Albuquerque police officer Jeremy Dear – whose body camera was unplugged when he killed a woman in 2014 – claimed he was in fear for his life because she had pointed a gun at him.
Now newly surfaced evidence shows Mary Hawkes’ fingerprints or DNA was never on the gun, which Albuquerque police knew all along.
But they had justified the shooting because they said they had traced the gun to a man who once exchanged Facebook messages with the woman.
In May 2014, Albuquerque police say Officer Jeremy Dear was chasing Hawkes, a suspected car thief, on foot when she turned and pointed a .32-caliber pistol. Dear opened fire and Hawkes died.
A lawsuit filed by Hawkes’ family claimed that there were no fingerprints and no evidence to tie Hawkes to that gun. Nearly 1,000 newly-released pages say officers knew days after the incident that there were no fingerprints but that the department had other evidence to tie Hawkes to the pistol.
According to the report, APD had previously looked into that gun and traced it to a man who had exchanged Facebook messages with Hawkes. In another message, the report said someone else accused Hawkes of stealing a pistol.
It was enough for APD to believe that was the gun Hawkes pointed at Dear. But her godmother, Carolina Acuna Olvera, who lives in California, said nothing will convince her that Hawkes deserved to die.
Dear, who was fired for failing to have his body camera on during this incident and several other incidents, was rehired after he appealed the decision, so he is still patrolling the streets with his camera, even though he never has it on during questionable incidents.
“Seeing the gun coming at me, looking down the barrel, her finger on the trigger, I thought I was going to die,” he told investigators. “I was afraid to die. I didn’t want to die. I have a girlfriend that I love very much. I have my son, my 6-year-old son. I want to go home.”
Police were looking for her in connection with a stolen car. Dear said he was running after Hawkes when she turned around with a gun.
“I said, ‘Drop it, drop it.’ The gun was still pointed at me. I fired until she dropped,” he said.
When asked if he had lapel camera video of the shooting, Dear said it was unplugged.
“I remember at the end, I was like oh (expletives), my camera, it was unplugged,” he said. “I mean, I’ve had problems in the past, they come unplugged, you catch that little cord on something and it snags out.”
Considering his body camera once caught him in a lie, it is understandable why he does not like to keep it turned on.
In 2011, Dear was at the scene when another cop shot an unarmed man named Alan Gomez. Dear later told investigators he thought he saw a gun in Gomez’s hands.
But his body camera recorded him saying he was unable to see Gomez’s hands.