An investigation that has been underway found that Officer Jeremy Dear’s camera was intentionally disabled immediately before he shot and killed Mary Hawkes, 19. But in spite of these findings, and the fact that Albuquerque Police Chief Eden fired Officer Dear – part of what he called a “zero tolerance” policy on police camera use during citizen interactions – Dear has been rehired.
In three separate incidences, Officer Dear has blamed his body camera for “malfunctioning.”
In each of these incidences, he has used force against a suspect.
The most recently case involves the shooting of the 19-year-old teenage girl, Ms. Hawkes.
The personnel file for Officer Dear says that, his camera “malfunctioned” during the course of him “breaking up” a fight, in which Dear “did strike (the 22-year-old suspect) several times in his facial area with a closed fist.”
Officer Dear said the man was “resisting arrest.” He wanted his supervisors and the people of Albuquerque to believe that this was just a strange coincidence that his bodycam malfunctioned during the fight, even though it appeared to be in perfect working order upon inspection. His camera was never turned on during the encounter. Procedure is to turn on the camera when engaging in such a contact with citizens. He says he tried to turn it on but it just didn’t seem to work.
Only one month after this, Officer pulled a man over for speeding. That man filed a complaint, saying that he was kicked in the groin by the officer who dragged him from his vehicle. He also said that he deliberately put on handcuffs too tight, causing injury to him, even when the suspect protested and explained the pain he was in from the abusive use of the handcuffs.
But now Officer Dear has once again experienced technical difficulties during his shooting and killing of 19-year-old Mary Hawkes.
After a foot chase, Hawkes was said to have pointed a gun at Officer Dear. That sounds like he was in the right to use lethal force against her. But the problem is – once again – his bodycam mysteriously malfunctioned.
To complicate things, the autopsy report says that all three gunshots were fired on Hawkes from a downward trajectory, indicating that officer Dear was actually standing over the teenage girl when he killed her.
Watch the original report on the incident in the video below…
Now, Thomas Grover, the lawyer for Officer Dear, has countered “if they fire every officer who doesn’t turn on his uniform camera, they won’t have anyone left on the department.”
He made no mention of the fact that Dear has continuously pulled this while engaging in the use of force against citizens.
The Chief 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.”
Watch the local report below for more on the firing…
Now, Dear has been reinstated to his job on a 3-2 vote of the city’s Personnel Board – a decision denounced by the city’s chief administrative officer as “crazy.”
This decision overturned Chief Gorden Eden’s decision to terminate Officer Dear.
While the board overturned the firing, they said that Dear had violated APD policy and voted for a 90-day suspension. Do you think this is enough?
(Article by M. David and Jackson Marciana)