The fate of an APD cop who allegedly refused to turn his body camera on before shooting and killing a 19-year-old teen was decided. Albuquerque’s Police Chief Gordon decided to terminate Officer Jeremy Dear after the shooting of Mary Hawkes back in April.
According to KRQE, the Police Department released a statement about their decision to terminate the Albuquerque cop.
“Officer Jeremy Dear has been terminated from his employment with the Albuquerque Police Department. Since 2013, Officer Dear had been subject to an order that he record and upload all citizen contacts during his duties as a police officer.”
The Bureau conducted a wide investigation to figure out if Officer Dear had complied with orders, even though his attorney said he never received those orders.
During a November 24 hearing, Officer Dear was provided with time to present evidence that would support his side of the story, which was that he didn’t violate orders and that his camera malfunctioned.
In the end, Chief Gordon E. Eden said the following of the review of the case and the conclusion.
“After careful review and consideration of the investigation and the statements offered by Officer Dear and his representative at his hearing, I have determined that Officer Dear violated standard operating procedures regarding insubordination and untruthfulness. In imposing the discipline of termination, I considered the seriousness of the acts and omissions, aggravating circumstances and Officer Dear’s disciplinary record. Insubordination tears at the fabric of public safety especially when the officer makes a choice not to follow a lawful order.”
Officer Dear’s troubles with cameras didn’t start with Mary Hawkes. According to Counter Current News, a personnel file back in January of 2013 reads that Officer Dear reported an incident of “breaking up” a fight which lead to his camera malfunctioning. At the time, the man was “resisting arrest.” It’s inferred that this was the officer’s plan, to have his supervisors believe the camera wasn’t in working order.
In the case of Mary Hawkes, it was said that Hawkes aimed a gun at Officer Dear, which would give the cop the right to use lethal force, but at the time his bodycam malfunctioned again. Additionally, the autopsy report states that there were three gunshots fired downward at Hawkes, which means that the Officer was standing over her.
Dear’s lawyer said, “If they fire every officer who doesn’t turn on his uniform camera, they won’t have anyone left on the department.”
The use of body cameras on police officers has been a widely debated topic recently. After Officer Darren Wilson wasn’t indicted in the shooting of Michael Brown, President Obama proposed to have 50,000 additional police body cameras attached to officers. This seemed like a promising reaction to a verdict that some are saying is unjust. Then, Eric Garner’s case, whose death was filmed, was denied by a grand jury for an indictment. Since this verdict, the case for body cameras became a murky solution for a growing problem.
That said, Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Hanni Fakhoury still somewhat believes in this decision, “Any police department that wants to use body cameras, it’s a good decision, but you can’t just throw the cameras out there and let the details sort themselves out.”
Perhaps in the case of Officer Dear, it would have made a difference.
[Image via Screen grab]