Board votes to give Albuquerque officer called ‘insubordinate’ his job back

City, Albuquerque Police Chief don't want him back

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Nearly a year after Albuquerque Police fired a cop the chief calls “insubordinate,” APD may have to hire him back.

A personnel board voted Tuesday to bring back Jeremy Dear, the officer who killed a 19-year-old suspected truck thief. But, the city plans to fight the decision.

As soon as the city got word of Tuesday’s personnel board vote to re-hire the fired APD officer, the city fired back, announcing they’ll do all they can to keep Dear off the police force.

“The appropriate penalty in this matter is reinstatement of Officer Dear with a 90 day suspension without pay,” announced the city’s personnel board chairman late Tuesday.

By a 3-2 margin, the City of Albuquerque’s personnel board voted to re-hire Dear.

Dear was fired last year for what APD Chief Gorden Eden calls, “A clear case of repeated insubordination and untruthfulness.”

“What we have is a situation where an officer was determined by their very hearing officer to be unfit to carry a badge and a gun,” Rob Perry, Chief Administrative Officer for the city, told KRQE News 13.

Perry said the city stands by the firing, and will now appeal in district court.

In April of 2014, Dear shot and killed suspected truck thief, 19-year-old Mary Hawkes. Dear claimed she pulled a gun, but he doesn’t have lapel video of the shooting.

APD claims after a number of complaints against him, Dear was ordered in 2013 to record all citizen contacts, but again and again, he did not.

“To have this board from the city come out of nowhere and basically foist a decision to rehire an officer back on us, that’s always problematic,” Perry told News 13.

APD released the following statement on Tuesday:

“This is a clear case of repeated insubordination and untruthfulness. It is critical that the Department be able to address this type of behavior, especially as it undergoes systematic and meaningful reforms. As I’ve stated before, insubordination and untruthfulness tear at the fabric of public safety, especially when the officer makes a choice not to follow a lawful order.” – Chief Gorden E. Eden, Jr.

“Unfortunately, APD has put this case at the front and center of that whole controversy with the cameras, and they’re unclear about it at best and deceptive at worst,” said Dear’s attorney, Thomas Grover.

Grover said his client is being used as a scapegoat, and claims Dear was never ordered to keep his camera running at all times.

He calls the chief’s comments about Dear “defamatory.” “Chief Eden was shown to have lied to the media in his press conferences regarding Jeremy Dear,” Grover said.

Still, despite the APD Chief and city officials saying he’s not welcome, Jeremy Dear will continue fighting for his job back with the department.

“He’s a cop, he wants to be a cop, he wants to be back with his brothers and sisters with APD,” said Grover.

Perry said it could take months for their appeal to play out in court. In the meantime, Dear’s attorney said he is looking at suing the city and APD for defamation over the comments they’ve made Tuesday about Dear.

If Jeremy Dear does get his job back, the city may also have to give him back pay, the thousands of dollars he would have been making during the time he was fired.

 

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