ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The family of Mary Hawkes was handed a major victory Thursday night in their wrongful death lawsuit against the Albuquerque Police Department.
A judge has ruled that APD failed to preserve evidence related to the police shooting of Hawkes in 2014.
Judge Nan Nash ruled that the lack of evidence — in this case, lapel cameras that were not properly preserved — left the Hawkes family without access to the evidence they need for their case.
Six officers claimed they turned their cameras on after the shooting of Hawkes — a 19-year-old suspected truck thief. The shooting happened back in 2014 after a chase.
The officer who shot her, Jeremy Dear, claimed she pointed a gun at him. He was eventually fired for repeatedly failing to turn on his camera.
The Hawkes’ attorneys wanted the opportunity to check all the officers’ cameras to see if they malfunctioned like some of them claimed that night, or to see if the cameras were working and officers simply did not upload all of the video or altered them.
The ruling means the jury will be instructed that the shooting was unreasonable as a matter of law.
The city issued the following response Thursday night to the judge’s ruling:
“The City disagrees with this ruling.
The jury should be the one to decide the important question of whether the officer’s actions were justified or not.
This ruling is also based on inaccurate or disputed facts. It states that a number of cameras were not preserved. Several of those cameras are in fact available and have been offered to the Plaintiffs’ attorneys for inspection. They have never accepted that offer.
The City also took the initiative to send Jeremy Dear’s camera to the manufacturer for analysis. Plaintiffs have the manufacturer’s report.”
-Stephanie Griffin, Deputy City Attorney