Tag Archives: Albuquerque

Former APD Officer Jeremy Dear Interview: Camera Was Unplugged, Not An Internal Error

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.

 

Last updated February 10th, 2015, 2:44 p.m.

Two Albuquerque Officers Charged With Murder Of Homeless Camper

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):

Audio from Sandy’s dash camera had also been released of Sandy’s conversation with State Police Officer Chris Ware regarding Boyd from the scene of the standoff before the shooting:

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…

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”.

 

APD Investigation Continues After Officer Who Shot 19-Year-Old Claimed Third Body Camera Error

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.”

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