The two Albuquerque police officers involved in the fatal shooting of a homeless man in 2014 were both charged with murder on Monday, CNN reported.
SWAT Team Member Dominique Perez and former Det. Keith Sandy of the Albuquerque Police Department were charged for the death of the 38-year-old homeless man named James "Abba" Boyd on March 16, 2014.
Boyd was fatally shot by the officers following a four-hour standoff in Sandia Foothills, where the victim was initially found illegally camping. The entire incident was captured by the helmet-mounted camera of one of the police officer
In a news conference, Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg, a New Mexico prosecutor, disclosed her move of submitting documents to support her proposal of pursuing an open charge of murder against both police officers.
When an accused is facing an open charge of murder, it means that he or she may be held accountable to a range of counts. These may include no charges, minor charges, or first-degree murder. If approved, the court judge in charge of the case will be given the responsibility to determine whether a probable cause is present based on the circumstances and pieces of evidence submitted.
Moreover, the suspect will be granted the opportunity to present his or her own set of witnesses and evidence.
These conditions could not be availed of in a grand jury hearing. According to Brandenburg, this process will be more transparent and could be viewed by the public.
In addition, the prosecutor cited that one of the reasons that pushed the team to pursue such procedure include the recent chaotic outbursts and protests following the failure of grand juries to indict the police officers involved in the Missouri shooting of an unarmed black teen and the fatal chokehold incident in New York.
"Unlike Ferguson and unlike in New York City, some recent high-profile cases, we're going to know," Brandenburg asserted during the discussion with the press. "The public's going to have that information, you all will have seen the witnesses, heard the argument and you'll understand hopefully perhaps why the judge made the decision that he or she made," the New Mexico prosecutor added.