Albuquerque police officials were unable to recover lapel-camera footage from an APD officer who shot and killed a 19-year-old woman Monday morning, Police Chief Gorden Eden said at a news conference Wednesday.
Eden stopped short of calling the lack of footage a malfunction, and he declined to say whether officer Jeremy Dear told investigators that he turned the camera on, saying that more witnesses need to be interviewed. He said the camera is being sent to the manufacturer, TASER International Inc., for forensic analysis to see if it functioned properly.
The chief also gave a few more details about what prompted the chase and where it went, but he said that many things were still under investigation, including how many times Mary Hawkes was shot, what type of weapon Dear used and how many shots were fired.
Eden did say that a .32 caliber, semiautomatic handgun was found near Hawkes’ body, and he shared a picture of the gun. He said that the department has asked the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to help determine where the gun came from.
He would not say whether the gun was loaded, saying that a forensic analysis had not been completed. He said a Tuesday homicide in the Northeast Heights could have tied up resources needed for the analysis.
Eden did not show video from any of the fellow officers who were at or near the scene of the shooting and declined to say whether any other officer’s video captures the shooting itself.
“We know that the technology is not 100 percent foolproof,” he said. “…We do know that we do have some video. We have not seen all the video.”
Eden said APD policy calls for officers to activate their lapel camera every time they interact with the public.
“There are consequences for not turning on the on-body camera system, which can include everything from a letter of reprimand to a suspension,” Eden said.
Eden said the callout happened after police spotted Hawkes driving a stolen Ford F-150 pickup truck at 3 a.m. An officer tailed her, but she disappeared.
Later, the officer spotted the truck abandoned and identified Hawkes through items left inside the truck, Eden said. The truck was reported stolen April 10, he said.
The officer then found a prior address of Hawkes, at a nearby trailer park, and set up a perimeter. Sometime between 5 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. a police SUV blocked the only entrance to the trailer park and another police SUV drove through the park, announcing over a loudspeaker for everyone to stay in their homes and close windows and doors, said James Tull, who is staying in the park.
Police “said they were going to turn the dogs loose,” Tull said.
Chris Trammell, who manages the trailer park, said multiple residents saw Hawkes jump the park’s east wall and run across Wyoming minutes before shots were heard. He said Hawkes has never been a resident at the park.
Hawkes encountered Dear on the east side of Wyoming. Eden said “preliminary evidence” suggests Hawkes pulled out the handgun and pointed it at Dear, but he would not say where that evidence came from.
Albuquerque police did not respond to a request for comment from Dear himself.
Eden said APD, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, New Mexico State Police, the District Attorney’s Office and an independent review officer are investigating the shooting, and that detectives still have to interview police officers and other people who may have witnessed it.
In addition to the multiagency investigation into the shooting, Eden said Dear will be the subject of an internal affairs investigation. Eden didn’t say if APD internal affairs has investigated Dear before.
About a dozen protesters gathered out front of police headquarters during the news conference to decry the department’s 24th fatal officer-involved shooting since 2010. It’s also APD’s first fatal shooting of a woman in at least 10 years.
The shooting was also the department’s third in five weeks and the first after the Department of Justice issued a report on what it described as unconstitutional policing by APD. The report sharply criticized the department’s use of lethal and less-than-lethal force, and the city and the DOJ are beginning to negotiate a court-enforceable agreement to bring about reforms to the department.