The Albuquerque Police Department is still unable to produce video of the officer-involved fatal shooting of Mary Hawkes earlier this week.
At a press conference Wednesday morning, APD Chief Gorden Eden said the city and state police, the District Attorney’s Office and an independent review officer are conducting an active investigation on Hawkes’ shooting.
On Monday, APD officer Jeremy Dear shot dead Hawkes, 19, at the intersection of Zuni and Wyoming.
Eden said that although Dear wore an on-body camera during the encounter, police were unable to recover video from the device. Eden said he could not confirm whether Dear turned off his camera before the shooting or whether the device malfunctioned.
“It’s important for us to let the investigation run its course,” Eden said. “At any officer-involved shooting, on-scene supervisors and on-scene personnel provide preliminary information. At this time, we have no video of the shooting as it has not been recovered from Officer Dear’s on-body camera system. We have sent the system to the manufacturer for technical and forensic analysis.”
APD policy requires officers to turn on an on-body camera in every encounter they have with people, Eden said. Not doing so entails penalties ranging from a letter of reprimand to suspension.
Eden said Dear shot Hawkes after police spotted her driving a stolen Ford pickup truck at about 3 a.m. that day. Police later located the car abandoned and found Hawkes’ identification inside. They located Hawkes at a trailer park southwest of Zuni Road and Wyoming Boulevard.
Eden said police attempted to talk to Hawkes, but she fled from the park and, as she was being chased, she allegedly pointed a gun at Dear, Eden said. Dear allegedly shot Hawkes in retaliation, and the woman died at the scene.
Police found a Davis Industries 32-caliber semi-automatic handgun near Hawkes’ body, Eden said. Eden showed a replica of the gun in the press conference.
Eden declined to identify how many shots were fired at Hawkes and where she was shot.
APD confirmed that Monday’s incident was Dear’s first officer-involved shooting.
Police were able to recover on-body camera footage from other officers at the perimeter, but Eden said the department has not finished reviewing all the videos yet. Dear’s camera was the only one from which police could not recover footage among all of the officers’ present in the perimeter, Eden said.
Eden said APD’s on-body cameras have malfunctioned in the past. He said the cameras’ manufacturer will be charged to provide a concrete explanation of the possible technical failure of Dear’s device.
“Anytime you get into the technology ground, there are issues,” he said. “It’s similar to your cell phone. You buy it, you never intend for it to drop calls… The technology is good, but I know that’s why we had to send this back to the manufacturer and made them determine the issue for us and for the officer-involved shooting.”
Eden said APD has forwarded investigation materials to the Department of Justice for further investigation. He said APD is still interviewing witnesses of the shooting, which includes other police officers at the scene of the shooting and does not have a specific timeline for the investigation yet.
The press conference was not open to general members of the public. Protesters rallied outside of the APD headquarters as the conference went on.
Sayrah Namaste, a community organizer who attended the protest, said she does not buy Eden’s alibis.
“I don’t believe the police,” she said. “I don’t think the police has credibility. They’re not giving answers, they’re not releasing the videos. I think the average person in Albuquerque doesn’t believe APD at this point.”
Tylina Hardy, another community organizer in the event, said that because this is the third officer-involved fatal shooting in the city in five weeks, she is angry at police. She said APD should conduct a more credible investigation.
“This is the third shooting in just over a month,” she said. “Officer Dear is a convicted liar. He was named personally in the DOJ report for lying about other officer-involved shootings… And he seems to be the only person they’re taking information from.”
On March 16, APD shot dead James Boyd, a homeless man who was illegally camping in the Sandia foothills, as he was turning away from officers. On March 25, police shot dead Alfred Redwine, a man who allegedly threatened two teenagers with a gun in an apartment complex at Central Avenue and 60th Street.
Hardy said that although the recent shootings were tragic, they have brought national and international attention to what she says is APD’s issue of excessive police force.
“I feel really horrible saying it, but maybe it’s a blessing in disguise,” she said. “They have tried to sweep Redwine under the table, but they’re not going to be able to sweep this under the rug.”