APD Forward Reacts to Decision to Not Pursue Federal Charges in the Death of James Boyd



July 18, 2017


CONTACT: Micah McCoy, (505) 266-5915 x1003 or [email protected]  


ALBUQUERQUE, NM--Today the APD Forward coalition expressed disappointment but not surprise at the announcement of the U.S. Department of Justice that it would not pursue federal criminal civil rights charges against Albuquerque Police Department (APD) officers involved in the fatal shooting of James Boyd. The coalition vowed to redouble its efforts to transform what the Department of Justice has called a “culture of aggression” within APD that makes this kind unjustified shooting more likely to occur.


“This reflects the limitations of legal action and the fragmentation of a criminal justice system that tilts routinely toward punitive responses to people without homes, those struggling with mental illness and people of color,” said APD Forward spokeperson Jenny Metzler, Executive Director of Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless. “At the same time, law enforcement officers commit questionable acts of violence without real fear of being held accountable.”


Although APD Forward understands the legal reasoning behind the Department of Justice’s decision to not pursue charges, it is concerned that existing legal frameworks at the federal, state and local level make it nearly impossible to hold police officers accountable for excessive use of force. The coalition would like to see systems in place within APD to prevent unnecessary deaths at the hands of police from occurring in the first place.


“It's disappointing that there is still no justice for James Boyd, nonetheless our communities in Albuquerque must continue driving APD toward reform,” said APD Forward spokesperson, Natalie Nicotine with the Native American Voters Alliance. “Existing laws and policies clearly are not structured in a way that protects and serves our city’s most vulnerable populations. We need to demand more meaningful systems of accountability in our police department so there won't be any more senseless tragedies like this in the future.”


For more information about APD Forward, go to www.apdforward.org.