Officer Jeremy Dear, who has a history of malfunctioning body cameras, shot and killed 19-year-old Mary Hawkes in the early morning hours of April 21, 2014 — an incident not captured on video thanks to another apparent equipment malfunction. Dear had repeatedly claimed Hawkes presented an imminent threat to his life when she pointed a gun at him after a pursuit for alleged car theft — but new evidence makes that claim highly suspicious.
Newly revealed documents cited by local ABC affiliate KOAT, say no DNA or fingerprints were found on the firearm Hawkes putatively pointed at Dear — but Albuquerque police have known this since the incident.
Simply put, Albuquerque police confirmed the story that Dear had been threatened by the weapon Hawkes supposedly wielded on the now-fired officer — despite the lack of physical evidence from the weapon, itself.
But according to the Albuquerque Journal, “the reports state that police believed there was sufficient evidence to link the gun to Hawkes, 19, through a series of her Facebook messages and friends. Police considered the case ‘exceptionally cleared’ and sent the case to the District Attorney’s Office for review without recommending any charges be filed against Dear. The DA’s office is still reviewing the case.”
Police felt the fact Hawkes had messaged back and forth with the man they traced the gun to, and that other messages accused Hawkes of stealing the man’s gun, were sufficient to conclude that was indeed the weapon she’d pointed at Dear.
Several concerns in the case haven’t been explained, however, and the release of what the Journal termed “hundreds” of police documents present fresh questions.
Police had originally said of the incident Hawkes was spotted by Officer Sonny Molina earlier in the evening driving a truck that didn’t belong to her — though the vehicle was later found to belong to a man the teen had been staying with for weeks.
Police cornered Hawkes in a trailer park, but she refused to listen to their commands, instead jumping a wall to flee. Dear pursued her on foot.
Police claimed Hawkes stopped, turned, and pointed a weapon at Dear, who then shot and killed her as he feared for his life — though his body camera somehow became unplugged and failed to capture the shooting.
According to the Journal, the attorney for Hawkes’ family in the case, Shannon Kennedy, said an expert they hired for the lawsuit over her death found the teen must have “been falling toward the ground when she was shot at a downward angle through the left ear, arm, and back.”
Further lending suspicion to the official police story, on advice of his attorneys, Dear invoked the Fifth Amendment more than 100 times throughout his deposition for the family’s civil suit, which claimed the now-known lack of fingerprints and DNA on the weapon in question.
Dear was later fired by the department over the repeated insubordination in failing to activate his lapel camera in nearly half of all encounters with civilians, including the shooting of Hawkes. Describing the April malfunction, in the aftermath of having shot Hawkes, Dear said:
“I remember at the end, I was like oh [expletives], my camera, it was unplugged. I mean I’ve had problems in the past, they come unplugged, you catch that little cord on something and it snags out.”
Dear surmised that’s exactly what happened at some point as he pursued Hawkes.
Internal affairs launched an investigation into the officer’s repeated failure to use his lapel camera, and Police Chief Gordon Eden fired Dear over the issue, saying he had been ordered to record ‘each and every’ encounter with the public.
Dear disputed his termination, and his appeal to the city’s personnel board was affirmed, reinstating the officer to his position.
Although the city has retorted with its own appeal of the board’s decision, Dear now remains an active-duty officer patrolling the streets — despite his penchant for failing to record questionable incidents, reported by The Free Thought Project in 2014.
Hawkes’ distraught family doesn’t understand how Dear could still be on the job or how he hasn’t been held accountable for their loved one’s suspicious death.
“I’m absolutely outraged that there has not been a trial for Jeremy Dear,” said Hawkes’ godmother, Carolina Acuna Olvera. “Absolutely outraged whether they found guns, whether they found fingerprints or not that she was shot several times by this officer. That she was murdered.”