Fired Cedar Rapids police officer intentionally turned off his audio recording, lied about it
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Former Cedar Rapids Police Officer Lucas Jones was fired for lying about intentionally turning off his audio recording on his body camera during a traffic stop in October 2016, two days before he shot and paralyzed a driver during a different traffic stop.
Officer Jones told TV9 he was not told why he was fired on June 18th, other than that he had lied to internal affairs. The termination letter, which I9 received through a Public Records Request, is dated the day he was fired, details 6 violations of department policies.
The first violation says Jones admitted under oath in January 2020 that he turned off the audio recording during that October 30, 2016 traffic stop. He received a letter of reprimand for that but was then dismissed for lying about the microphone in a previous interview in April 2017 and again in February 2020. The letter says he turned it off to “conceal that he was intentional (sic) violating policy.”
Police have said Jones’ microphone was not working when he stopped Jerime Mitchell in the early morning hours of November 1st. That stop led to an altercation and ultimately Jones shooting Mitchell as Mitchell tried to drive away with the officer in his driver’s side door. The shooting left Mitchell paralyzed. A grand jury cleared Officer Jones in that shooting but Michell is suing the Police Department and the City.
A police spokesperson said the city could not elaborate if the microphone issue during the Mitchell shooting was connected to Jones’ turning off the device two days earlier, citing the pending litigation.
Jones also received a letter of reprimand for not arresting the driver during that October 2016 traffic stop. Jones also received a 40-hour suspension for making statements he would knowingly violate department policy as he sees fit.
On June 19, Jones said he plans to appeal his termination, saying the police chief caved to political pressure in firing him. As of Monday, he had not filed that appeal.
Police said the investigation into Jones began in February 2020 and Jones says he was placed on administrative leave in early May, before the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis triggered protests. Jones, however, believes the ongoing climate contributed to the decision to fire him.
Removing Officer Jones from the Cedar Rapids Police Department was a demand of organizers behind recent Black Lives Matter protests in Cedar Rapids. A petition on Change.org to fire Officer Jones had garnered nearly 2,000 signatures.
While on the force, Officer Jones was cleared in two separate officer-involved shootings, including one that paralyzed Jerime Mitchell, a Black man, during a traffic stop.
A grand jury declined to press charges against Jones in that shooting, despite Linn County Attorney Jerry Vandersanden presenting the case without interviewing Mitchell. That result prompted public protests against both the Cedar Rapids police and the Linn County Attorney. Mitchell is now suing the City of Cedar Rapids, the police department, and Lucas Jones. That case is not expected to go to trial until next year.
Officer Jones was also cleared for his involvement in the fatal shooting of Jonathan Gossman in October 2015. Gossman had run from police during a traffic stop and pointed a gun at another officer. That’s when that officer and Jones opened fire, killing Gossman. The use of force was ruled justified in that case.
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