NAACP to give analysis of police dash camera video

News conference set for 5:30 today in Cedar Rapids

Dedric Doolan, Branch President for the Cedar Rapids NAACP, asks questions of Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden after it was announced that a grand jury returned a decision not to indict Cedar Rapids Police Officer Lucas Jones in the November traffic stop shooting of Jerime Mitchell, during a press conference at the Linn County Courthouse in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016.  (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Dedric Doolan, Branch President for the Cedar Rapids NAACP, asks questions of Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden after it was announced that a grand jury returned a decision not to indict Cedar Rapids Police Officer Lucas Jones in the November traffic stop shooting of Jerime Mitchell, during a press conference at the Linn County Courthouse in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Representatives from the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP are to present an analysis of police dash camera video in the officer-involved shooting of Jerime Mitchell during a news conference at 5:30 p.m. today at the African-American Museum of Iowa, 55 12th Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids.

“The video tells a different story than what was presented to us,” said Betty Andrews, president of the Des Moines-based Iowa-Nebraska NAACP.

A grand jury this week ruled Cedar Rapids Police Officer Lucas Jones was justified in his use of force during a Nov. 1 traffic stop in which he and Mitchell got into an altercation before Jones fired three shots at Mitchell’s head, hitting him once in the neck and leaving him paralyzed.

Police dash camera footage of the incident is expected to be released to the media this afternoon, but Mitchell’s family already has viewed it.

Andrews said her organization plans to address and contest certain aspects of the video, including the demeanor of Jones and Mitchell and who may have been the aggressor.

On Tuesday, Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden, in announcing the grand jury ruling, gave a version of events in which Jones said Mitchell was immediately combative upon being pulled over for having no license plate lights. Jones also said he smelled marijuana in Mitchell’s vehicle. Police later found one pound of marijuana in Mitchell’s truck, along with scales and $1,500 cash.

Mitchell, late Wednesday, gave a different account, saying it was Jones who acted in an aggressive manner.

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In making its decision, the grand jury never considered Mitchell’s side of the story, which was provided for the first time Wednesday through Mitchell’s attorney Paula Roby.

Andrews said the news conference also provides an opportunity to address the grand jury process and its implications.

“The NAACP very strongly contends that the process is not as unbiased as it has been to believe,” Andrews said, adding her organization has reached out to the national NAACP.

Officials from the NAACP, along with some of Mitchell’s family members and other members of the community are expected to attend the news conference, during which the dash camera footage is to be shown.

According to a news release from the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP, the video is “alarming and graphic.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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