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Estate of Mary Hawkes files civil lawsuit against city of Albuquerque

Blair Miller, KOB.com and Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4
March 01, 2016 10:24 PM

The estate of Mary Hawkes, who was shot and killed by Albuquerque Police Department Officer Jeremy Dear in April 2014, has filed a lawsuit against the city of Albuquerque claiming the city and police department violated the state constitution by negligently training and retaining Dear after multiple violations of standard operating procedure.

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The civil lawsuit was filed Tuesday by Kennedy, Kennedy & Ives LLC in Second Judicial District Court in Albuquerque.

Hawkes' family and attorneys claim that APD's failure to properly discipline Dear for his multiple violations of the department's lapel camera policy and contributed to Hawkes' endangerment and death by allowing him to remain on the force.

It also implicates APD Chief Gorden Eden for "readily" accepting Dear's "wholly implausible explanation of the killing" despite firing him months later for "insubordination and dishonesty."

The suit points to a news conference Eden held days after Hawkes' shooting death in which Eden held up a gun he claimed was similar to the one police said Hawkes was holding at the time she was shot.

The suit also brings into question Dear's account of what happened before and when he shot Hawkes.

The family's attorneys hired a ballistics expert to reconstruct the scene and gunshot analysis, which they attorneys said the city never did.

That expert, Craig Fries, delivered multiple diagrams based off of OMI reports of Hawkes' death.

One shows the trajectory of bullets that would have been fired by Dear, according to his account that she was pointing a gun directly at him when he fired at her.

She was shot three times: once through the ear and down through the next, once through her arm and then through her torso, and once through her neck.

The reconstruction shows, according to the attorneys, that it is impossible she was facing and pointing a gun at Dear when he shot her. Two of the wounds had sharp downward trajectories that could not have occurred if she was standing up, facing him.

Another reconstruction by Fries shows what Hawkes' body position would have been when she was shot, according to her wounds.

That reconstruction shows that she was falling forward, bent over slightly and "not a threat," according to the suit, when Dear shot her – a main point in the attorneys' argument.

"It is clear, undisputed, material fact that she was running away from Officer Dear when he shot her and she was collapsing to the ground when he fatally shot her," said attorney Shannon Kennedy.

The suit also goes on to say that at some point after Dear was reassigned to different duties, he allegedly told a man the reason he was on that detail was because he shot that "f---ing b----" – referring to Hawkes.

"Jeremy Dear said something to the effect of that shooting of the girl in April. And he's like yeah, yeah, I heard about that. Well that was me and I'm doing this job now because of that f---ing b----," Kennedy said.

Fries also believes someone may have moved Hawkes body. He and attorneys compared two screenshots from a different APD officer's lapel camera at the scene. One showed Hawkes' body against the wall, while another taken seconds later shows her body feet from the wall.

"How did her body move?  Because she has been shot through the head and there are all kind of crime scene photos showing an enormous pool of blood and a pool of urine," Kennedy said. "And then you have a gun to the south of her that has absolutely no DNA evidence on it?"

Both the lawsuit and the expert's report question whether the gun was planted.

"How did that gun get on the ground? There is no fiber analysis, there is no fingerprint analysis. The DNA testing done on the gun did not link it to Mary Hawkes. How did that gun get on the ground?  Where did that gun come from?"

The city's personnel board voted 3-2 in November to reinstate Dear after a 90-day suspension. He has been appealing his firing for nearly two years. APD has said it does not support he reinstatement.

The city says it had not yet seen the independent report or lawsuit filed Tuesday. The Hawkes family said in the lawsuit that if they are awarded any money, they want to donate a substantial amount to nonprofit organizations and churches that assist troubled youth trying to get back on the right path.


Credits

Blair Miller, KOB.com and Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Copyright 2016 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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