Jerime Mitchell’s attorney reacts to the firing of officer who shot Mitchell
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The lawyer for a man shot by a former Cedar Rapids Police officer during a traffic stop altercation said he believes there may have been a cover-up.
Jerime Mitchell is paralyzed from that shooting on November 1, 2016. This month, Cedar Rapids Police fired Lucas Jones, the officer who shot him.
Police said Jones had turned off his body microphone during a traffic stop to hide something and then lied about it. That incident took place just two days before the shooting involving Mitchell.
Here’s why that’s important: This dash camera video of when Jones shot Mitchell has no audio with it. Mitchell and his attorney are suing the city. Police said Jones’ microphone wasn’t working, but have not said why.
Mitchell and his attorney, Larry Rogers, Jr., have always disputed Lucas Jones’s side of the story. They don’t think it’s a coincidence that there’s no audio of the incident, something Mitchell wondered last week even before the new information came out.
“I don’t understand why his equipment wasn’t working when you’re supposed to check that stuff out every day before you go to work,” Mitchell said, in an interview from more than a week ago.
You can see the altercation between Jones and Mitchell in the video, but you can’t hear what was said that led up to it. Jones claims Mitchell was combative from the start, cursing at him. He said that devolved into the struggle that ultimately led him to shoot Mitchell as he tried to drive away.
Mitchell’s attorney tells a different story.
“Jerime has been so incensed by the allegations that he would curse at and insult an officer,” Rogers, Jr., said “That’s one of the first things the young man said to me when I met him.”
Rogers, Jr., said the audio would prove that Jones escalated the situation.
“Not one time does Jerime ever strike or do anything to attack or assault Lucas Jones,” Rogers, Jr., said. “He’s doing nothing but trying to protect himself, he’s scared. It’s 1:17 in the morning. This man has a gun and a badge, it’s dark out, there’s no one around.”
KCRG-TV9 found the department’s policy on the dash cameras. It specifically says officers will not circumvent or tamper with the recordings.
It’s supposed to automatically activate when the officer turns on his lights but there is a manual override. Dave O’Brien, a civil rights attorney with Dave O’Brien Law, said anytime an officer turns off a camera or microphone, he gets suspicious.
“I watch these videos all the time,” O’Brien said. “Most of the time it shows the officer acting appropriately, but boy if you are going to turn your mic off, if you’re going to turn your camera off, then I’m coming after you.”
Rogers, Jr., believes there’s more to the story on why Mitchell was pulled over other than for a faulty license plate light.
“So this is just a basis to stop a black man in the city to see what you can find,” Rogers, Jr., said. “That’s what Lucas Jones did. When you’re doing that type of activity, you don’t want it to be recorded.”
Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden said it’s the grand jury who decided to believe Jones’ side of the story even without audio. Mitchell was in the hospital getting medical treatment from the shooting when they tried reaching out to him.
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