CEDAR RAPIDS — Former Cedar Rapids patrol Sgt. Lucas Jones will assert that his June 18 firing was an act of retaliation, according to the attorney who is handling his appeal.
The police department said Jones — most known publicly for shooting and wounding Black motorist Jerime Mitchell after a traffic stop escalated — was fired after a monthslong investigation into accusations he violated rules and policies during a different traffic stop on Oct. 30, 2016 — and later lied about it.
But Jones’ attorney before the Civil Service Commission, Skylar Limkemann, said his client believes the firing was actually retaliation.
In mid-January — roughly 30 days before Jones was told he was the subject of an internal affairs investigation — Limkemann said Jones wrote a memo to Lt. Ryan Abodeely — the commander of the department’s Professional Standards Division — detailing claims from two female officers about inappropriate conduct of a male patrol officer. That officer, Limkemann said, is a friend of Cedar Rapids Police Capt. Craig Furnish. Furnish was a Lt. with the Professional Standards Division in 2016 and 2017 before becoming a captain.
In the memo, a copy of which The Gazette reviewed, Jones stated he was approached by two female officers on Dec. 29, 2019, who detailed multiple instances of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct by a male patrol officer.
The officers’ names were redacted from the copy of the memo reviewed by The Gazette.
The women were unclear on dates and times, according to the memo, but outlined instances where the male officer made inappropriate comments and engaged in inappropriate conduct.
One of the female officers told Jones of the arrest of a young woman for possession of a controlled substance. According to her, the male officer said “he thought the suspect who was arrested was ‘cute.’”
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The male officer, according to the memo, gathered the female suspect’s information and used it to begin a sexual relationship with her. A short while later the male officer called the suspect “crazy,” telling the female officer that “he was having a difficult time getting her away from him.”
The memo also outlined claims the male officer began a sexual relationship with a trial witness. The witness, the memo said, was believed to at some point have been a member of the Cedar Rapids Police Explorers — a program for teens and young adults.
The memo also tells of instances in which the male officer asked women for their phone numbers while on duty, used his access to records to locate women he was interested in pursuing romantically and made “mention of wanting to find probable cause to pull them over so he can make contact with them.”
The memo states the officer was warned by colleagues he should stop engaging in such behaviors as “they could result in serious offenses.”
In the memo, Jones also detailed an accusation the male officer made romantic advances toward another officer’s wife. The memo states the male officer “attempted to hold … wife’s hand, and told her that they should have a sexual liaison.” The wife “was extremely distraught at the suggestion” and told her husband, who confronted the officer and told him to “never speak to him or his wife again.”
Jones also recounted his own observations, stating in the memo that he, too, had witnessed inappropriate behavior on this officer’s part.
Limkemann said the memo will be used as part of his client’s defense in the appeal of his termination. The appeal, which was filed last Thursday, asserts the internal affairs “investigation, disciplinary process, and punitive action taken by Chief (Wayne) Jerman and the CRPD … violates (Jones’) constitutional rights, including his right to procedural due process under both the United States and Iowa Constitutions.”
Jones has been a controversial figure in the police department since Nov. 1, 2016, when he shot and paralyzed Mitchell during a traffic stop near Coe College.
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Authorities said Jones stopped Mitchell’s pickup truck that night because his license plate was unlit. An altercation ensued between the men and Mitchell drove off with Jones hanging on the driver’s side door. Jones shot Mitchell three times to make him stop.
Although police later said Mitchell was in possession of marijuana, a scale and cash, he was not charged. A grand jury looking into the shooting cleared Jones.
With the recent protests following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, protesters in Cedar Rapids repeatedly called on the department to fire Jones.
Jones said the timing of his termination was suspect and accused Chief Jerman of caving to political pressure.
The department has said the investigation into Jones began before the protests occurred.
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