'Hawkes is carrying an object ... consistent with the size, shape, and reflective values of the gun that was seized from the sidewalk' - video forensic expert
Analysis Shows Something in Mary Hawkes’ Hand
Lawyer for Family in Wrongful Death Suit Disputes Conclusion
BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI
A forensic analysis of Albuquerque police lapel camera footage and other videos of the Mary Hawkes shooting in April of 2014 has concluded Hawkes likely was carrying a handgun before she was fatally shot.
The analysis, done for the city by Forensic Video Solutions, Inc., of Spokane, Wash., also concluded that the police lapel camera videos examined were originals and hadn’t been tampered with.
Hawkes, 19, was shot by now-fired APD officer Jeremy Dear on April 21, 2104, during a foot chase after officers suspected her of driving a stolen vehicle. Dear claimed he shot Hawkes when she pointed a gun at him at the Brillion Brothers Car Wash, 212 Wyoming Blvd. SE.
An attorney for the Hawkes family has said there were no fingerprints on the handgun that police say they found next to Hawkes’ body that linked her to the weapon.
The video analysis, which was obtained by ABQ Free Press Weekly through a public records request from the city’s Legal Department, was delivered to the city on Jan. 9. The report was ordered by the city as part of its defense against a civil lawsuit by the Hawkes family.
The analysis was done by Grant Fredericks, who teaches video forensics at the FBI National Academy and who has testified as a video expert in more than 150 court cases.
“I have formed the opinion that the video images accurately depict that Hawkes is carrying an object in her right hand. I have also formed the opinion that the object she is carrying is consistent with the size, shape, and reflective values of the gun that was seized from the sidewalk next to her body at the time of the shooting,” Fredericks wrote in his report.
“I have also formed the opinion that the TASER AXON Flex BWV [lapel cam video] segments that were produced for examination are original recordings that have not been altered since they were
initially recorded by the assigned cameras.”
Fredericks’ report said he reviewed 17 video sequences that the city provided him.
Attorney Shannon Kennedy, who represents the Hawkes family in its lawsuit against the city, discounted Fredericks’ report, saying the city didn’t give him all the videos on the case. She disputed the claim that Hawkes had a gun that day.
“No one saw her holding a gun. It’s really a cynical miscarriage of justice that the city is using [against Mary Hawkes],” Kennedy said.
Fredericks’ report seems to contradict allegations made by APD’s former records custodian, Reynaldo Chavez, that APD officers had altered lapel cam video in several police shooting incidents, including the Hawkes case.
The Taser International evidence.com cloud-based evidence storage system that APD uses does allow police departments to make copies of original videos and alter them for privacy reasons. But Fredericks concluded that “the redaction processes offered by evidence.com do not alter the data of the original video files. “The redactions produce new data in order to accommodate the legitimate agency needs of producing copies that may be partially redacted,” he wrote.
Attorney Tom Grover, who represents Chavez in his lawsuit against the city to get his job back, said there is a question as to whether Fredericks reviewed the city’s original videos for his report.
“The big issue is we don’t know if the videos that this guy looked at are the same videos that Reynaldo addressed in his affidavit,” Grover said. “If the city’s representations are that these videos are complete and have not been altered, then he [Chavez] disputes that.”
Grover added: “Reynaldo claims there are issues with the videos, primarily in the lack of completeness. That does not mean he challenges the content. It is pretty obvious that she [Hawkes] is carrying something, and it sure looks like a gun.”
Albuquerque freelance journalist Charles Arasim contributed to this report.