Albuquerque, NM- The Albuquerque Police Department is under scrutiny again after an investigation of APD officer Jeremy Dear revealed that his body camera malfunctioned for a third time while on duty. During his camera’s latest malfunction in April 2014, Dear shot a 19-year-old woman who was on the run after being suspected of driving a stolen truck.
Dear shot and killed Mary Hawkes on April 21st of this year after pursuing her her on foot. Hawkes had allegedly abandoned the stolen truck and was fleeing from police when she was confronted by Dear before he shot her three times.
In Hawkes’ autopsy report it was found that all three shots were fired from a downward trajectory. The Office of the Medical Examiner’s report also stated that Hawkes suffered “seven blunt-force injuries” on her body “including on each knee, the top of her forehead, each forearm, her chest and back of her right hand.”
Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden said that there was “preliminary evidence” that suggested she may have pulled a out a handgun and pointed it at Dear. Eden said that a .32 caliber semiautomatic handgun was found near Hawkes’ body.
Hawkes had a troubled history, including previous run-ins with police dating back to when she was 15. A toxicology report released in May showed she was under the influence of meth before the shooting and there were multiple drugs found in her system.
It was soon discovered that Dear’s body camera had not captured the incident. Technicians were unable to retrieve any footage of the shooting. Cameras worn on other officers contained footage of the wake of the incident.
Taser International Inc., the company that makes the cameras, stated in its report of Dear’s camera that it had turned off and on several times on the evening of April 20th through the early hours of April 21st: “Before the incident, the camera was powered on around 11:15 p.m. on April 20, then went off around 11:30 p.m., recording once. It was turned on again shortly after midnight, and went off again around 4 a.m., recording three times. It was turned on again around 4:15 a.m. and turned off a minute later without recording anything.”
The report also stated that Dear’s camera had a damaged cable but the camera itself was completely functional. It was missing a clip that helps prevent the camera from disconnecting from the battery.
The April shooting was not the first time that Dear’s body camera failed to capture an incident.
In January 2013, Dear had responded to a brawl occurring in town and had struck “(a 22-year-old suspect) several times in his facial area with a closed fist,” according to his description of the event. His camera was not on at the time, and his partner’s camera had captured the beginning of the fight and its aftermath.
In February 2013, a man was pulled over by Dear for speeding. The man later filed a complaint accusing Dear of using excessive force. The man alleged that Dear had pulled him out of his vehicle and kicked him in the genitals. Dear denied the accusations and claimed that the battery on his body camera died after he pulled the man over.
Dear had also been caught giving conflicting information in a wrongful death suit stemming from an APD-involved shooting in 2011. APD officer Sean Wallace had shot and killed Alan Gomez, a suspect in a hostage situation. Dear had been at the scene of the shooting, and there was audio of Dear telling an investigator that he was unable to see Gomez’s hands before he was shot.
In a deposition months later, Dear said that he’d seen something large, possibly a gun, in Gomez’s hand. As it turned out, Gomez had been unarmed, according to a report from the Department of Justice that stated “Gomez was unarmed and did not pose an immediate risk of death or serious bodily harm to the individuals in the house or officers when he was shot.” It has not been reported that Dear was investigated for giving conflicting information.
APD spokeswoman Janet Blair stated that Dear is on desk duty while a criminal and internal investigation continues.
The Justice Department criticized APD’s long-term use of excessive violence in an April report that read “based on our investigation, we have reasonable cause to believe that APD engages in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment and Section 14141.”