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Two officers who were seen on camera fatally shooting a homeless camper last year are facing murder charges, NPR reports.

Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg announced Monday that a murder charge has been filed against Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez of the Albuquerque, New Mexico Police Department. The officers shot and killed James Boyd in March for illegally camping in the city.

Boyd was armed with a knife and had a history of mental illness. After assuring cops that he wasn’t a danger, Sandy and Perez were seen shooting live rounds, stun guns, and bean-bag rounds at the 38-year-old. The video was later released online, and it showed the officers still shooting Boyd while he was on the ground. He died the next day.

Now for the first time in Albuquerque history, an officer will be charged for shooting someone in the line of duty.

Sandy’s attorney spoke out against the charge and said his client had the right to shoot Boyd.

According to KRQE News, an attorney for Sandy said today that his client “had not only the right, but the duty to defend a fellow officer from a mentally unstable, violent man wielding two knives. Keith did nothing wrong. To the contrary, he followed his training and probably saved his fellow officer’s life.”

After news of the charge was released, the police department issued a statement to NPR calling the incident “a matter of great concern.”

The Albuquerque Police Department has one of the highest numbers of police shootings in the country. Since 2010, there have been a total of 27 fatal shootings in the city.


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