An investigation that began back in April determined that Officer Jeremy Dear’s camera was intentionally disabled right before he shot and killed Mary Hawkes, 19. Now, Albuquerque Police Chief Eden has fired Officer Dear, as part of what is being called a “zero tolerance” policy on police camera use during citizen interactions.
Officer Dear says that he is being treated unfairly, but in three separate incidences, Dear has claimed that his body camera has malfunctioned. In each of these incidences the Albuquerque cop has used force against a suspect. This latest case involves the shooting of a 19-year-old teenage girl.
The personnel file for Officer Dear says that in January 2013, his camera “malfunctioned” during the course of him “breaking up” a fight, in which Dear “did strike (the 22-year-old suspect) several times in his facial area with a closed fist.”
Officer Dear said the man was “resisting arrest.” He wanted his supervisors and the people of Albuquerque to believe that this was just a strange coincidence that his bodycam malfunctioned during the fight, even though it appeared to be in perfect working order upon inspection. His camera was never turned on during the encounter. Procedure is to turn on the camera when engaging in such a contact with citizens. He says he tried to turn it on but it just didn’t seem to work.
Only one month after this, Officer pulled a man over for speeding. That man filed a complaint, saying that he was kicked in the groin by the officer who dragged him from his vehicle. He also said that he deliberately put on handcuffs too tight, causing injury to him, even when the suspect protested and explained the pain he was in from the abusive use of the handcuffs.
But now Officer Dear has once again experienced technical difficulties during his shooting and killing of 19-year-old Mary Hawkes.
After a foot chase on April 21, 2014, Hawkes was said to have pointed a gun at Officer Dear. That sounds like he was in the right to use lethal force against her. But the problem is – once again – his bodycam mysteriously malfunctioned.