By Alex Dobuzinskis
(Reuters) - Jurors failed to reach a verdict on Tuesday in the trial of two former Albuquerque police officers charged with murdering a homeless man in 2014, prompting the judge to call a mistrial, local media reported.
After more than 17 hours of discussions, the jury said it was still split on whether to find Dominique Perez and Keith Sandy guilty of the second degree murder of James Boyd, with nine of the 12 members favoring acquittal, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
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Officials have said Boyd was armed with knives and camping illegally in the Sandia foothills outside Albuquerque. Police had approached him and shot him after a four-hour standoff.
Protests erupted after Boyd's shooting, which came at a time when the U.S. Justice Department was already investigating the police force over accusations of using force on civilians.
Lawyers for Perez and Sandy had argued the officers were justified in opening fire because they were protecting an officer who had moved closer to the 38-year-old homeless man, the paper reported.
Special prosecutor Randi McGinn, who handled the case, said Bernalillo County's incoming district attorney, Raúl Torrez, would now decide whether to try the men again.
Albuquerque officials last year agreed to pay $5 million to Boyd's family to settle a wrongful death brought in civil court.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Toby Chopra)