APD reinstates officer that shot James Boyd, sparking protests

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Nearly nine years later, the fallout from the police shooting of James Boyd is still felt today.

Boyd was a homeless camper in the Albuquerque Foothills, and he was the latest in a long series of controversial police shootings at the time. 

Protests erupted against the Albuquerque Police Department, and the city’s police force would never be the same after the Department of Justice swept in to enforce a series of reforms.

While the Department of Justice has noted progress, the Boyd case is once again causing controversy within the Albuquerque Police Department. This time it’s over one of the officers involved.

Two officers were charged with murder in Boyd’s death, but the case ended in a mistrial and the district attorney eventually dropped charges. One of those officers is reportedly getting a new job, and that’s raising eyebrows.

Local activists brought their concerns straight to city hall. They’re upset about Perez’s new position because they say it could potentially create situations like the one he was in back in 2014. 

On Tuesday morning, a group of protestors came to city hall demanding to speak with Mayor Tim Keller and APD Chief Harold Medina. 

“I understand some questions were raised about officer Perez’s employment with APD. He recently took a position with the training academy, dealing with training of the tactical units within APD. For the past eight years, he’s been in a similar position in training with a different unit,” said Gilbert Gallegos, an APD public information officer. 

Officer Dominque Perez was initially fired for this controversial shooting of James Boyd back in 2014. Then he was reinstated at APD following a hung jury.

But the protest group says the rehiring should never have happened.

“It’s our opinion that he shouldn’t have even been left on the police force, he should have been let go, or at least put behind a desk and nowhere, nowhere near a weapon again,” said Tom Dent, a protestor with the ABQ Center for Peace and Justice. 

Gallegos says Perez’s position change isn’t cause for concern. 

“Not really anything different than he’s been doing for the past eight years, there’s no involvement with the public, he does not go out on any calls for service. He’s strictly working in a training capacity,” said Gallegos. 

But protestors question why someone with Perez’s past is allowed to train new officers.

 “He’s been training officers for the last eight years, and there have been no problems whatsoever. He doesn’t interact with the public, he doesn’t go out on calls,” Gallegos said. 

APD has been under DOJ oversight for the past eight years. 

“They’ve been slow and incremental changes that really haven’t solved anything, and I think without the DOJ oversight, they’re going back to where they were before,” said Samson Costales, a protestor and retired APD officer.

Gallegos says APD has made major changes in that time, and the group remains hopeful. 

The mayor has agreed to meet with them next week.

 “Optimistic that we get to meet with him, and we’ll sit down and give him our concerns, and to let them know that we’re not going to go away, and we’re not going to stop,” said Costales. 

Gallegos says Perez had to test into this new position, and he had the highest score and earned the job.