Mayor says APD chief wrong for calling shooting justified

Updated: 03/24/2014 9:17 PM | Created: 03/24/2014 5:14 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

If Gorden Eden’s ears were burning a little bit Monday afternoon, there’s a reason for it.

Eden is the brand new chief of the Albuquerque Police Department, and his boss, Mayor Richard Berry, said Eden made a “mistake” when he said the recent shooting of a homeless man armed with two knives in the Sandia foothills was “justifiable”.

“He made a mistake,” Berry said. “He never should have said that when he said it.”

During a news conference on Friday Eden discussed the fatal shooting of 38 year old James Boyd in a standoff with police officers two Sundays ago.

“Do I believe it was a justifiable shooting? Yes, if you follow the case law, Garner versus Tennessee, there was a directed threat to an officer,” Eden said.

“I think he was asked an honest question and I think he gave what he thought was an honest answer,” Berry said. “ I think he’d been briefed in some detail at that point but I think it was a mistake for him to make that judgment.”

The shooting is still under  investigation by APD, the Bernalillo County Sheriff, the District Attorney, and the State Police. Berry has also asked the Las Cruces Police Department to join in.

“We need to wait for those investigations to be done,” Berry said. “Whether it’s justified ultimately or not justified, there are tactical things that could be done differently, whatever that comes down to. There will always be something. Anytime there’s an officer-involved shooting there’s something to be learned or something to be made better.”

Berry calls the shooting “horrific”. He was out of town when Chief Eden released the shocking police lapel-camera video of the standoff and the shooting on Friday.  He said he has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate its probe into earlier city police shootings to include this latest one, which has a lot of people wondering why cops went to lethal gunfire so quickly, when they had a police dog and a Taser shotgun at the standoff.

“Please let’s expedite this,” Berry urged all investigating agencies. “I think the community and even the mayor’s office, we’re owed a thorough investigation as soon as possible. I’d hate to see this drag on any longer than it needs to drag on, from the standpoint of getting the answers that we need, because we all need answers to this.”

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