe offer some consulting advice to various SWAT members, on what? On how to shoot people? That’s what we’re concerned about.”

According to APD, Perez recently moved from a job as an instructor at the firearms range to a position at the police academy. “Very similar to the training position, but it’s training the tactical units specifically, so SWAT, bomb squad, UD our K-9 unit, so he’s doing that kind of specific training which is part of his background,” explained APD spokesperson, Gilbert Gallegos. 

APD says Perez’s duties do not involve taking calls or dealing with the public. Gallegos continued, “I think that’s something that the APD leadership over the past few chiefs have been cognitive of and that’s still the case here so nothing’s really changed at all.” 

The mayor’s office has scheduled a meeting to discuss these concerns on Mar. 9. As part of Dominique Perez’s reinstatement he had to complete the department’s training required by the Department of Justice. Perez also received two years of back pay.