Lapel Video Unavailable in Third Fatal Albuquerque Police Shooting in Past Month

shot by copvia KOATPolice in Albuquerque, New Mexico, shot and killed 19-year-old suspected car thief Mary Hawkes after she allegedly pulled a gun out at officers. It may have been just another police shooting in America but for it being the third one in Albuquerque in the last month and the first since a scathing Department of Justice (DOJ) report on civil rights violations and brutality in the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).

The DOJ report stopped short of holding any actual police officers accountable for the pattern and practice of constitutional violations. But the fatal shooting of Hawkes highlights the necessity of holding police officers to a high standard and penalizing them up to the point of termination for poor conduct, even if that conduct doesn't rise to the level of actual crime.

Too often, cops are not accused of crimes, because such an accusation requires a determination be made by a prosecutor who almost always relies on cooperation from police to pursue other cases. Prosecutors, then, aren't usually interested in prosecuting cops. So-called officer-involved shootings often end with investigations partly or wholly undertaken by the departments to which the cops under investigation belong, with prosecutors declining to prosecute or failing to make a case to indict to a grand jury.

By the account of the APD, the shooting of Hawkes appears arguably justifiable. No narrative from the family, which includes her foster father, a former judge and cop, or anyone else has emerged to contradict the police's story. Yet, unsurprisingly, doubts remain about what happened, because a decades-long pattern of abuse and brutality at the department—while police continue to duck accountability for any wrongdoing—has eroded any constructive relationship the police may have with the community. In this particular shooting, the police chief, Gordon Eden, said lapel video from Jeremy Dear, the officer who killed Hawkes, could not be recovered and that officers who fail to activate their lapel cams could face letters of reprimand or suspensions.

If the APD hopes to ever restore its relationship with the community and its very integrity, it will have to treat cops who fail to follow procedure and then kill in the line of duty far more harshly. Dear may or may not have erred in shooting Hawkes, but he erred in not activating his lapel camera every time he went on duty. That negligence has now contributed to uncertainty about the shooting, further wrecking the reputation of the APD and exacerbating the pattern or practice of abuse, brutality, and corruption in Albuquerque that the DOJ reported on to  just two weeks ago. Dear may or may not belong in jail. His dereliction of duty, however, ought to already preclude him from continued employment with the APD. 

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • RFID||

    Hans Brix will be very angry with the officer? And he will send him a letter, telling him how angry he is?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Hans Blix? Oh, no!

  • Aloysious||

    The DOJ report stopped short of holding any actual police officers accountable...

    Then whatthefuck good was it?

  • Swiss Servator, Käse, Käse!||

    "0"

  • Mr.Krinkle||

    Forgot to turn it on? Or remembered to erase that data file?

  • Loki||

    Or remembered to erase that data file?

    Some of the cameras are supposed to be "tamper proof". Although someone, somewhere has access to the data and can tamper with it.

  • Invisible Finger||

    We can listen in to police band radio, shouldn't we have a couple hundred live police cams we can look at?

  • tarran||

    How many of these asswipes forget to turn on their radios before going out on patrol?

  • Tonio||

    Zero. Because they might need to call for backup. Or miss the "hot now" light going on at Dunkin' Donuts.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    I just learned about that at Krispy Kreme. It's a game changer.

  • Brett L||

    2 dozen hot, fresh doughnuts doesn't feel like 7000 calories.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    I have them with a liter of Mountain Dew to ensure that I throw up afterward.

  • The Last American Hero||

    If the cops start seeing perps not getting convicted because they forgot to turn the camera on, they will learn pretty quickly to turn the the thing on.

  • tarran||

    In Massachusetts they went a different direction.

    They banned the cameras.

  • croaker||

    No video means nothing the police say can be corroborated and can be discounted in court.

  • Loki||

    lapel video from Jeremy Dear, the officer who killed Hawkes, could not be recovered

    Shocked face.

    Get used to seeing this as lapel cameras become more common place. And then nothing else will happen.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The DOJ report stopped short of holding any actual police officers accountable for the pattern and practice of constitutional violations.

    Hold someone accountable, and the entire edifice of civilization will topple.

  • creech||

    Hey, the continual stress of not knowing if you are going to go home safe that night is enough to make any LEO forget his lapel video.
    I'm surprised that LEOs remember to put on their trousers each morning, or remember how to get to the donut shop.

  • croaker||

    All police uniforms have Garanimals sewed in...

  • The Late P Brooks||

    lapel video from Jeremy Dear, the officer who killed Hawkes, could not be recovered

    We all know it would be running nonstop on all the local channels if it actually matched Officer Queeksdraw's account.

  • Restoras||

    Shouldn't the alt+text say 'shot and kiled by cop'?

  • Invisible Finger||

    The police are held to a higher standard of incompetence.

  • WTF||

    The comments on that story are a special brand of stupid.

  • Sudden||

    Well, in the face of yet more horrible news courtesy of APD, I have some good news.

    I've been invited to Golden Gods Awards tonight. That's right. I get to see ZAKK MOTHERFUCKING WYLDE live (and Joan Jett and GnR).

  • ||

    "Hey, Zakk Mild, let's kick it up a notch. What do you want, a drink? You need some pills? Want me to get some bitches?"

  • Freedom Frog||

    Has Zakk stopped that obnoxiously stupid incessant pinch harmonics squeal ever measure yet? God I hate that shit.

    Enjoy Joan Jett though.

    GnR is dead to me. Hired Guns N Roses I like to call them.

  • Brett L||

    Fat'n'Posers?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...officers who fail to activate their lapel cams could face letters of reprimand or suspensions.

    But won't.

  • Sudden||

    ...officers who fail to activate their lapel cams could face letters of reprimandcommendation or suspensionspaid vacation.

    FTFY, APD

  • ||

    "Look I turned it on, but happened to walk by a strong electro-magnet, repeatedly. Incidentally I had left all of my other electronic equipment in the car when I was near the strong electro-magnet, which just happened to be sitting near where I was walking."

    *Awkward smile*

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Straighten up, Mister, or suffer consequences. A letter. In your File.

  • sloopyinca||

    Will these potential letters of reprimand in their file be treated the sam way they are for teachers in the LAUSD that sexually assault their students: thy will be immediately sealed and removed after three years as long as they don't commit another sexual assault, or in he case of the APD another murder?

    If not, their brave officers need to get their union to do a better job of covering up their crimes, er I mean representing their officers.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Apparently, the shooter has lied to investigators before.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    (Corrected below, so don't get your panties in a bunch.)

  • ||

    Don't you fucking tell me what to do.

    *Bunches panties and glares defiantly*

  • Paul.||

    Question: when are our panties not in a bunch?

  • JW||

    What I take away from this article is that Albuquerque is a god-forsaken wasteland of crazed and violent savages, roving rape gangs and carjacking cartels, with only the thin, brave blue line between us and them.

    No sane person would live there, for fear of being attacked, then having their car stolen, then being raped and then shot by the police.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Apparently, the shooter has lied to investigators before.

  • Paul.||

    The DOJ report stopped short of holding any actual police officers accountable for the pattern and practice of constitutional violations

    Just so I don't blow the narrative, are we pretending to be surprised as to why the pattern of behaviour hasn't changed after the DOJ report?

  • Paul.||

    Gordon Eden, said lapel video from Jeremy Dear, the officer who killed Hawkes, could not be recovered and that officers who fail to activate their lapel cams could face letters of reprimand or suspensions.

    Weighing this a moment. Hang on... just a sec... Ok...

    On the one hand, I could face criminal charges if I leave the lapel cam on, but on the other, if I *forget* to turn it on or... delete the video, I face a strongly worded letter.

  • pogi||

    Or a paid vacation while Officers Tweedledum and Tweedledumber diligently investigate the circumstances before earnestly reporting that, while it's regrettable that Citizen Fuckyouthatswhy was accidentally shot 37 times in the back while running towards the officer and brandishing a pistol, procedures were followed and all officers made it home safely if a bit sad that there were no dogs available for shooting.

  • PapayaSF||

    Is there any indication in this case that the officer involved is lying? He said she turned towards him and had a gun. Was a gun recovered? The lack of camera footage is indeed suspicious, but I'm not ready to pillory the officer over that alone.

  • R C Dean||

    The lack of camera footage is indeed suspicious, but I'm not ready to pillory the officer over that alone.

    Why the fuck not? Even if it was a good shoot, not turning on or tampering with your lapel cam should be good a pillorying, shouldn't it?

    Otherwise, why waste time and money on the things.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Termination sounds like a fair punishment. Oh, you mean lose his job.

  • R C Dean||

    penalizing them up to the point of termination for poor conduct,

    So I guess we've given up on convicting and imprisoning them for the crimes they've committed.

    officers who fail to activate their lapel cams could face letters of reprimand or suspensions.

    Garsh, out in the real world, you fail to use an essential item of equipment, you get fucking fired.

  • Free Society||

    But the fatal shooting of Hawkes highlights the necessity of holding police officers to a high standard and penalizing them up to the point of termination for poor conduct, even if that conduct doesn't rise to the level of actual crime.

    To the point of termination!?!? If I kick in the door to my neighbors house and shoot the guy, should I be fired from my job or tried for a crime? If it's a crime for me, then it's a crime for you even when wearing a costume.

    In this particular shooting, the police chief, Gordon Eden, said lapel video from Jeremy Dear, the officer who killed Hawkes, could not be recovered and that officers who fail to activate their lapel cams could face letters of reprimand or suspensions.

    Letter of reprimand? If I shoot someone, will the judge just take my word for it? Will the court issue me a letter of reprimand for disabling the security camera before I did it? In a sane world, blatant concealment of evidence would be reason enough to at least doubt my word.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement