Accused shoplifter on trial for dragging officer claims he was racially profiled
Andre Boyd representing himself at trial; argued actions prompted by his reaction to being tased
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A former Central Texas police officer testified Monday that his leg was crushed between the driver’s door and truck frame during his August 2019 struggle with a suspected shoplifter whose vehicle struck five cars in the Richland Mall parking lot during a getaway attempt.
Roy Luna, who was working security at Dillard’s on the day he was injured, identified Andre Duane Boyd, 48, as the man who attempted to steal almost $800 worth of clothing before resisting Luna’s attempts to detain him and injuring the officer.
Boyd, who is charged as a habitual criminal because of his lengthy record, is on trial in Waco’s 19th State District Court on one count of aggravated robbery and one count of aggravated assault against a public servant.
The defendant, who has at least a dozen previous felony convictions, is taking an unusual course by representing himself at trial. Waco attorney Alan Bennett has been appointed as stand-by to assist if Boyd requests help.
Luna, a Precinct 5 deputy constable and a retired Waco police officer, testified Monday he saw Boyd walking out of Dillard’s with his arms full of clothes and he confronted him in the parking lot. Boyd told him he had a receipt in his pocket and kept edging his way toward his Chevrolet Tahoe parked a few feet away. Luna checked the clothing tags and said it was clear Boyd had not paid for the clothes, which were not in Dillard’s bags.
KWTX ARCHIVE STORY: Retired police officer dragged in parking lot while confronting alleged shoplifter
Luna said he drew his Taser to try to convince Boyd to return to the store and to keep him from reaching his vehicle. Along the way, Luna asked a woman to record the incident and directed her mother to call 911, Luna said.
Boyd, who continued to struggle with Luna, made it to his Tahoe, opened the door and threw the clothes into the passenger’s seat. Luna said he deployed his Taser in a five-second burst as Boyd was reaching for the keys. He said he tried to shock him again as Boyd started the vehicle and shifted it into reverse, but the stun gun didn’t seem to have the same effect on Boyd, Luna said.
With Luna hanging on the driver’s door, Boyd backed out, striking a car behind him. As Luna continued to struggle with Boyd, Boyd’s Tahoe lunged forward and swerved into another car in the parking lot, pinning Luna’s left leg between the door and the Tahoe frame.
“I felt quite a bit of pain, but I could walk and I feel my adrenaline just kicked in,” Luna said.
Several shoppers in the parking lot reached into the passenger’s side and shifted Boyd’s Tahoe into park while Luna removed the keys, he said. Boyd finally was subdued by Luna and the others, described by prosecutor Duncan Widman as “good Samaritans.”
Boyd told jurors during his opening statements and during the jury selection process that he is not guilty of an intentional act because his actions were prompted by his reactions to being shocked, and therefore, “an involuntary action caused by an inhuman force.”
“If I was tased, I was dazed. That can cause the mind to go blind,” Boyd said.
Boyd also questioned whether he was the victim of racial profiling because he said he repeatedly told Luna he had a receipt for the clothes.
Luna, who was hospitalized with leg abrasions, bruises and swelling, said Boyd never produced a receipt.
If convicted as a habitual criminal, Boyd faces a minimum of 25 years on each count and up to maximum life prison terms.
Court records show Boyd has felony convictions for burglary of a habitation, four convictions for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, four convictions for theft, two convictions for burglary of building and one for burglary of a motor vehicle.
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