APD Chief: Officers in fatal shooting video did 'everything' to make arrest

Created: 03/24/2014 10:47 PM
By: Ryan Luby, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden no longer uses the word “justified” to describe the fatal officer-involved shooting of a homeless man.  Instead, he said his officers did their “absolute best” to make an arrest.

Earlier in the day Monday, Mayor Richard Berry said Eden made a mistake when he told reporters on Friday that the shooting was justified.

“He never should have said that when he said it,” Berry said.  “I think he was asked an honest question, I think he gave what he thought was an honest answer.”

Eden said he realized he jumped to conclusions before Berry contacted him.

“It was very premature to say the least,” Eden said.  “I [had] already seen a tenth of a second breakdowns of the video and was shown some pretty important evidence that will have to come out later.”

Although he would not discuss the evidence, he responded to critics by saying they should closely review the video.

The video, released Friday, shows officers speaking with 38-year-old James Boyd in the Albuquerque foothills before they used lethal and non-lethal force on him at almost the exact same time.  Boyd was carrying two knives.

“You see that we engaged him with our best-trained [Crisis Intervention Team] personnel, we tried to comply with all of his wishes, including calling in the State Police,” Eden said.  “We were doing everything that we had at hand to make an arrest.”

Eden said he is not offended by Berry contacting the Department of Justice to review the shooting as part of its on-going investigation into APD’s use of force.

“I am not upset about it.  I think the best thing you can do in any questionable situation is have an independent set of eyes,” he said.

Eden said he contacted the administration at the Las Cruces Police Department.

Altogether, six outside agencies will review the case: the District Attorney’s office, the Independent Review Office, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, New Mexico State Police, Las Cruces Police, and the Department of Justice.

When asked if he would justify the shooting now, Eden said he’d reserve his comment for later.

“We’re going to wait until the investigation I completed and the multi-jurisdictional task force has put together a final report,” he said.

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