ACLU, Police Union React To Judge’s Decision In Case Of Homeless Man’s Death

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – The Albuquerque Police Officers Association and American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico have very different takes on a judge’s decision Tuesday to let two officers stand trial for killing homeless camper James Boyd.

For ACLU Executive Director Peter Simonson, the decision makes a big statement that shows the criminal justice system in Albuquerque is taking these kinds of police shooting cases seriously.

“I hope it sends a strong message to law enforcement generally that here in New Mexico the courts are actually going to actually hold officers accountable,” Simonson said. “That they are not above the law.”

He also says the case shows that having an independent prosecutor in cases involving alleged police misconduct makes sense.

District Attorney Kari Brandenburg was ruled to have a conflict of interest because of APD’s bribery investigation on her, a case that was ultimately not pursued by the attorney general’s office.

Meanwhile, APOA vice president Shaun Willoughby says he was shocked and disappointed by the judge’s decision. The union has backed the officers from the beginning, saying that they were merely doing their jobs.

“These aren’t murderers,” Willoughby said. “These are police officers acting to protect the community.”

While Willoughby says he’s confident the officers will be found not guilty by a jury, he says the fact that the case has gone this far is “terrifying” for rank and file officers.

Albuquerque Mayor R.J. Berry had a more muted reaction to the decision, saying in a statement that he respects the judge’s decision.

From KRQE News