116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The Cedar Rapids City Council authorized the city manager Tuesday to sign off on an agreement to settle a lawsuit filed by Jerime Mitchell and his wife asserting a white police officer recklessly shot and paralyzed Mitchell, a Black motorist, in 2016.
The city had prepared to go to trial in April to defend the actions of Lucas Jones, the officer who shot Mitchell, even though the police department since fired him. But on April 19, the day before the case was slated to go to trial, insurance carrier States Insurance agreed to pay the Mitchells $8 million, without acknowledging fault or liability on the part of the defendants.
The settlement was announced the same day a Minneapolis jury began to deliberate the fate of Derek Chauvin, the former Minnesota police officer who jurors later found guilty of murdering 46-year-old George Floyd by kneeling on his neck. As protests against racial injustice rippled across the nation in response to Floyd’s murder, Mitchell and his family appeared last summer at a Black Lives Matter protest in Cedar Rapids to demand reforms.
Mitchell’s attorneys said when the settlement was announced that they believed the $8 million deal with Cedar Rapids is a “record settlement for a police-involved shooting case in Iowa.”
The resolution the council approved Tuesday authorizes City Manager Jeff Pomeranz to execute the settlement in a form approved by the city attorney’s office. The document was not yet available.
Mitchell was shot in the early morning of Nov. 1, 2016, near Coe College. Authorities said Jones stopped Mitchell after seeing a light out on his pickup truck's license plate.
According to police, the two struggled and Mitchell drove away with Jones caught on the door. Jones shot Mitchell three times to make him stop, and Mitchell soon crashed.
Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden brought the shooting to a grand jury, which cleared Jones.
Mitchell, 42, and his wife, Bracken Mitchell, filed the suit in 2017. They alleged Jones had stopped Mitchell only on a “pretext” and that Jones was the aggressor — at one point, the suit alleged, instructing his police dog to attack.
Jones last summer was fired for a separate matter that occurred two days before the incident with Mitchell. His firing came after the department said an internal investigation revealed Jones had violated policy during a traffic stop on Oct. 30, 2016, and then lied about it.
The city’s Civil Service Commission upheld his firing, and Jones has since filed an appeal in Linn County District Court. A judge has not ruled.
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