The highly controversial Albuquerque Police Department has drawn more criticism over their recent purchase of 350 AR-15’s with $350,000 of taxpayer dollars, amidst fears of the growing trend of police militarization. Executive Director of the New Mexico chapter of the ACLU, Peter Simonson, said according to the Inquisitir, in relation to the mass purchase, “[They] are … Continue reading Albuquerque Police Department purchases 350 assault rifles→
Following a preliminary hearing, Judge Neil Candelaria decided Tuesday that one Albuquerque police officer and one former Albuquerque police detective will stand trial for the killing of James Boyd. An arraignment date for Perez and Boyd has not been set yet.
Albuquerque officer Dominique Perez and former Albuquerque detective Keith Sandy, who retired amidst an investigation of James Boyd’s death, are facing charges of second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and aggravated battery.
The decision follows a preliminary hearing in which the state prosecution and the defense presented opposing arguments regarding the events of March 2014 that led to Boyd’s death. The state argued that officers instigated the encounter by bringing over a dozen officers for a man accused of illegal camping. The defense argued that Boyd, who was schizophrenic, had a history of violence and that Sandy and Perez made a critical decision to protect a fellow officer at risk of being harmed by Boyd.
On March 16th, 2014, 41 officers were sent to the Sandia foothills to assist in the detainment of Boyd, who had been reportedly illegally camping there. At the time of the incident, Boyd was carrying two knives. After a standoff lasting over four hours, Boyd appeared to agree to leave his campsite before he was shot and killed by APD officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez.
An Albuquerque SWAT sergeant testified that police officers at the scene of the standoff were aware that Boyd suffered from schizophrenia.
Police dash cam audio recorded a conversation between Sandy and State Police Officer Chris Ware while en route to the scene of the standoff. While KOB News 4 claimed that it sounded as if Sandy, who called Boyd a “f***ing lunatic”, said he was “going to shoot him in the penis with a shotgun here in a second,” the Albuquerque Police Department claimed Sandy said “I’m going to shoot him with a Taser shotgun in a second.”
The charges against Perez and Sandy “appear to be the first against an APD officer for an on-duty fatal shooting in at least 50 years,” according to the Albuquerque Journal. There have been at least 40 officer-involved shootings in Albuquerque since 2010.
The Truth In Media Project has been following multiple reports of police brutality and excessive use of force nationwide, including in Albuquerque. For more information about the James Boyd case, click here. To read more about alleged police abuse in Albuquerque, click here.
The city of Albuquerque has agreed to pay $5 million to the family of James Boyd, a man with a long history of mental illness who was killed by Albuquerque police last year.
“For far too long, the Albuquerque Police Department fostered policies and practices that failed officers and, in turn, the community. The policies and practices created an atmosphere where the officers most indifferent to human life could recklessly interact with residents, killing them without significant concern or consequence. As a result, even the most well-intentioned officers did not, and could not, police constitutionally within APD. Because the killing of James Matthew Boyd was so needless, so preventable, finally, Albuquerque and department officials could not continue to turn away,” read a statement issued by the family’s attorney, Shannon Kennedy.
On March 16th, 2014, 41 officers were sent to the Sandia foothills to assist in the detainment of Boyd, who was allegedly illegally camping. At the time of the incident, Boyd was carrying two knives. After a standoff lasting over four hours, Boyd appeared to agree to leave his campsite before he was shot and killed by APD officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez.
According to KOB 4, police had created a plan for detaining Boyd: “The plan outlined by K-9 Officer Scott Weimerskirch was to use a flash-bang grenade to distract Boyd, then deploy the police dog. But officers Keith Sandy, Dom Perez and Richard Ingram understood that plan differently. They thought the flash-bang would be deployed, followed by the use of a Taser shotgun, then the police dog.”
The plan went off course as the grenade “didn’t really affect [Boyd] as it should have,” according to Sandy. The police dog turned away from Boyd, and use of a Taser on Boyd achieved little due to the layers of clothing he was wearing.
Boyd’s autopsy revealed that he had been shot on the left side of his lower back and both upper arms. His toxicology report showed no illegal drugs or alcohol in his system.
The lawsuit filed by Boyd’s family was sharply critical of Sandy’s history as a police officer. The complaint alleged that before joining APD, Sandy had been fired as a state police officer for being paid as private security while on the clock as an officer. The Albuquerque Journal reported on Sandy’s firing for that incident in 2007.
The complaint noted that Sandy was initially hired as a civilian employee by APD due to his termination for fraud and had been deemed unfit to carry a gun, which KRQE had also noted last March. Sandy went on to advance within the department and eventually became an officer in various tactical units including the “Repeat Offender Project (ROP), the plainclothes detective team that is supposed to go after the worst of Albuquerque’s worst criminals,” according to KRQE. The lawsuit claimed that Sandy was promoted from a civilian employee to an undercover officer, and finally promoted to a plainclothes detective “without passing a psychological ‘fit for duty’ screening evaluation.”
The suit, which requested several changes to the department in its prayer for relief, also included a determination from the Department of Justice which found that APD engaged in violating the constitutional rights of citizens through excessive force.
The Truth In Media Project has been following multiple reports of police brutality and excessive use of force nationwide, including in Albuquerque. To read more about alleged police abuse in Albuquerque, click here. For more information about the James Boyd case, click here.
Albuquerque, NM- The Albuquerque Police Department is under scrutiny once again due to another one of its officers being accused of not using a body camera while on duty.
Earlier this month, APD Chief Gorden Eden revealed in a YouTube video that an internal affairs investigation had been launched regarding “possible misconduct” and “excessive use of force” involving two APD officers. Additional information has identified the suspect and the APD employees involved in the incident.
Albuquerque Officer Cedric Greer, 24, has been charged with aggravated battery for allegedly punching a suspect repeatedly during an arrest. The incident was reported to APD’s training staff by a cadet, identified by the Albuquerque Journal as Andrew Henry, who was present at the scene.
Henry, Greer and another officer, Jerry Rauch, were called to a motel on March 20th to assist a “down and out” male. The “down and out” male, Adrian Marthell, was found on the second floor of the motel highly intoxicated.
Marthell was escorted downstairs. A patdown was conducted, and Marthell was found with a small amount of marijuana. While Rauch went to his vehicle, Greer and Henry stayed with Marthell. The arrest warrant affidavit claims that Greer caught Marthell looking at Henry and ordered him to “stop looking at” the cadet and to “look at the f**king ground.”
The affidavit goes on to claim that Greer grabbed Marthell and shoved him down to the ground and into a prone position with Marthell’s left shoulder and left side of his head on the pavement. Greer then allegedly grabbed Marthell by his jacket and struck him twice in on the right side of his head “causing the left side of his head to bounce off of the pavement.”
According to the affidavit, Greer continued to assault Marthell. The officer allegedly held the Marthell by his left arm and struck him twice in his rib cage before wrenching his arm upward and repeatedly asking Marthell “who’s the man?” until Marthell “responded in obvious pain, ‘you are the man’.”
Rauch returned to the scene and helped Greer place Marthell in restraints; the affidavit claims that Greer and Rauch proceeded to turn their lapel cameras on and were “courteous” to Marthell once the cameras were activated. APD’s policy requires the use of body cameras for most public interactions.
The lapel camera allegedly showed “large red blotches which appeared to be abrasions” on the left side of Marthell’s face. The affidavit reported that the officers did not report to supervisors that force had been used.
An eyewitness was reportedly interviewed who said he was 20 feet away from the officers and Marthell and had clearly seen Greer striking a man laying on the ground. According to the affidavit, interviews with officers and the witness indicated that Marthell was cooperative and not threatening to any of the officers during the encounter.
KOB News4 reports that the APD is investigating the glaring differences between the arrest warrant affidavit and the criminal complaint against Marthell. The complaint, written by Rauch, provides very few details and does not mention use of force, Rauch walking to his vehicle, or lapel cameras being turned on in the middle of the encounter.
Rauch has not yet faced any charges; Greer is charged with misdemeanor aggravated battery. According to the Albuquerque Journal, there was a clerical error that cause Greer to first be charged with a felony; a Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office clarified that Greer is charged with a misdemeanor. A felony charge would allow the APD to immediately fire Greer.
Both Greer and Rauch are on administrative leave.
The allegations against Greer are similar to those made against another APD officer, Jeremy Dear. Dear had been allegedly involved in three use-of-force incidents in which Dear did not have his body camera turned on. One of those incidents involved a fatality: Dear shot and killed Mary Hawkes during a foot chase in April 2014 and admitted in an interview that he knew his camera was not on during the chase. Dear, who was fired by Eden last December, has appealed his termination and wants his job back.
Albuquerque, NM- Albuquerque officer Pablo Padilla faces felony charges of aggravated battery and evidence tampering stemming from an April 2014 traffic stop that led to emergency surgery for a University of New Mexico law student.
On April 25th, 2014, Padilla pulled over Jeremy Martin for failing to stop at a stop sign. KOB noted that the police report “says he [Martin] blew a stop sign while traveling north on Wellesley Place, but there is no way to travel northbound on Wellseley to the stop sign in question.”
Martin was uncooperative with Padilla’s order to remain seated on a curb outside of his vehicle. The original police report stated that Martin was actively resisting arrest and was later treated for face and leg lacerations. The initial report did not include any information regarding the physical altercation between Padilla and Martin that ultimately led to Martin being rushed into emergency surgery to remove a testicle that had been badly damaged by Padilla’s knee. Video capturing the incident, provided by ProgressNow New Mexico, can be seen below.
At about 7 minutes and 15 seconds into the video, Padilla is seen ordering one of Martin’s passengers to put away his cell phone that was recording the incident. Padilla is then seen seizing the passenger’s phone. At about 9 minutes into the video, Padilla can be seen deleting video from a phone.
Padilla’s decision to delete the video recording led to Martin’s DWI charge being dismissed. Padilla’s testimony in the DWI case was suppressed by a judge because the officer “intentionally and in bad faith destroyed evidence.” Padilla’s lawyer maintained that while deleting the citizen’s video was “poor judgement,” the act was not tampering with evidence.
Martin later filed a lawsuit against APD for the injury sustained during the traffic stop. Padilla was suspended for six weeks after the incident and is still employed by the APD on administrative leave. Padilla’s certification was revoked by the The New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Board last December, but Padilla requested a formal hearing that initiated an appeals process that leaves Padilla’s certification in place until a final decision is made by the hearing officer or a state District Court judge.
On Wednesday, Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry released the city’s new proposed budget that included spending $4.7 million “to implement and go beyond the U.S. Department of Justice Settlement Agreement. Areas of focus include recruitment, crisis intervention, misconduct complaint investigations, training, development of policies and procedures, and community engagement and oversight.” A settlement agreement was reached between the Justice Department and APD last fall after a Justice Department investigation found that the APD has routinely engaged in excessive and deadly force against citizens.
Albuquerque, NM- The Albuquerque Police Department implemented a new policy over the weekend to run monthly background checks on all of its sworn employees in an effort to catch possible warrants on the department’s officers.
According to the Associated Press, APD spokeswoman Celina Espinoza said on Saturday that “driver’s licenses of sworn employees will undergo a monthly background check for possible warrant suspensions or expirations.”
The new policy was put in place shortly after the arrest of APD patrol officer Skyler McClaskey. McClaskey was arrested early Saturday morning along with his wife Jodi and are each facing one charge of child abuse for allegedly hitting their 12-year-old son. Officer McClaskey was later found to have an outstanding warrant from 2014 for check fraud.
The arrests were made following an investigation by state police after they were contacted by New Mexico’s Children, Youth and Families Department last Friday. CYFD had observed several bruises on McClaskey’s stepson during a welfare check; it is unclear who initiated a CYFD check on the boy.
A criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court stated that earlier last week Skyler McClaskey allegedly slapped the boy repeatedly to discipline him for pinching his sister. Skyler McClaskey allegedly proceeded to flip the boy onto his stomach and place his knee on his stepson’s back while continuing to hit him. The boy accused Skyler McClaskey of later pushing him into an entertainment center, and said that he tripped and fell trying to get away from his stepfather before his biological mother, Jodi McClaskey, grabbed him by the hair and attempted to hit him.
Skyler McClaskey’s arrest led to the discovery that he also had an outstanding 2014 warrant for his arrest in Santa Fe County for writing a bad check. Espinoza said that the new policy running monthly checks on officers is “to prevent similar situations.”
Skyler and Jodi McClaskey both posted bond and were released Saturday evening. They were charged with “first offense child abuse without great bodily harm.” Skyler McClaskey, who has been employed by APD since 2006, was placed on paid leave after the arrest and is likely to be fired if he is indicted on the child abuse charge.
Albuquerque, NM- Attorneys for Albuquerque Officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez defended the actions of their clients on Monday regarding the killing of James Boyd.
“Unfortunately now, the district attorney has made a decision- which is a terrible, terrible decision- in charging Officers Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez with murder,” Sandy’s attorney, Sam Bregman, said at a press conference held as news that the officers had been charged was being made public.
Bregman said that Boyd had a violent past and had once broken a police officer’s nose. Boyd, who has a history of mental illness and had spent time in the state’s psychiatric facility, was shot and killed by Perez and Sandy after a lengthy standoff last March. The shooting has since gained national attention and increased scrutiny surrounding Albuquerque’s controversial history of excessive force used by the city’s police officers.
“Keith Sandy was following his training, and very likely saved the life of a fellow police officer,” Bregman said at the conference. Bregman has also asserted that neither Sandy nor Perez had intended to kill Boyd during the standoff on March 16th, 2014, and said Sandy had fired his weapon to protect a K-9 officer who was nearest to Boyd. “He’s spent his whole career in life protecting people,” Bregman said of Sandy. “And the idea that he’s charged with murder for protecting a fellow officer? You can imagine that goes right to his core.”
“While Mr. Boyd’s death is a tragedy, it is not the result of a criminal act by Keith. Keith now looks forward to to clearing his good name through the judicial process,” Bregman said in a statement.
Luis Robles, an attorney for Dominique Perez, provided KRQE with a similar statement in defense of Perez’s actions. “This is truly a shame. Throughout his career, Officer Perez has been called upon to make life-altering decisions while protecting Albuquerque citizens and his fellow officers. And having made one of those decisions, Officer Perez now faces an open count of murder. Regardless, I am confident that the facts will vindicate Officer Perez’s actions in this case,” Robles said.
Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry said that “It’s important for all of us to allow the process to progress without prejudice in order for our community to move forward” in response to the charges filed against Perez and Sandy.
According to KOAT News, the city of Albuquerque will not be paying for the legal fees of either officer; both Perez and Sandy will be responsible for paying for their defense fees.
In a statement, the Albuquerque Police Department said “Having the case presented to a district court judge at a preliminary hearing will permit the evidence to be presented in a transparent and public forum.”
The Albuquerque Police Officer Association said “We are disappointed in the District Attorney’s decision to pursue charges. This was an unfortunate situation, but in no way criminal,” according to a released statement.
Following a preliminary hearing, it will be up to a judge to deliver a final decision on whether or not to move the case forward. “We refer to it as a mini-trial, where evidence is heard in court, open court,” said Brandenburg. “The defense can cross-examine and present their own testimony, and then a judge will make a decision.”
A date for a preliminary hearing has not been set.
Albuquerque, NM- Albuquerque officers Dominique Perez and Keith Sandy were charged with murder on Monday in the shooting of homeless camper James Boyd.
Boyd, who had been accused by police of illegally camping in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains, was ultimately shot and killed by Sandy and Perez, a SWAT team member, on March 16th, 2014 during a standoff lasting several hours. The shooting provoked national criticism of the Albuquerque Police Department after video was released that appeared to show Boyd, who was in possession of two small knives, surrendering just before he was shot by Sandy and Perez. The video is available below (graphic content):
Ware: I don’t know. The guy asked for state police.
Sandy: Who asked?
Ware: I don’t know.
Sandy: For this f***ing lunatic? I’m going to shoot him in the penis with a shotgun here in a second.
Ware: You got uh, less-lethal?
Sandy: I got…
Ware: The Taser shotgun?
Sandy: Yeah. Ware: Oh, I thought you guys got rid of those?
Sandy: ROP’s got one…here’s what we’re thinking, because I don’t know what’s going on, nobody has briefed me…
The APD denied that Sandy said “I’m going to shoot him in the penis with a shotgun here in a second” and claimed he had said “I’m going to shoot him with a Taser shotgun in a second”. However, the APD’s denial conflicted with Sandy’s acknowledgement to investigators that he had made the “shoot him in the penis” remark as a joke. “Just kind of locker room banter,” Sandy had told investigators. “[I] just told him, you know, ‘don’t worry; I’ll shoot him in the pecker with this and call it good.’”
Sandy abruptly recanted that admission after a break during the interview.
Second District Attorney Kari Brandenburg said Monday that Perez and Sandy each face one open murder count. In an open murder charge, prosecutors may push for either first-degree or second-degree murder charges.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, the case was not brought before a grand jury and Brandenburg “filed the counts via criminal information, which allows her to charge the officers without presenting evidence to a grand jury.” The FBI is currently investigating the shooting, but it’s unknown if the officers will face federal charges.
Albuquerque has become well known for excessive force used by police. In May of last year, more than 40 residents effectively shut down a city council meeting and attempted to serve Police Chief Gorden Eden with a warrant for a citizen’s arrest while calling for the APD to stop its violent tactics. APD Officer Jeremy Dear was fired last month for repeatedly refusing to use his body camera; in the last instance of Dear either failing to turn on or disabling his camera, he had fatally shot 19-year-old Mary Hawkes.
A Justice Department letter from April 2014 informed the APD- that had killed 23 people and wounded 14 over a four-year period- that its department “engages in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment” and the Justice Department later demanded reforms to correct the APD’s practices. Last October, the Justice Department and APD reached an agreement to engage in “wide-ranging reforms”.
The Albuquerque, NM Police Department came under fire back in April of this year when a Department of Justice investigation concluded that its officers had been engaging in a pattern of excessive force. As Reason notes, the 500,000 person city has suffered 41 officer-involved shootings, 27 of which were fatal, over the past four years alone, including a highly-publicized caught-on-video incident in which officers fatally shot homeless camper James Boyd, who appeared to pose no threat to police at the time.
In February of this year, Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry appointed Gorden Eden, who promised to clean up the department in advance of the DOJ’s investigation, to the position of police chief. Now, Reuters is reporting that Chief Eden has fired Albuquerque Police Officer Jeremy Dear for four incidents in which he allegedly either refused to turn on or disabled his body camera. As the above-embedded video by KOAT-7 notes, Dear is the third officer to be fired by Chief Eden since he took over as head of the Albuquerque Police Department.
In one of the incidents, which, according to Annabelle Bamforth at BenSwann.com, led to the investigation into his use of body cameras and took place on April 21, Officer Dear’s camera had been disabled before he fatally shot 19-year-old Mary Hawkes, who was allegedly attempting to flee police on foot. Officer Dear claimed that Mary Hawkes pointed a gun at him prior to the fatal shooting. In another incident, Dear’s camera was reportedly disabled when he was involved in a brawl with a suspect in January of 2013. A citizen also accused Dear of kicking him in the groin during a February 2013 traffic stop. Once again, the officer’s camera was disabled.
Albuquerque police officers are required to wear body cameras, but, according to Albuquerque Journal, the DOJ investigation concluded that police were violating the policy without facing consequences. Chief Eden’s firing of Officer Dear appears to be an attempt to give teeth to the department’s policy requiring body cameras during all interactions with citizens.
Officer Dear claims that his body camera malfunctioned during the aforementioned incidents. His lawyer Thomas Grover calls Dear’s firing unfair and says that Chief Eden is just trying to use his dismissal as a way to get officers to follow the body camera policy. “If they fire every officer who doesn’t turn on his uniform camera, they won’t have anyone left on the department,” said Grover, describing an environment of rampant insubordination. Grover worries that officers will now be fired when their body cameras malfunction and is appealing Dear’s dismissal.
Chief Eden issued a statement on the incident, which said, “Insubordination tears at the fabric of public safety especially when the officer makes a choice not to follow a lawful order… In imposing the discipline of termination, I considered the seriousness of the acts and omissions, aggravating circumstances and Officer Dear’s disciplinary record.”
Albuquerque, NM– An Albuquerque City Council meeting was shut down last Monday after over 40 protesters took control of the meeting, attempting to serve Police Chief Gorden Eden with a warrant for a citizen’s arrest while demanding drastic changes to the city’s police department.
The activists overtook the meeting following weeks of protest concerning allegations of the Albuquerque Police Department’s violent tactics. The Justice Department wrote in a letter to Mayor Richard J. Berry that in their civil investigation of APD, they “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.” In that letter, the investigation determined that the majority of fatal shootings by Albuquerque officers between 2009-2012 were unconstitutional.
“This militarized police department we have here is a national problem,” said Kenneth Ellis II, whose son was fatally shot by Albuquerque police.
Protester Nora Anaya took over Council President Ken Sanchez’s seat and called a “People’s Council” meeting. Chief Eden fled the building after being served a citizen’s arrest warrant, followed by the quick exits of some council members and Sanchez eventually cancelling the meeting after calling a recess that failed to calm the tension in the building.
Included in the agenda for the original meeting was a proposal to curb the Mayor’s power to appoint police chiefs. No arrests were made that evening.
In a statement prepared on behalf of Eden, APD Janet Blair said:
“We understand there are those in our community who have expressed concerns about APD issues related to the Department of Justice report. We are working hard to make proactive improvements now and in conjunction with DOJ recommendations. While we welcome constructive discussions, we do not believe disruption of tonight’s city council meeting was a productive way to meet those goals.”
Albuquerque, NM- The Albuquerque Journal obtained audio of the interview conducted with former APD Officer Jeremy Dear two days after he fatally shot Mary Hawkes last April. The audio reveals that Dear said he realized that his lapel camera was unplugged immediately after he fired shots at Hawkes.
“I remember at the end, I was like oh (expletives)- my camera, it was unplugged,” Dear said. “I’ve had problems with it in the past. It comes unplugged and it won’t record.”
The Albuquerque Journal reported that Dear said he had told himself “Oh, I’m going to be in trouble for this.”
“I was scared to death. I don’t think I’ve ever been more scared in my life,” Dear also said in the interview. “I was afraid to die. I didn’t want to die. I have a girlfriend that I love very much. I have my 6-year-old son. I wanted to go home.”
The Albuquerque Police Department has never publicly acknowledged that Dear’s camera was unplugged before and during his pursuit of 19-year-old Hawkes, a suspected car thief. In a press conference held on April 23rd, two days after the shooting, Albuquerque Police Chief Gordon Eden said that footage of the chase and subsequent shooting could not be retrieved from Dear’s lapel camera and that the camera was being sent to the manufacturer for technical and forensic analysis.
When asked “Does that mean he [Dear] did or did not start it?” Eden responded, “That’s information we don’t know, that’s why we sent it to the experts to have them do a technical and forensic analysis of the on-body camera system.” Someone in the conference asked Eden “What does Officer Dear say to that question, I’m sure he’s been asked that?” Eden answered that “There are still witnesses that need to be interviewed, and hopefully we will know more information as this investigation continues.”
Taser International Inc., the camera’s manufacturer, stated in its analysis of Dear’s camera last year that the device had turned on and off several times late in 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.”
Dear’s partner at the time of the shooting, Tanner Tixier, was also interviewed. Tixier was asked if Dear recorded the shooting, and he said “I know he did not.”
“According to him, and this has happened before, I think, when he got out of the vehicle to go on a foot chase, that cord unplugged itself from the battery pack, which completely made his camera inoperable,” Tixier said.
In order to turn on the camera, Dear needed to push a button on the battery. According to The Albuquerque Journal, he said that he pushed the button as he was exiting his vehicle but he didn’t hear it beep so he was aware that it was not recording. “But I was more concerned about watching her running,” Dear said.
Dear was reportedly asked why his camera wasn’t turned on before chasing Hawkes, and he answered that the shooting, which occurred at around 5 a.m., was close to the end of his shift and had been worried about preserving battery life.
Dear shot and killed Mary Hawkes on April 21st, 2014 after Hawkes was allegedly spotted by police driving a truck that had been reported stolen April 10th. Hawkes allegedly abandoned the truck and was running from police when she was confronted by Dear before he shot her three times. According to the autopsy report on Hawkes, all three shots were fired from a downward trajectory. A report from the Office of the Medical Examiner 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.”
Dear said in his interview that while he was chasing Hawkes, he yelled “Stop” and she looked at him, making eye contact, before turning toward Dear. Dear said that Hawkes was about 5 feet away from him when she turned and pointed a gun at him. “She says, ‘don’t, don’t,’” Dear said. “I draw my gun out and come up on her and say, ‘Drop it, drop it.’ She doesn’t drop it, and I’m focused on the gun and I start firing my gun until she drops.”
Dear has claimed body camera errors in the past. In January 2013, Dear was accused of hitting a 22-year-old suspect “several times in his facial area with a closed fist.” Dear’s 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 filed a complaint accusing Dear of using excessive force during a traffic stop. The man alleged that Dear 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 accused of 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.
Dear was fired last December for “insubordination and untruthfulness” according to a statement from Eden, but did not directly cite the shooting of Hawkes as the primary reason for termination. Dear has appealed Eden’s decision.
Albuquerque, NM- The Albuquerque Police Department has reportedly refuted news station KOB’s disclosure of APD Officer Keith Sandy’s recorded remarks about shooting homeless man James Boyd hours before Boyd was ultimately shot by Sandy.
According to KOB’s Eyewitness News, APD believes that Officer Sandy said “I’m going to shoot him with a Taser shotgun in a second”, not “I’m going to shoot him in the penis with a shotgun here in a second.”
The trouble with the agency’s opinion about what was said on the tape involves Sandy’s own admittance to investigators. KOB was able to find audio and documentation of Sandy’s interview with APD investigators in April, in which Sandy had initially said that he’d made the “shoot him in the penis” statement as a joke. “Just kind of locker room banter,” Sandy had said. “[I] just told him, you know, ‘don’t worry; I’ll shoot him in the pecker with this and call it good.’”
Sandy also explained to investigators that officers in APD’s Repeat Offenders Program (ROP) the officers routinely make cruel jokes, crude enough to the point where officers adopted a safe word- China- to indicate a stop to the jokes.
The APD investigator asked “So, in regard to the joking statement, you said that you were – you told him that you were going to shoot him in the pecker with the Taser shotgun?” Sandy replied “Yes.”
However, KOB reports that after a break in questioning Sandy changed his story. “I received a phone call and asked if I talked to Chris or anybody,” said Sandy. “I’ve heard it from other people saying that I did say that, that it is on the tape…but I don’t recall saying that and pecker is not a word that I use.”
Both Chief Eden and Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry have been quiet concerning the audio tape and Sandy’s testimony, but Berry remarked to KOB’s Chris Ramirez “I think what strikes me is the fact that, as police officers, we expect our folks to treat people with respect and dignity.”
“What concerned me was the absolute unacceptable language that was used,” said Eden.
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.”
Albuquerque, NM- A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for August 3rd for Albuquerque police officer Dominique Perez and former APD officer Keith Sandy, who are facing charges for allegedly murdering a homeless camper. A judge will listen to testimony and decide whether or not there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.
The hearing had been originally scheduled for May 18th, but lawyers for both of the accused officers filed motions to reschedule. Luis Robles, Perez’s lawyer, filed a motion last month to vacate the May hearing so that Robles could go on a scheduled vacation with his family. Sam Bregman, Sandy’s lawyer, filed a motion to reschedule so that he could have more time to prepare for the hearing.
Perez and Sandy were charged by Bernalillo County District Attorney Kari Brandenburg in January for the March 2014 shooting of James Boyd, a mentally ill man who was fatally struck by bullets fired by Sandy and Perez during an hours-long standoff. Sandy and Perez were among several officers involved in attempting to remove Boyd from the foothills of the Sandia Mountains where he was reported to be illegally camping.
According to Boyd’s autopsy report, he was struck three times: one bullet his his upper right arm which required amputation; one bullet, which caused the most damage and was identified as the cause of Boyd’s death, hit his “lower left back that passed through the lower abdomen and exited the left armpit before re-entering the upper left arm”; and one more bullet struck his upper left arm. Video from a helmet camera at the scene, which captured Boyd appearing to surrender just before he was shot, caused the APD to fall under further scrutiny as protests ensued around the city. Lapel video from Sandy was reportedly never found.
The Justice Department informed the APD a month after Boyd’s death that there was probable cause to believe that the police department was repeatedly engaging “in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment.” Last May, protesters overtook a city council meeting and attempted to serve Police Chief Gorden Eden with a citizen’s arrest warrant in response to the findings of the report. The Justice Department and APD entered into an agreement to reform the police department’s practices last October.
Police dash cam audio that captured dialogue between Sandy and State Police Officer Chris Ware two hours before Boyd’s shooting sparked more outrage from citizens, as KOB-4 reported that in the audio recording Sandy had called Boyd a “f***ing lunatic” and said he was “going to shoot him in the penis with a shotgun here in a second.”
In a statement, Bregman said Sandy “had not only the right, but the duty to defend a fellow officer from a mentally unstable, violent man wielding two knives. Keith did nothing wrong. To the contrary, he followed his training and probably saved his fellow officer’s life.” Robles said that Perez “has been called upon to make life-altering decisions while protecting Albuquerque citizens and his fellow officers. And having made one of those decisions, Officer Perez now faces an open count of murder. Regardless, I am confident that the facts will vindicate Officer Perez’s actions in this case.”
Both attorneys have showed concern over which officer is responsible for the fatal bullet that killed Boyd. Both officers had used the same department-issued ammunition.
In April, Brandenburg was disqualified from prosecuting the case due to reported conflict of interest related to an investigation of Brandenburg for alleged witness intimidation and bribery, and Randi McGinn was later appointed as a special prosecutor. McGinn said that three of the six shots that were fired by Sandy and Perez hit Boyd, and that the first two shots were fired by Sandy. McGinn has requested independent lab review seeking to determine which officer fired the shot that killed Boyd. McGinn “expects to announce her charging decision after the test results come back in a few weeks.”
Just before internal affairs began questioning him last November, Sandy retired, managing to secure his retirement pension. Perez is still employed by APD on administrative assignment.
The Truth In Media Project has been following multiple reports of alleged police brutality and excessive use of force nationwide, including in Albuquerque. For more information about alleged police abuse in Albuquerque, click here. For more information about the James Boyd case, click here.
Albuquerque, NM- An investigation into the shooting of homeless man James Boyd has led to the release of police dash cam audio showing a verbal exchange two hours before the altercation including a statement from one of the shooting officers about wanting to harm Boyd.
Boyd was shot by APD officers Dominique Perez and Keith Sandy in March of this year following a prolonged standoff in the hills of Albuquerque where, according to police, Boyd was camping illegally. A video taken from an officer’s helmet camera shows Boyd gathering his belongings from his campsite before being shot at by a flashbang. The video also shows Boyd taking out what was described as a knife after the flashbang and not paying attention to orders to get down on the ground. Boyd was ultimately shot and died a day later.
The incident sparked criticism from civil rights activists and placed the APD under scrutiny, which was followed by a Justice Department report in April criticizing the police department’s “pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment and Section 14141.” Albuquerque Police chief Gorden Eden said the actions from the officers were justified.
The latest development in the Boyd shooting is audio of Sandy’s conversation with another officer, State Police Officer Chris Ware, captured on Ware’s dash cam from the scene of the standoff on March 16:
Sandy: What do they have you guys doing here?
Ware: I don’t know. The guy asked for state police.
Sandy: Who asked?
Ware: I don’t know.
Sandy: For this f***ing lunatic? I’m going to shoot him in the penis with a shotgun here in a second.
Ware: You got uh, less-lethal?
Sandy: I got…
Ware: The Taser shotgun?
Sandy: Yeah. Ware: Oh, I thought you guys got rid of those?
Sandy: ROP’s got one…here’s what we’re thinking, because I don’t know what’s going on, nobody has briefed me…
Shannon Kennedy, a civil rights lawyer representing Boyd’s family, said that the audio provides evidence that Sandy had violent intentions and followed through with them. “It’s chilling evidence and stunning that he has not been criminally indicted. He says to a state police officer ‘that f’ing lunatic, I’m going to shoot him in the penis.’ It’s crystal clear and he says it with contempt in his voice,” said Kennedy.
During an internal investigation of the shooting. Sandy had dismissed the conversation saying it was “Jokingly, just kind of locker room banter, just told him, you know, ‘Don’t worry. I’ll shoot him in the pecker with this and call it good’.” Sandy later recanted and said he didn’t think he had said anything of the sort to Ware.
Before Sandy joined the APD, he was fired by New Mexico State Police in 2007 for “double-dipping”, allegedly being paid by a private contractor to teach classes while he was also being paid by police to take classes. He remains on administrative leave and has retained his gun and badge.