Judge: Albuquerque Police Department Must Pay Up in Officer-Involved Shooting

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Albuquerque Police Department could owe more than $130,000 to a law firm for intentionally withholding documents regarding an officer-involved shooting of a 19-year-old woman during an auto-theft investigation.

District Judge Nancy Franchini on Wednesday said the department owes damages and attorneys fees, and must produce the withheld documents in connection with the Inspection of Public Records Act violations it’s perpetrated since late September 2016.

The exact amount due will be decided in the next month or so, but attorney Shannon Kennedy, representing the family of Mary Hawkes, set her preliminary attorney fees at $103,091 and the state law allows a $100 per day fine as punishment for government agencies that break the IPRA law, which Franchini’s ruling establishes.

Hawkes was killed in April 2014 by then-APD officer Jeremy Dear, who shot her during a foot chase near Wyoming and Zuni in southeast Albuquerque. Hawkes was a suspected car thief and police said she pointed a gun at Dear.

Kennedy’s firm filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit. As part of that suit, they requested public documents through the IPRA process and also received documents through the court’s discovery process.

Kennedy said, and Franchini ruled Wednesday, that APD withheld documents that Kennedy found among the documents received during discovery, proving that the documents existed and were not turned over during the IPRA process.

Franchini said APD and the city, which is financially responsible for the department’s lawsuits, did comply with some of the requests and so some of Kennedy’s legal fees won’t be charged to the city.

But fees generated starting at the end of September 2016 to, possibly, Wednesday will be the responsibility of the city, along with any damages the judge decides.

Also, Kennedy was ordered to “write a list” of the missing records and videos, and the city must produce all those items or provide a sworn affidavit swearing they’ve been provided.

The ruling and forthcoming settlement will likely end this civil lawsuit, but Kennedy and the Hawkes family’s other civil lawsuit continues.

Part of that suit includes allegations from a former APD records custodian that he was ordered by high-level officials and city legal staff to withhold or lose certain records or videos related to this and other cases.

Dear, who is no longer with APD, won his own civil lawsuit against the department, arguing that he too was denied access to public documents. A state district judge ordered the city to pay him $12,500.

Source: https://www.abqjournal.com

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5638 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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