Grand jury to review Cedar Rapids police shooting

Photo by Adam Burke
Photo by Adam Burke

A grand jury will be convened to determine whether criminal charges are warranted following the use of deadly force by Cedar Rapids Police Officer Lucas Jones on Nov. 1, which left Jerime “Danky” Mitchell paralyzed.

The decision, announced in a Friday press release by Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden, came after the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation turned over its investigative file to his office.

Following a review of the material, Vander Sanden determined “it would be in the public interest” to summon a grand jury to review the incident, the release stated.

Seven members of the community are randomly selected to form the grand jury. To return an indictment, at least five members of the grand jury must vote in favor of a formal charge.

The process of summoning a grand jury is already underway, according to the press release. Any decision made by the jury will be made public.

The cause of the shooting, which occurred after 1 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1 following a traffic stop, has been questioned by Mitchell’s friends and family and members of the community, who have asked for more information about the circumstances surrounding the incident. Although the original police report cited an “altercation,” neither the nature of that altercation nor the reason that Mitchell was pulled over have been explained.

The Cedar Rapids Police Department also declined requests for the release of dash camera video, citing the ongoing investigation. In a press release last week, officials stated that the “early release of evidence, video footage, witness statements, etc. could jeopardize the integrity of the investigation of this incident.”

Jones, who shot Mitchell in the neck, is still on paid administrative leave. He was involved in a previous shooting in October 2015, in which 21-year-old Jonathan T. Grossman was fatally shot. Jones, as well as a second officer, were cleared by Vander Sanden, who ruled that the shooting was justified.

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