Fired Cedar Rapids officer Lucas Jones is appealing his termination

Dash camera video from the Nov. 1, 2016 police shooting of Jerime “Danky” Mitchell was released Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. — screenshot via Cedar Rapids Police Department video

Former Cedar Rapids Police Department Sergeant Lucas Jones is moving forward with the appeal of his June 18 termination.

CRPD spokesperson Greg Buelow confirmed to Little Village in an email on Wednesday that Jones’ attorney filed an appeal on his behalf on Thursday, July 2. Jones had announced his intention to file an appeal in an interview with the Gazette the day after he was fired.

Jones was fired last month for turning off a microphone that should have been recording a traffic stop he conducted on Oct. 30, 2016, then lying about it. Prior to being fired, Jones had been on administrative leave since May 4 due to a departmental investigation that began in February.

His letter of termination details six violations stemming from the 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 mother because her car had no license plates, Ryan J. Foley of the Associated Press reported. The woman also had a suspended license for failure to pay traffic fines.

The termination letter says Jones should have arrested the woman and had her car impounded under CRPD policy, which Jones did not do. Jones let the woman go and called the woman’s father, a tow truck driver and professional acquaintance of Jones, to come pick up the car.

Jones told the AP he thought he had discretion to let the woman go and that this kind of policing would improve relations between white officers and Black residents. The decision saved the woman money in fines and towing fees and prevented her from losing her license for another six months.

The October stop in question occurred two days before Jones shot and paralyzed Jerime “Danky” Mitchell during a traffic stop on Nov. 1, 2016. Jones’s 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. Mitchell and his wife, Bracken, filed a lawsuit in March 2017 against Jones and the City of Cedar Rapids.

Protesters at both Cedar Rapids protests on June 6 and June 13 called for Cedar Rapids Police Officer Lucas Jones to be fired. June 6, 2020. — Izabela Zaluska/Little Village

Jones told the Gazette last month he believes Chief Wayne Jerman caved to “political pressure” to fire him. “Fire Lucas Jones” had been a frequent chant at June protests calling for police reform in Cedar Rapids. “Justice for Danky” signs have also been prominent at the protests.

Details on the Civil Service Commission appeal are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. Buelow said a public notice will be sent when the date, time and location are set.

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