Public Safety

Cedar Rapids Police Department mum on demand to fire Patrol Sgt. over 2016 shooting

City leaders, protest organizers scheduled to discuss demands Tuesday afternoon

Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman walks with protestors during a march against racial injustice in Greene Square in
Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman walks with protestors during a march against racial injustice in Greene Square in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, June 6. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

City leaders and organizers of recent protests in Cedar Rapids are slated to meet Tuesday afternoon to discuss a wide variety of concerns and demands.

During weekend protests, organizers voiced many of those demands, one of which calls for the firing of Cedar Rapids Police Officer Lucas Jones.

Jones, now a patrol sergeant with the department, shot Cedar Rapids resident Jerime Mitchell during a traffic stop in 2016. Mitchell has been paralyzed since the shooting.

“I can’t discuss anything regarding (Jones) due to the pending litigation,” Police Chief Wayne Jerman told The Gazette when asked Tuesday morning about the protesters demands regarding Jones.

The chief gave the same answer when asked if he would discuss Jones’ employment with the protest organizers.

Authorities said Mitchell’s pickup truck was pulled over by Jones in the early morning hours of Nov. 1 on Coe Road near the Coe College campus.

An altercation ensued between the men. Mitchell tried to drive away, but Jones became stuck in the open driver’s side door of the truck.

Jones then shot Mitchell, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down.

Police recovered a pound of marijuana, scales and cash in a backpack inside Mitchell’s truck, indicating Mitchell was on the verge of making a marijuana deal, Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden said.

The incident was investigated by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and Vander Sanden convened a grand jury, but in both cases it was determined Jones did not break the law.

Mitchell and his wife later filed a lawsuit against suing Jones and the city of Cedar Rapids for negligence, assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and loss of consortium. The suit claims Jones and the city were “reckless, willful and wanton” in their actions.

The civil trial is scheduled to begin on Oct. 5.

Jones also was one of two Cedar Rapids officers involved in the Oct. 20, 2015, fatal shooting of Jonathan T. Grossman, 21. Jones was cleared in that incident.

Mitchell spoke Saturday at a protest in Cedar Rapids where thousands of people laid down on downtown’s First Avenue — their hands behind their backs, blocking traffic — in protest of the death of George Floyd, a black Minneapolis man who died on May 25 after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Speaking from his wheelchair, Mitchell said, “I just pray these police start policing themselves.” He added that no matter what someone had done, it is a judge, not a police officer, who should mete out justice.

Protest organizers said Saturday that protests would continue until Jones no longer is on the force.

City leaders are expected to meet with protest organizers at 4 p.m. Tuesday to address their list of demands that include creating a citizens review board to monitor complaints against the police department, banning chokeholds and knee-to-neck maneuvers while strengthening the police department’s use of force standards, and imposing stricter body camera provisions.

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Chief Jerman told The Gazette Tuesday morning that he welcomed the opportunity to discuss the protesters’ demands and that he looked forward to working with them.

Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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