Cedar Rapids Civil Service Commission affirms CRPD’s decision to fire Lucas Jones

Lucas Jones testified and was questioned during the second day of his appeal hearing, Sept. 23, 2020. — screengrab

The Cedar Rapids Civil Service Commission voted unanimously on Monday to uphold the firing of former Cedar Rapids police officer Lucas Jones, affirming the decision Chief Wayne Jerman made earlier this year.

The three-member commission went into a closed session for deliberation prior to Monday’s vote. A written decision is expected to be ready next week, which will then trigger the appeal timeline, the commission’s attorney Mo Sheronick said. Jones has 30 days to appeal.

Jones’ attorney Skylar Limkemann said Jones will appeal the decision in district court, according to the Gazette.

“We’ll see what a judge says about that (decision),” Limkemann told the Gazette.

The Cedar Rapids Police Department fired Jones in June. His letter of termination detailed six violations stemming from the Oct. 30, 2016 traffic stop that led to him receiving letters of reprimand, a 40-hour suspension and eventually being fired.

During the stop in question, Jones pulled over a young Black woman because her car had no license plates. The woman also had a suspended license for failure to pay traffic fines.

During the traffic stop, Jones’ microphone stops working. In an April 2017 administrative interview, Jones said he doesn’t recall what happened. But in a January 2020 deposition, Jones testified under oath that he intentionally turned off his microphone to conceal that he was violating policy.

The commission heard nearly 21 hours of testimony during the two-day hearing in late September. The testimony centered around what happened during the October 2016 traffic stop.

During that hearing, the Cedar Rapids Police Department said Jones lied about turning off his microphone and made additional untruthful statements under oath.

Jones’ attorney argued that an inconsistent statements were the result of his client misremembering a stop that happened nearly three and a half years earlier. Jones’ attorney also claimed the firing was in retaliation for a sexual harassment complaint Jones filed against another officer and to appease protesters who called for Jones’ firing.

The October stop in question occurred two days before Jones shot and paralyzed Jerime Mitchell during a traffic stop on Nov. 1, 2016. Jones’ audio recording was also not working during the November traffic stop, but CRPD has not said why. A grand jury declined to indict Jones for the shooting and an investigation by the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation concluded that Jones had not broken the law when he shot Mitchell.

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