ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Former Albuquerque Police Officer Keith Sandy told the jury Wednesday he thought James Boyd was going to attack officers with his knives so he opened fire.
Sandy was on the stand for most of the day. He says when Boyd started turning away, he feared he was circling around the K-9 handler to attack him.
“As his body was moving that quarter turn to the left, it was during that time and I fired my first round,” said Sandy.
Sandy says the homeless camper had threatened to kill officers for hours so when an Albuquerque Police Department K-9 handler got too close to him and his pocket knives, he had to provide lethal coverage.
Sandy was the first to fire shots at James Boyd followed by Dominique Perez.
Sandy also says the homeless camper was unpredictable. He described Boyd’s actions after police threw a flash grenade at him and he threw down the belongings in his hands.
“It was like when you watch a hockey game and hockey players have their gloves on and they throw their gloves down before they fight,” said Sandy. “He threw it during that manner where he snapped his hands down throwing his hands down to the ground.”
The defense had Sandy explain his firing from State Police for collecting pay while he was doing a second job Wednesday. They also had him explain why he called James Boyd a lunatic before the shooting and why he did not have video of the shooting like he’s supposed to.
Prosecutors have said APD escalated the situation that day and that Boyd was turning away when he was shot. They also say just because Boyd had a knife there’s no evidence he had motioned to attack anyone.
Wednesday afternoon, the defense used props and demonstrated what James Boyd was doing when Sandy decided to pull the trigger.
The defense used a ladder and a platform to show the jury Boyd’s advantage in the foothills over officers. They said he was on much higher ground while holding his two pocket knives.
On the stand, Sandy said he saved the K-9 handler’s life when he shot.
During cross-examination, prosecutors used props of their own. They put life-size cardboard cutouts of officers at the scene in front of the jury, including Perez and Sandy.
Prosecutors also used the defense’s platform to reenact Boyd being shot.
“And the next thing you saw after your third shot was him going down in this direction, sir,” asked the Special Prosecutor. “I saw him fall out of my scope, ma’am,” replied Sandy. “I didn’t see how he fell.”
The defense rested its case on Wednesday. Closing arguments are set for Thursday morning.
Also, Sandy’s attorney asked the judge for a directed verdict, saying there is not enough evidence to send the case to the jury. However, the judge denied the motions for a directed verdict.