Former APD officer cleared in Mary Hawkes death
J.R. Oppenheim and Caleb James
February 22, 2018 10:19 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A team of special prosecutors has cleared a former Albuquerque Police Department officer in the shooting death of 19-year-old Mary Hawkes.
In a letter sent to interim Albuquerque Police Chief Mike Geier dated Tuesday, the prosecutors said it's impossible to prove that Jeremy Dear did not believe Hawkes posed a threat when Dear opened fire and killed Hawkes in April 2014.
As a result, no charges will be filed and the case is now closed.
Second Judicial District Special Prosecutor Michael Cox confirmed to KOB that Dear will face no charges. As part of the investigation, special prosecutors reviewed thousands of documents and multimedia, as well as met with detectives, investigators and family members involved in the case.
Tragic as it was it was a garden variety deadly force encounter, I'm glad the DA's office saw it for what it was," said Dear's lawyer, Thomas Grover. "We also want to open up a dialogue with the city and say it's time to make this officer whole and rectify the actions the previous administration had done."
Police suspected Hawkes tried to steal a pickup truck but fled from police. Dear encountered Hawkes in the area of Wyoming and Zuni but a cinder block wall led to only one path where Hawkes could flee.
As Dear got closer to Hawkes, the prosecutors wrote, Hawkes pointed a gun at him. She did not follow Dear's order to lower the weapon, the letter states, and Dear fired five shots. Three shots hit Hawkes, killing her.
Hawkes did not fire at Dear, the letter states.
To convict Dear, the state would have to prove a reasonable doubt that Hawkes did not possess a gun at the time Dear shot her.
"After an exhaustive review of all the evidence, we have been unable to find any evidence -- no witness, no physical evidence, no video evidence, that he planted the gun," the letter to Geier states. "The jury, confronted with the substantial evidence that Mary Hawkes threatened the officers with a gun, and an absence of any evidence to contradict that fact, would be forced to conclude that Officer Dear acted in self-defense, that the shooting was justified, and they would acquit."
When KOB contacted Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Gilbert Gallegos for a response to the decision, he replied, "No comment."
The Bernalillo District Attorney's Office must accept the decision of special prosecutor Cox, but spokesman Michael Patrick said Thursday that District Attorney Raul Torrez may decide to forward the case to state prosecutors for a second opinion.
The City of Albuquerque settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the Hawkes family over her death, agreeing to pay $5 million. Dear did not have his body camera on at the time he shot Hawkes, and no other officers had video of the shooting.
Dear was eventually fired following internal affairs investigations regarding his lapel camera usage.
J.R. Oppenheim and Caleb James
Updated: February 22, 2018 10:19 PM
Created: February 22, 2018 06:25 PM
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