The police department in Albuquerque, New Mexico, released hundreds of pages of police reports and summaries on Aug. 10 that show there were no fingerprints or conclusive DNA proof that Mary Hawkes had a gun when she was fatally shot by now-fired Officer Jeremy Dear (pictured) in May 2014 (video below).
At the time, Albuquerque police said Dear was in pursuit of the 19-year-old woman, who was suspected of stealing a car. Hawkes allegedly turned around and aimed a .32-caliber pistol at Dear, so he shot and killed her, notes KOAT.
Hawkes' family subsequently filed a lawsuit that said there was no fingerprint or DNA evidence that could tie Hawkes to the gun.
The Albuquerque Journal, which obtained the police reports and summaries via the Inspection of Public Records Act, reports that police said at the time of the shooting that the handgun was found a few feet from Hawkes’ body.
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Former prosecutor and current Fox News legal analyst Arthur Aidala said during a 2015 broadcast that some police do plant guns near people they shoot, noted Mediaite.
"When I was in the DA’s office in the 80s and 90s, that was standard operating procedures," Aidala recalled. "Police officers -- I hate to say this -- would keep a second gun that nobody knew about on their ankle, so if they ever killed someone they shouldn’t have, they would take that gun out."
The Albuquerque Police Department documents show police officers knew the gun did not have Hawkes' fingerprints only days after the shooting. The department turned to Facebook to declare the case "exceptionally cleared."
The department's documents said it tracked the gun's serial number to Michael Gaddy who had messaged with Hawkes on Facebook. Police also noted a message from Facebook user Erik Hawke, who asserted that Hawkes had stolen a "piece."
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Detective Matt Caplan subsequently wrote in his police report: "Due to the fact that both Erik Hawke and Michael Gaddy are Facebook 'friends' with Mary Hawkes, it would appear there is evidence to suffice the origin of the .32 caliber firearm in Mary Hawkes' possession on the evening."
"I'm absolutely outraged that there has not been a trial for Jeremy Dear," Hawkes' godmother, Carolina Acuna Olivera, told KOAT. "Absolutely outraged whether they found a gun, whether they found her fingerprints or not that, she was shot several times by this officer, that she was murdered."
The department terminated Dear in December 2014 for allegedly not filming numerous instances on his body camera as he was supposed to. His termination was not directly due to shooting Hawkes, although Dear said his body camera came unplugged during the Hawkes shooting. Dear appealed his firing with the city’s personnel board and won. Now, the City of Albuquerque is fighting that ruling in a state District Court.
Shannon Kennedy, a Hawkes' family lawyer, said an expert hired by the family found that Hawkes was running east and fell to ground during the shooting because the forensic evidence shows that the teen was shot at a downward angle through her left ear, arm and back, which would contradict her facing Dear and aiming a gun at him when she was shot.