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Albuquerque Sued for Police Killing of Teen

ALBUQUERQUE (CN) - Eleven days after the Department of Justice found that Albuquerque police killed citizens at a rate far greater than in larger and more violent cities, an Albuquerque officer shot 19-year-old Mary Hawkes to death and then lied about it, Hawkes' family said in a civil lawsuit Tuesday.

Hawkes was seen driving a stolen pickup at 3 a.m. on April 21, 2014. When the pickup was found abandoned a short time later, Hawkes' cellphone was inside, and officers used it to discover the teenager's identity. Several hours later, after a foot chase through an RV park and along city streets, APD Officer Jeremy Dear shot Hawkes three times, killing her. Dear claimed that Hawkes had been holding a gun.

But in their complaint in Bernalillo County Court, her parents say that none of the other officers at the scene said they saw her holding a gun, that the pistol recovered from the scene did not have Hawkes' DNA, blood, fingerprints or clothing fibers on it, and that the nature of the gunshot wounds are wildly inconsistent with the scenario described by Dear.

And, they say, a frame-by-frame analysis of the lapel cam video taken by other officers indicates that Hawkes' body was moved after her death.

Hawkes' father Danny Hawkes is a retired Valencia County magistrate judge. He and his wife, Mary Alice, and their daughter Angela Hawkes blame the police "Blue Wall of Silence" for protecting Dear, though Dear was fired for "dishonesty" and "insubordination" six months after he killed Mary Hawkes, according to the complaint.

In their 46-page lawsuit, the family says that the investigation that concluded with Dear's termination found that in the course of nine months Dear had neglected to turn on his lapel camera 216 times, to conclude a seven-year disciplinary history that included aggression, intimidation and insubordination in continuing to wear hardened gloves in violation of department policy.

This typified a "culture in APD in which any violation of the New Mexico Constitution or use of excessive force will be exonerated and excused by the City as long as an officer simply mouths the words 'I was afraid,'" the Hawkes family says.

The November 2014 Department of Justice report found that Albuquerque police had killed 20 people from 2009 to 2012, and cited other incidents of unnecessary force, such as the time "officers set an individual on fire by shocking him multiple times with an electronic control weapon after the individual had doused himself with a flammable substance."

The Hawkes family sued Albuquerque for wrongful death, spoliation of evidence, negligent hiring, training and supervision, unreasonable seizure and warrantless arrest and unconstitutional use of force.

The Albuquerque Police Department did not return phone calls seeking comment.

The family is represented by Shannon Kennedy, with Kennedy, Kennedy & Ives. Representatives from APD did not return phone calls requesting comment before the publication deadline.

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