No Charges Will Be Filed In Dear / Hawkes Shooting
For the second time in three years ex-Albuquerque Police Officer Jeremy Dear has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in the 2014 fatal shooting of Mary Hawkes. A team of special prosecutors assigned to review the case by Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez cleared Dear,
On April 30, 2020 the second team of special prosecutors, Chris Schultz and Reynaldo Montano, announced their decision not to prosecute Dear. Read it here.
“We have carefully considered the assertions and demurrals made by Ms. Shannon Kennedy, the attorney representing the Mary Hawkes estate in the civil case. Some of them may deserve attention and investigation by others, however many of them are outside the scope of our concern, which is a narrow one: Are we confident that there is sufficient admissible evidence to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, to a unanimous jury, that Officer Dear committed a crime? The remaining objections Ms. Kennedy makes are either speculative, not relevant, unlikely to be admissible at trial, or insufficient to undermine our conclusion.
“The evidence strongly suggests that Officer Dear was justified in his concern for himself, and reasonably believed that Hawkes posed an imminent threat of deadly or serious Harm to himself, and he responded to that threat by firing his weapon based upon that threat. Officer Dear would therefore be entitled to raise the defense of justifiable homicide by a public officer……therefor no charges will be filed against Officer Dear, and the case will be closed.”
The Dear saga has dragged on for six years and cost the citizens of Albuquerque $5 million.
In April of 2014, Dear shot and killed suspected car thief, Mary Hawkes, during a foot pursuit. Dear alleged that Hawkes was armed with a handgun and he felt threatened by her when he opened fire. A firearm was recovered at the scene of the shooting and a business surveillance camera of Hawkes just moments before she was shot, seemed to confirm that Hawkes was armed with a handgun
Dear was terminated from APD by then Chief of Police Gorden Eden, December 2014 for insubordination. A termination that Dear’s attorney, Thomas Grover, has vehemently contested as unfair.
In January of 2018, the city of Albuquerque paid the Hawkes family $5 million to settle their wrongful death lawsuit. There was considerable community dissent when this settlement was announced as the special prosecutor had not issued a decision on whether or not Dear would be charged.
Just one month later, February of 2018, special prosecutor, Michael Cox, who was appointed by Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez to review the shooting, recommended that no charges be filed against Dear. In his letter to Torrez, Cox stated:
“After a thorough review of all the evidence, we conclude that it is not possible to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Officer Jeremy Dear was not acting under the belief that Mary Hawke’s actions posed a threat of death or great bodily harm to himself or other officers in the immediate area. No charges will be filed, this case will be closed”.
But it wasn’t closed. In October of 2018 DA Torrez set aside Cox recommendations and announced that he was handing the case to a panel of district attorneys from around the state, for further review. A review that caused Dear’s attorney, Thomas Grover, to comment:
“I think this is politics at play. I think Raul Torrez is trying to get as far away from this case as he can because it’s a lawful shoot and he doesn’t want to be the guy who is tainted on this issue.” (Ryan Boetel, Albuquerque Journal)
In September of 2019, DA Torrez announced that he was done waiting for the “DA Panel” to determine whether Dear should be prosecuted for killing Hawkes. At this time Torrez referred the case to New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas for final review. Balderas’ office declined to review citing a conflict of interest because Hawke’s brother works for the Attorney General, and by this time Hawkes family had settled the $5 million lawsuit against the city of Albuquerque.
It seemed like every attempt Torrez made in trying to hand off to someone else the final decision on the Dear case was rebuked. This forced Torrez to appoint two special prosecutors, Chris Schultz and Reynaldo Montano, for a second review. They have now agreed with the first review that no charges will be filed against Dear.
Unless DA Torrez wants to assign a third special prosecutor to this case, it appears that Dear has been vindicated and no charges will be filed. After six years and $5 million it’s over.
Dear’s attorney, Thomas Grover, provided the ABQReport with the following statement:
“There are no winners in this case. The city (Albuquerque) lied about Dear’s recording rate and has perpetuated that false narrative with ongoing lies, concealment and deception in the public records requests made by Dear. The city failed to fight the courts’ sanction for allegedly losing evidence that resulted in the shooting of Hawkes as being deemed “unreasonable” as a matter of law. There have been a few whispers from within APD about Dear being railroaded and made a scapegoat, but nobody has stepped up and made the record right. Meanwhile Jeremy (Dear) and I fight and fight and fight in the court and APD has become a shadow of the department it once was.”