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In Rare Turn, New Mexico Police to Stand Trial for Murder of Unarmed Homeless Man

The case marks the first instance any member of the Albuquerque police force has faced public murder trial for actions made on the job, despite a record of excessive and lethal force.

 The above image is from a police helmet camera shows Albuquerque police officers surrounding James Boyd. (Screenshot via APD)

The above image is from a police helmet camera shows Albuquerque police officers surrounding James Boyd. (Screenshot via APD)

Marking an "unusual" development in the nationwide debate over police accountability, two New Mexico police officers have been ordered to stand trial for the shooting death of an unarmed homeless man, James Boyd.

Pro Tem Judge Neil Candelaria ruled on Tuesday that there was probable cause for Officer Dominique Perez and former Detective Keith Sandy to face trial for the murder of Boyd, whose March 2014 shooting went viral after being captured on video, sparking protests and outrage.

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"It's unusual for a judge to order police officers to stand trial for murder—even as the country debates use of force by police and sees protests in far-flung places over shootings by officers," the Associated Press noted. The case marks the first instance any member of the Albuquerque police force has faced public murder trial for actions made on the job, despite a record of excessive and lethal force.

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