Former Cedar Rapids Police officer speaks out about termination
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Lucas Jones, the former Cedar Rapids police officer the department fired last month after an investigation, told his side of the firing on Wednesday.
Jones is the officer at the center of a very public case from 2016 when he shot Jerime Mitchell during a traffic stop. The incident left Mitchell paralyzed and led to protests in the weeks after in Cedar Rapids. Police claim Jones lied during internal investigations about turning off his body camera microphone during stops and willingly violated department policy, but Jones said that isn’t true.
“There are cops at that department that do incredible things every day,” Jones said. “It was just an honor to be a witness to that stuff, and to have that stripped away for something that is a violation of due process and flat out not true is heartbreaking.”
Jones said he took pride in working for the department for nearly a decade but he and his attorney said the department’s decision to fire him wasn’t fair.
“They’ve kept all of the information, essentially, and all the cards to themselves, and they’ve presented this one-sided case all the way through the chain of command,” Jones’ attorney Skylar Limkemann said. “It’s only now, after Lucas is fired, that he’s given the materials, including the recommendations and the reasoning for the decision that they opposed, and then implemented, to be able to respond to.”
In a report, Jones is accused of not arresting a driver for driving on a suspended license on October 30, 2016, violating department policy. Jones pointed to another policy that gives officers discretion on how to handle simple misdemeanors. He said the driver was a Black woman and arresting her wouldn’t have helped relations between police and the people they’re supposed to serve.
“It’s no secret that there’s a strained race relation in America, and it’s terribly sad,” Jones said. “One of the things that I think is important in my job is even when somebody’s having their worst day, like she was, or their saddest day, or they’re at their most angry, is to leave them with an impact that I cared about them as a human being.”
In that case, the termination report states Jones admitted to turning off his microphone during the stop. Jones said he told investigators he didn’t remember shutting off the recording. He’s accused of not having his body camera mic turned on during his November 2016 traffic stop of Jerime Mitchell. He too said that wasn’t accurate and took a polygraph test on his own.
“The question asked by the polygrapher to Lucas was ‘did you turn off your body microphone immediately before the shooting of Jerime Mitchell?’ Lucas’s answer: ‘No.’“ Limkemann said. “Lucas passed his polygraph.”
Jones’s attorney said they will be filing an appeal of the termination. The city of Cedar Rapids is not commenting on the Jones firing just as it hasn’t talked publicly about the Mitchell case. Mitchell has filed a lawsuit against the Cedar Rapids Police Department.
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