Albuquerque Family Settles With City For $5 Million After Fatal 2014 Shooting

The city of Albuquerque has reached a $5 million settlement with the family of Mary Hawkes, a 19-year-old woman who was shot and killed by police during a foot chase in 2014.

The settlement resolves the lawsuit filed by her family against both the city and then-officer Jeremy Dear, and concludes a case that was controversial from the start.

Hawkes was killed just days after the Department of Justice announced the city’s police department had a pattern of using excessive – and deadly – force, and the Hawkes family alleged that the police department’s “structural and systemic deficiencies” led to her killing.

Shannon Kennedy, the family’s attorney, confirmed Wednesday that the case had settled, though documents have not yet been finalized or filed with the court.

Gilbert Gallegos, APD spokesman, said that the city “reached a preliminary settlement agreement of $5 million to settle all claims related to the Hawkes case.” Gallegos said the city was glad to see a resolution to the longstanding claim.

Dear’s attorney, David Roman, did not respond to a request for comment. In a statement, the Hawkes family said the shooting left them to wonder whether they could have done anything to save their daughter and sister.

“The family is very grateful that the city also recognizes that burden and is moving forward in the same spirit of accountability,” the statement said. “In the Hawkes family’s quest for answers about Dear’s killing of Mary on April 21, 2014, they have sought the truth and to ensure no family suffer a similar loss.”

They said they are confident that the new administration will work to improve APD’s culture in order to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

“To facilitate overdue change, the Hawkes are committed to donating a significant percentage of the settlement to organizations that prioritize crisis intervention training for law enforcement and that support the transition of foster children into adulthood,” the statement said. Organizations that they plan to donate to include El Ranchito de Los Ninos, Casa Hermosa, All Faiths Advocacy Center and the Crisis Intervention Team.

Dear has said he fired his gun after Hawkes pointed a gun at him while he was chasing her through Southeast Albuquerque, but his lapel camera was unplugged during the encounter and did not record. Dear fired five times, hitting Hawkes with three rounds.

The Hawkes family argued in their lawsuit that scientific evidence did not support Dear’s version of events. The bullet trajectories, they said, showed the “impossibility of his account” and Hawkes’ fingerprints and DNA were not present on the gun found at the scene.

City officials, the family alleged, “readily accepted former Officer Dear’s wholly implausible explanation of the killing, leaving only the bereft Hawkes family to search for the truth.”

The settlement comes months after 2nd Judicial District Judge Nan Nash granted the family’s request seeking sanctions against the city for failing to preserve vital evidence surrounding the shooting. Nash also said the jury would be instructed that the shooting was unreasonable as a matter of law.

Dear was fired from APD in December 2014 for failing to follow orders to video record all citizen interactions. APD says he was ordered to do so after the department received several citizen complaints about him. Last week, a judge ruled that Dear would not get his job with APD back, finding that termination was appropriate because Dear had been insubordinate.


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[WATCH] Albuquerque Police Oversight Board Recommends Lengthy Suspension After Officers Use Excessive Force on Unarmed Man

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Cop’s Own Supervisor Shoots Him 9 Times Because He Missed a Meeting


Victoria Prieskop | Courthouse News Service

ALBUQUERQUE (CN) – An Albuquerque police detective’s own supervisor shot him nine times on a drug bust, because the lieutenant hadn’t attended the planning meeting for the operation, the detective claims in court.

Police Det. Jacob Grant sued Albuquerque, its Police Department and police Lt. Greg Brachle, on Aug. 26 in Bernalillo County Court.

It’s the latest in a string of cases accusing Albuquerque police of incompetent, excessive and inappropriate use of force.

After a 1½-year investigation, the Department of Justice concluded in April 2014 that the Albuquerque Police Department’s use of lethal force “was excessive and constituted an ongoing risk to the public.”

The city in November agreed to lengthy reform and monitoring procedures imposed by the Department of Justice .

But less than two months later, on Jan. 9 this year, Lt. Brachle shot Grant nine times with a .45 caliber handgun while Grant made an undercover $60 drug buy, according to the complaint.

Grant nearly died.

Almost all his internal organs were injured and he lost 80 percent of his blood.

Grant says Brachle shot him from less than 5 feet away, in broad daylight, during a planned operation involving other police officers with whom Brachle was communicating.

It was in a MacDonald’s parking lot at about 11 a.m.

Several layers of precautions guaranteed that the officers could recognize Grant and his fellow officer as undercover detectives, ranging from their clothing to where they sat in the car.

But Brachle, who had missed the morning briefing for the sting, approached the vehicle after both suspects had been removed and taken into custody and shot him nine times, Grant says.

He claims that Brachle made a point of shooting him as thoroughly as possible, firing two shots into the center of his body, then repositioning himself and shooting him seven more times as Grant tried to crawl away, asking his boss to “please stop shooting.”

Grant seeks punitive damages.

His 27-page complaint cites a laundry list of regulations and rules that had to be broken for the police lieutenant to shoot his own detective.

Attached as an exhibit is the U.S. attorney’s 46-page letter to the mayor of April 10, 2014, rehearsing the constitutional violations revealed by the federal investigation, including “structural and systemic deficiencies – including insufficient oversight, inadequate training and ineffective policies.”

Albuquerque police have shot more than 40 people since 2010, and killed at least six no fewer than six fatal officer-involved shootings in the 16 months since April 2014 letter.

Two officers have been charged with second-degree murder for the March 2014 killing of James Boyd, a homeless man.
Grant’s attorney Alex Gabaldon did not respond to a request for comment Monday. The Albuquerque Police Department declined to comment.

Published by Courthouse News Service

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Albuquerque Cop Guns Down Fellow Officer, Purposely Attempting to Kill Him — Still on the Job

Albuquerque, NM — The city of Albuquerque and the Albuquerque Police Department may be facing a lawsuit by one of their own officers after an undercover officer was repeatedly shot by another member of the APD.

As we previously reported, Officer Jacob Grant was critically wounded after being shot approximately eight times by Lieutenant Greg Brachle during an undercover drug bust. Both officers were undercover at the time of the shooting.

According to the criminal complaint, Grant and his partner Holly Garcia met a suspect to buy $60 worth of “shards,” another term for meth. The suspects got into Garcia’s car, and she drove them to an Econo Lodge Motel. One of the suspects went into a room and returned to Garcia’s vehicle with the meth.

Garcia then went to a McDonald’s parking lot and gave the signal to begin the bust, the shooting took place shortly after.

According to Grant’s tort claim, there are multiple reasons Brachle should not have fired the shots into the vehicle. Grant points out in the notice that Brachle knew him well, knew what clothes he was wearing, and even knew exactly where he would be sitting in the car. The court document states that there was no threat, and “rather than cease fire, Lt. Brachle instead re-positioned himself…and continued to fire,” shooting until his gun was empty.

Grant is recovering and still undergoing physical therapy after being nearly killed and almost losing his arm. He is facing a long road to recovery, but making progress with each day, according to his wife, Laura. Holly Garcia, the other undercover officer in the vehicle during the shooting, suffered shrapnel wounds but is currently back on the job.

The Albuquerque Police Department released this statement Thursday:

“We know this is a very difficult situation for Detective Jacob Grant and his family. It is a case that has forever deeply affected those involved, their families, our community and the Department. We take Detective Grant’s attorney’s claims very seriously. The claims are under review by the city’s legal department and the Police Chief’s Office.”

APD Chief Gordon Eden stated that even six months later, it is unknown why Brachle opened fire on his colleagues but maintains that the internal investigation is still open and active.

Jacob Grant is currently on paid administrative leave while he recovers. Lieutenant Brachle has been given the privilege of relaxing on desk duty while the notoriously corrupt department conducts its internal investigation.



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