Albuquerque police Officer Jeremy Dear is facing termination, said Thomas Grover, Dear’s attorney. The recommendation is the result of an internal affairs investigation into several issues surrounding Dear, including his history of lapel camera policy violations.
Dear was placed on administrative assignment after he shot Mary Hawkes in April near Zuni SE and Wyoming. Dear’s camera wasn’t recording when he shot Hawkes, and a review of whether he didn’t turn it on, or whether the camera malfunctioned was inconclusive, according to a report from Taser International, the company that made Dear’s camera. APD officials have said Dear told them he turned on the camera.
According to police accounts, Dear has said that Hawkes, a suspected car thief, was armed with a handgun and pointed it at him during a foot chase. Footage from lapel cameras of other officers who responded after the shooting showed a gun on the ground next to Hawkes’ body.
Grover said police are “bootstrapping” numerous issues against his client in the wake of a high-profile shooting. He said neither he nor Dear have been notified that the IA investigation into whether Dear acted improperly when he shot Hawkes has started.
The Hawkes shooting wasn’t the first time there were questions about the Dear’s lapel camera. He was involved in two arrests in 2013 during which he used force against a suspect and no recording of the arrest was made, according to Journal archives.
And KOAT-TV reported that a review of Dear’s personnel file found other incidents in which Dear’s lapel camera didn’t record an interaction that should have been taped.
APD officers in the field are required to use their cameras to record most of their interactions with residents.
In August, Dear became the target of an internal affairs investigation in connection with several policy issues, Grover said.
Grover said he and Dear had a Loudermill hearing in front of Chief Gorden Eden on Monday. A Loudermill hearing provides government employees an opportunity to tell their side of the story before they face serious discipline, Grover said.
Eden hasn’t made a decision on what type of discipline Dear will face, Grover said.
An APD spokesman Friday couldn’t comment on the internal affairs investigation, and police union officials couldn’t be reached for comment.
Eden has approved the termination of two officers since he took over as chief in February, according to a review of termination letters.
Gil Vigil was fired in April in connection to a police response to suspected child abuse. No incident report was filed, and 9-year-old Omaree Varela, the suspected victim, later died as a result of suspected child abuse. Vigil’s attorney has said his client planned to appeal the firing.
Michael Parrish was fired in July for numerous policy violations that included lack of familiarity with laws, insubordination, failure to report for duty, not responding promptly to calls and not writing reports.