ALBUQUERQUE, NM--The following is the APD Forward response to yesterday's news that the Albuquerque Personnel Board voted to reinstate Jeremy Dear, the APD officer who was fired last year for failing to use his body-worn camera during the incident in which he shot and killed Mary Hawkes, a 19-year-old suspect in a car theft investigation:
"The members of APD Forward were dismayed to learn that the City of Albuquerque Personnel Board overturned a decision by APD Chief Gordon Eden to fire officer Jeremy Dear for failing to properly use his body-worn camera during the fatal shooting of Mary Hawkes in April 2014. APD Forward supports fair arbitration in personnel hearings for APD officers. But Dear ignored direct orders to use his camera after receiving several citizen complaints against him. Not only was Dear’s camera suspiciously unplugged, but the malfunction also occurred at the most critical of moments—during a serious use of force incident that ended with the loss of life.
If APD is to succeed in reforming its “culture of aggression”--which the Department of Justice so criticized in its April 2014 letter of findings--it must be able to hold officers accountable to policies that ensure the constitutional use of force. APD Forward believes the consistent use of body-worn cameras is one of the best ways to reduce police excessive use of force. It is important that t the department be able to enforce this critical policy to ensure transparency in all use of force incidents. It will make APD safer for the community and for officers alike."