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James Boyd, The Liberty Project 2014

New Media Print, ink on cotton panel © Amy Adams Art

Liberty Lost: James Boyd, 2014, New Media Print, ink on cotton panel © Amy Adams Art

UPDATE: The police officers on trial are off the hook, at least for now. A mistrial was announced when the jury could not reach a unanimous decision. There is a possiblity that they could be retried but it's unlikely.Add paragraph text here.

James Boyd, he was one of many mentally ill people murdered by police across the United States in recent years. Now 18 months later, tomorrow is the first day of the criminal trial of the two police officers that were responsible for his death. They have been charged with 2nd degree murder and some other lesser charges. These officers are not innocent until proven guilty, but the system says they are, even though there is footage, concrete proof. James Boyd was shot in the back.Add paragraph text here.

Homeless and known by law enforcement as a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, James Boyd was sleeping in the hills. He was murdered by police. He had been in and out of trouble with the law and had previously been deemed incompetent by the courts on several occassions. He had even been involuntarily committed at various times. [1] They were aware, they knew. The officer (Monette) who was trained and was negotiating with James Boyd to abandon the camp in the foothills, knew he had knives. He was making progress. Then 'tactical officers arrived.'

Excerpt from Another Casualty of the Boyd Shooting -

 

“We’re in a situation right now,” Boyd said. “I can’t walk away. You can’t walk away.” Monette backed down the hill when APD tactical officers arrived. Before nightfall, they had fatally shot Boyd six times....Prosecutors say Boyd was surrendering when he was shot in the back. [2] -

 

At the time, James Boyd was the latest victim of the Albuquerque Police Department. The police were serving on a force that was under investigation by the US Federal Government for police brutality and excessive force.[3] As I type the brief notes that surround this tragedy, I recognize that my words seem wrong 'police were serving on a force.' Unfortunately police are not serving when they are on a 'force.' If they are serving the community, we need a better word. They were serving the people in the department? I don't know what words make sense. But none of what happened here makes sense to me. Mentally ill people have been abandoned by the current system.

Thank you for taking the time to view my art and read my brief article about the story that inspired it. The work is part of a larger series called The Liberty Project.

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9 oct - the jury is deciding and the earliest outcome will be on 11 oct 2016

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You can learn more about James Boyd and the APD's Federal investigation at the links in the sources section below:

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