Cedar Rapids man sues city, Officer who shot him
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) —
The man shot by police during a traffic stop in 2016 is now suing the City of Cedar Rapids and one of its police officers.
The lawsuit tries to re-frame the confrontation between Jerime Mitchell and Cedar Rapids Officer Lucas Jones, this time with Mitchell’s full account of the traffic stop.
It lays out 70 “facts” that suggests Officer Jones was reckless and negligent, from not having a clear reason for pulling Mitchell over to actively assaulting him during the traffic stop. The officer said it all started over a license plate light that was out. Mitchell’s lawsuit says the light was actually working.
“Officer Jones advised Mitchell he detected marijuana and he intended to detain Mitchell to check into it,” said Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden while explaining why Jones wasn’t charged in the shooting. “Officer Jones then reached for his handcuffs but felt Mitchell tense up. Jones warned Mitchell he’d released his canine partner, Bane, if Mitchell became combative.”
Mitchell says he feared for his life when the Officer told his dog to kill Mitchell. The lawsuit says that’s when Mitchell tried to “retreat from the relentless and unprovoked attack,” by getting into his truck.
Officer Jones says he was caught in the open door, and Mitchell claims the Officer said, “I’m going to kill you, man,” before firing his gun at point blank range.
One bullet hit Mitchell in the neck, paralyzing him, causing him to hit a police car and a handful of other cars in a Coe College parking lot.
“A lot of things have been said about him are not true so we want to make sure the people know that because what the County Attorney and Officer said were very biased,” said Jerime Mitchell’s niece after it was announced there would be no charges against Jones.
Mitchell’s civil case brings nine counts against both the city and Officer Jones, saying Jones endangered the public and assaulted Mitchell.
It holds the city responsible for Jones’ actions since he is a city employee and had been involved in a fatal shooting on-duty a little more than a year earlier, where no charges were filed.
In that case, the person Jones shot had drugs in his system and police say he pointed a gun at officers.
Legal experts say if the case can prove that Officer Jones and the city are liable for Mitchell’s injuries, the damages reward could be in the millions of dollars since Mitchell is paralyzed from the neck down. But, that could be hard to prove.
The city’s policy is not to comment on pending litigation, and they say that Officer Jones is still on administrative leave.