'If he is not lying, he is too stupid to hold the office' - Attorney Tom Grover, talking about Gorden Eden
Hawkes Deposition, APD Documents Show Eden Contradicting Himself
BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI
An Albuquerque attorney is alleging Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden lied under oath in June when he testified in a deposition that he didn’t recall reading any documents related to a 2014 APD internal probe into then-officer Jeremy Dear and his fatal shooting of Mary Hawkes.
According to Eden, he hadn’t examined any documents relating to Dear until the IA investigation into the Mary Hawkes shooting had been suspended.
But documentary evidence reviewed by ABQ Free Press Weekly shows that Eden indicated on more than one occasion that he had indeed reviewed the case.
“We’re talking about a chief pretending he doesn’t know about one of the most sought after IA investigations there is,” said attorney Tom Grover.
“Either he is lying, or he is unfit for the office he holds,” Grover said.
During the June 10, 2016 deposition in connection with the wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of the 19-year-old Hawkes – fatally shot by Dear on April 21, 2014 – Eden testified that he normally didn’t get information about when IA cases were initiated against officers.
But documents obtained by ABQ Free Press Weekly show that Eden’s testimony is contradicted his earlier actions in the case. The documents show that on May 9, 2014, Eden signed a target letter addressed to Dear telling him that he was the subject of an IA investigation. And on July 22, 2014, nearly two years before this year’s deposition, Eden signed a memo saying that he had carefully reviewed that IA case, known as I-99-14 and concurred with its findings.
The testimony and documents have led Grover, who represents Dear in his effort to get his APD job back, to charge that Eden lied during the deposition.
“Eden has lied under oath and he has suborned perjury and he needs to be yanked,” Grover said. “It is unconscionable. If he is not lying, he is too stupid to hold the office.”
This newspaper emailed City Attorney Jessica Hernandez and APD spokesperson Celina Esponiza questions on Thursday about Grover’s allegations and the apparent discrepancies between Eden’s testimony and his earlier actions in the IA investigation against Dear. They didn’t immediately respond to the emails.
Eden was deposed on June 10 of this year by attorney Shannon Kennedy, who is representing the Hawkes family in a lawsuit against APD and the city.
Eden testified that he first learned of I-99-14 when then-Deputy City Attorney Kathy Levy told him the investigation had been suspended because APD’s concurrent criminal investigation into the Hawkes shooting hadn’t yet been completed and sent to the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office.
“When was the Internal Affairs investigation into the Mary Hawkes shooting initiated?” Kennedy asked Eden during the deposition.
“I don’t know,” Eden answered.
“You don’t know?” Kennedy asked.
“No,” Eden responded.
But that IA report, which Grover obtained through an Inspection of Public Record Act request, showed that on May 9, 2014, Eden signed a letter that was hand-delivered to Dear and which told the officer that an IA investigation had been initiated against him. That IA investigation was labeled I-99-14.
Later in the June 2016 deposition, Kennedy asked Eden:
“So when did she [Levy] tell you—when did you learn about an Internal Affairs investigation into Jeremy Dear’s killing of Mary Hawkes?” Eden responded:
“My recollection was when I found out it had been stopped. Because normally I don’t have the information about when an IA case is started.”
Eden also testified that he didn’t know when Levy had told him that I-99-14 had been stopped.
Still later in the deposition, Kennedy asked Eden:
“So sitting here today, do you recall reviewing any documents created by Sergeant [Scott] Norris in the Internal Affairs investigation I-99-14?”
“I don’t,” Eden answered.
But a document obtained by Grover and reviewed by ABQ Free Press Weekly shows that Eden had indeed reviewed the I-99-14 file. On July 22, 2014, Eden wrote a memo in the case that said:
“After careful review of this case, which included viewing of on-body camera recordings, statements and listening to the recordings I concurred with the findings and recommendations of Major [Timothy] Gonterman. However, on July 22, 2014, I received additional information on a prior performance requirement that was imposed on Officer Jeremy Dear that may be relevant to this event and the allegations.
“The information requires additional investigation and interviews that must be conducted prior to my formal recommendation(s) and findings.”
A second IA case
Hawkes, a suspected car thief, was fatally shot by Dear on April 21, 2014. The case created an uproar because no video of the shooting was recovered from Dear’s department-issued lapel camera. Dear said the camera malfunctioned and wasn’t working. He had previous instances in which incidents weren’t recorded.
The shooting sparked two IA investigations into Dear. The first was I-99-14, which was about whether Dear had violated department rules and regulations, and the second was I-132-14, which found that Dear had repeatedly violated an alleged 2013 order that he record all of his contacts with members of the public.
In that second IA investigation, Eden concluded that Dear had been guilty of numerous instances of insubordination for allegedly not recording all of his contacts with the public, and Eden fired the officer.
Dear appealed the decision, and the city’s Labor Management Relations Board, in a 3-2 vote, reversed the firing saying there was no evidence that Dear had actually been ordered to record all his encounters with the public.
Grover said the city has never produced a written order regarding Dear’s requirement to record all his encounters.
The city has appealed the Labor Board’s decision to reinstate Dear to state District Court.
Grover said that it’s inconceivable that Eden would not have known about I-99-14 because it was a high-profile case that sparked outrage in the community.
Dennis Domrzalski is an associate editor at ABQ Free Press Weekly. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org