Questions remain in APD shooting

Posted at: 04/23/2014 5:13 PM
Updated at: 04/23/2014 6:29 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Albuquerque police say a 19-year old woman shot and killed by an APD officer was armed with a "Saturday Night Special" handgun – but they’re not saying much else about the Monday morning shooting of suspected pickup truck thief Mary Hawkes.

"I don’t have that information right now – I really don’t".

We heard that repeatedly from APD Chief Gorden Eden during a half hour news conference Wednesday. He did show us a Davis Industries P-32 semiautomatic 32-caliber handgun, identical to the one police say they found next to the body of Mary Hawkes after officer Jeremy Dear shot her during a foot chase at Wyoming and Zuni SE. Later the chief provided a photograph of the actual gun – a cheap, heavy handgun commonly called a Saturday Night Special.

The chief was not able to provide any video from the officer’s lapel camera.

"We were not able to recover any video from officer Dear’s on-body camera system" Eden said. "What we’ve done is we’ve went it to the manufacturer to they can do a technical and forensic analysis."

When asked if Dear had started the camera, as required by APD policy, Eden said he did not know. The chief also said he did not know if Mary Hawkes’ gun was loaded, how many times she was shot, where on her body she was shot, whether any other cop-camera caught the action, or whether any witnesses saw Hawkes pull the gun on officer Dear.

"There are consequences for not turning on the on-body camera system, which can include everything from a letter of reprimand to a suspension," Eden said.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Justice investigation into APD’s deadly force practices found "very few examples of officers being reprimanded for failing to record force incidents."

The scarcity of information from the Wednesday news conference didn’t seem to help any with an increasingly skeptical and vocal part of the Albuquerque community. Peaceful protesters lined  the sidewalk  in front of APD headquarters while the news conference was going on inside.

"I think the everyday person does not believe APD anymore," said protest organizer Sayrah Namaste. "That’s partly why we want the videos and they very seldom release them. When the James Boyd video was released, that’s what shocked everybody."

The Boyd video, featuring police shooting a homeless man camping in the Sandia foothills, went viral nationwide. Boyd was armed with two knives, but seemed to be turning away when the officers shot him.

"There’s just no credibility and trust anymore," said protester Scot Hickerson. "I feel like you put them in the mix and there’s going to be more of a problem than originally. It’ll make things worse."

Chief Eden did point out that the investigation is still going on, and police expect to release more information. He said the Department of Justice was promptly and completely informed about the Hawkes shooting.  The DOJ has ordered APD to change its deadly force policies and training and is working with APD on a long term reform plan.  Hawkes is the first person killed by an APD officer since the DOJ stepped in on April 10.