No Justice for Cammerin Boyd
On the evening of May 5, 2004, SFPD began a high-speed pursuit of Cammerin Boyd, which ended in tragedy. Cammerin, while in the process of surrendering, was shot and killed in front of numerous witnesses. Police alleged that he was reaching for a weapon when he was shot, but witnesses say he had his hands up and in plain view when he got out of the car. Police also say that a weapon was found in the car. Now, an interesting note: this weapon was found hours later. This alone should raise a few eyebrows, but it's a fact that unfortunately is difficult to prove otherwise.
After a six-week trial, the all-white, nine-member jury began deliberations on the afternoon of Monday September 24, 2007, and returned shortly after 3 p.m. with a unanimous verdict that the officers had not used unreasonable force.
The question that was put before the jury was whether the officers felt there was an imminent threat on the part of Cammerin that justified the SFPD's decision to shoot and kill. Cammerin was merely attempting to comply with the orders that were being yelled at him by several officers at once, when one of the officers decided to use deadly force and shoot. Cammerin was a double amputee, and when the officers were yelling for him to get down, he tried to explain that he had prosthetics and could not just lower himself to the ground like the average person could. Why didn't the cops listen? Did they not believe him? They say he reached out his hand towards the car and they assumed he was reaching for a weapon. What most likely happened was that he was reaching out to the car to anchor himself so that he could comply with their orders to get down on the ground.
During the trial, evidence of Cammerin's past was allowed in for the sole purpose of attacking his character, and it undoubtedly prejudiced the jury. Was it relevant to the case at hand? Absolutely not! The deadly actions of the cops were under scrutiny, not what Cammerin did or did not do several years prior! What happened in 1993 should in no way, shape, or form justify the fact that those police officers used deadly force to end the life of an unarmed man in the process of surrendering!
What is important to remember is that although Cammerin's life was lost, those who knew and loved him will never forget his spirit. He was a loving son and father. We cannot allow another family to endure an experience such as what the Boyd family has had to bear for the past 3 years. His murder was not justified, no matter what verdict the jury delivered, and if nothing else, we must all take to heart this lesson: we must not give up the fight for police accountability!