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Camper shooting: FBI probing recent police shooting of a homeless camper

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A camper shooting on March 16 at the Sandia foothills in Albuquerque, New Mexico is now being probed by federal investigators. Killed in the shooting was 38-year old James Boyd, a homeless man who had been living at an illegal campsite and who initially threatened officers with a small camping knife.

According to a report from The Associated Press on March 28, Boyd, who when confronted claimed to be a federal agent, “died after officers fired stun guns, bean bags and six live rounds, authorities said. But a helmet-camera video showed Boyd… agreeing to walk down the mountain with them, gathering his things and taking a step toward officers just before they fired.”

The FBI is now looking into the actions of the Albuquerque Police Department, and in light of the multiple protests over the incident, the FBI announced their investigation in order to “assure the public that a thorough and fair investigation will be conducted to determine if any civil rights were violated.”

Prior to being gunned down by at least five armed officers, Boyd had engaged the police in an hour-long standoff, threatening to kill them with a pocket knife and refusing to come down the hill’s face.

Video showed police tossing a "flash bang" grenade, which disoriented Boyd, who appeared confused and unable to hear officers shouting at him to stand down and lay on the ground. As Boyd takes a step to turn away, appearing to gather his things, he is gunned down.

Says the Inquisitr:

The camper shooting drew widespread protests against the Albuquerque Police Department, including picketers with signs that “APD is Guilty” and “Justice For James Boyd.” Even the city’s mayor Richard Berry called the shooting “horrific” after seeing the video.

The recent shooting comes as the Albuquerque Police Department is already under scrutiny by the U.S. Justice Department. Since 2010, over three dozen separate incidents have occurred where Albuquerque police have discharged their weapons. Twenty-two of them have resulted in the death of the suspect(s).

“The problem is, yes, we need an independent investigation in this incident. But there have been over 20 other incidents,” said Alan Wagman, a member of the Police Oversight Task Force – a body created by the Albuquerque City Council to help review such incidents.

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