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Officer who shot Mary Hawkes fired for insubordination

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque police officer Jeremy Dear, who fatally shot a 19-year-old woman suspected of stealing a truck in April, was fired Monday for insubordination and untruthfulness, according to Albuquerque Police Department Chief Gorden Eden.

Jeremy Dear

DEAR: Didn’t comply with lapel camera policy

Eden didn’t elaborate on the specific instances of insubordination or untruthfulness. Instead, he issued a statement through his spokesman: “Insubordination tears at the fabric of public safety, especially when the officer makes a choice not to follow a lawful order.”

The department has a policy requiring all officers to record every time they have contact with a citizen. Eden said in an emailed statement that Dear was under that order and didn’t comply.

Dear’s attorney, Thomas Grover, contends APD unfairly targeted Dear for violating its lapel camera policy – and that the policy is impossible for any officer to fully comply with.

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He said he did not believe Dear would have been targeted if not for the high-profile shooting involving Mary Hawkes. Dear is appealing his firing.

In April, police say Dear shot and killed Hawkes after she pulled a gun on him following a foot chase. There is no recording from Dear’s lapel camera of the incident.

Mary Hawkes

HAWKES: Her shooting death wasn’t recorded

A report from the camera manufacturer said it was undetermined whether the camera malfunctioned or if Dear turned it off. APD officials have said Dear told them he turned on the camera.

Grover said Monday that APD didn’t fire Dear following an internal affairs investigation into the shooting. It fired Dear based on a separate APD internal affairs investigation it launched in August into his use of lapel cameras.

APD didn’t detail which incidents it looked at.

Dear has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting.

“I think he made a good faith effort to use his lapel cam as much as he could,” Grover said. “If they did an audit of every field officer who has a lapel camera, I think they would find 100 percent noncompliance. It’s just not possible to use the camera all the time. You’re going to have a margin of error.”

Grover said Dear wasn’t notified of the order that the camera be turned on for all contacts, and even if he was, no officer would be able to fully comply.

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A Journal review of his personnel file shows that, before the Hawkes shooting, Dear didn’t record two other use-of-force incidents nor two other citizen complaints.

Grover said the number of citizen complaints in Dear’s file are the result of working a lot of extra hours, so he had more contact with citizens than the average patrol officer.

Grover said Dear’s appeal, which was mailed Monday morning, alleges that the department has no evidence to support its claims.

Critics of the department have long argued that while requiring officers to record citizen contact is a good policy, APD has not strictly enforced it.

The U.S. Department of Justice, after finding the department violates citizens’ rights through excessive use of force, is requiring APD to update its lapel camera policy.

Greg Gaudette, attorney for the Hawkes family, called Dear’s firing “long overdue, but a step in the right direction.”

The Hawkes family has not filed suit against Dear or the department.

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