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Expert: Homeless man was turning away when shot by police

Expert: Homeless man was turning away when shot by New Mexico police now charged with murder

Expert: Homeless man was turning away when shot by police

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (AP) -- A forensics expert testified Wednesday that a homeless man was turning away when he was shot by two New Mexico police officers now charged with murder.

Expert Barie Goetz testified at a preliminary hearing for Albuquerque police Officer Dominique Perez and former Detective Keith Sandy in the killing of James Boyd in 2014.

Goetz said Boyd was turning away from officers when Sandy and Perez each fired three shots. Two of the shots by Perez missed Boyd, Goetz said.

Defense lawyers tried to discredit Goetz by suggesting he didn't spend enough time examining evidence and didn't read the full police report on the shooting.

They also disputed a slow-motion video showing Boyd turning left just before the first shot was fired, saying the sound of shots being fired was not aligned with the actual firing of the shots.

The shooting came amid a wave of police shootings in the city and just before the U.S. Justice Department issued a harsh report involving use of excessive force by the Albuquerque Police Department.

Sandy and Perez are the first officers to face criminal charges in the 40 shootings by city police since 2010.

Police have said Boyd, a schizophrenic, was camping illegally in the foothills and threatened officers with two knives before he was shot.

In his testimony Wednesday, Goetz defended his analysis of the incident and said statements made by Perez about the shooting were not accurate based on the investigation.

"His statement as to gunshots and the position of Mr. Boyd in time of gunshots is not consistent with what the video shows," Goetz said.

Goetz testified for about two hours during the third day of the preliminary hearing to decide whether the case will go to trial.

Prosecutors say the Sandy and Perez unnecessarily escalated the encounter.

Defense attorneys counter that their clients did nothing wrong and that Boyd threatened to kill them while holding the knives in his hands.

Updated : 2021-09-17 21:50 GMT+08:00