Hawkes family settles wrongful death suit with city, former officer | KOB 4
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Hawkes family settles wrongful death suit with city, former officer

J.R. Oppenheim
January 17, 2018 05:14 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The family of a woman killed in a police shooting has settled a lawsuit filed against the City of Albuquerque and the former officer who pulled the trigger.

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Shannon Kennedy, the attorney for the Mary Hawkes family, confirmed the settlement to KOB on Wednesday afternoon. APD Communications Director Gilbert Gallegos said the city agreed to pay the family $5 million to settle the claims.

"We are glad to see a resolution to this longstanding claim," he said.

In April 2014, then-Albuquerque Police Department officer Jeremy Dear shot and killed the 19-year-old Hawkes, who was suspected of stealing a vehicle. Dear did not have his lapel camera rolling because the camera was unplugged, and none of the other officers responding captured video of the incident.

That prompted the Hawkes family to sue the both Dear and the city.

This settlement is global, meaning Dear won't have to pay anything individually. The City of Albuquerque will foot the entire payout to the Hawkes family. Kennedy sent this statement to KOB:

The loss of Mary continues to be a tragedy that the Hawkes family suffers. Jeremy Dear took all that Mary could have been away from her and from those who loved her. Like any family that has suffered tragic loss, the Hawkes have lived with the burden of wondering what they could have done to save their daughter and sister. The family is very grateful that the city also recognizes that burden and is moving forward in the same spirit of accountability.

In the Hawkes family’s quest for answers about Dear’s killing of Mary on April 21, 2014, they have sought the truth and to ensure no family suffer a similar loss. The Hawkes are confident that this administration will work to improve the culture of our police department, protecting both officers and the public, so that similar tragedies are prevented and, in the rare instances where they are not, any investigation seeks to uncover the truth.

The family supports law enforcement and they hope to collaborate in the future with anyone who shares their support. To facilitate overdue change, the Hawkes are committed to donating a significant percentage of the settlement to organizations that prioritize crisis intervention training for law enforcement and that support the transition of foster children into adulthood.

Dear had claimed Hawkes pointed a gun at him, but the lack of video evidence couldn't prove it. The other six officers at the scene said they had problems such as a dead battery or forgetting to turn the cameras on. Last October, Judge Nan Nash determined APD acted negligently by not preserving the video evidence of the shooting.

APD eventually fired Dear after two internal affairs investigations over his body camera use. He currently has a lawsuit against former APD Chief Gorden Eden.

Dear fought his termination and a labor board initially reinstated him. However, the city appealed that ruling and a judge last week upheld APD's decision to fire Dear.

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J.R. Oppenheim

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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