CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – A virtual appeal hearing was held Tuesday involving the termination of former Cedar Rapids Police Sgt. Lucas Jones after his June firing.
Jones said the firing process violated his rights to due process. The Cedar Rapids Police chief said Jones was fired citing a violation of rules and policies. Jones, however, claimed his firing was politically-motivated.
In 2016, Jones shot and paralyzed Jerime Mitchell, a black driver that he had pulled over in Cedar Rapids. The two had fought and Mitchell drove away before Jones fired at him, but police said something Jones did the day before led to his firing.
The City Services Commission heard from multiple different witnesses Tuesday, starting with Cpt. Craig Furnish from CRPD. Furnish investigated Jones back in 2016 related to an October 30 traffic stop of that year where Jones’ body microphone was turned off. That incident took place a day before the Mitchell shooting incident.
Jones told Furnish he didn’t know if he turned that microphone off or if it went dead. In that same stop, Jones let a suspended driver go with no arrest. The next day, Jones was involved in a second traffic stop where Jerime Mitchell was shot.
While being questioned in a deposition of January of this year about that incident, Jones said he did turn his microphone off the night before, opposite of what he told Furnish in 2016. Jones also admitted to knowingly violating department policies on other issues.
Furnish said concerns over inconsistent testimonies, which could result in distrust from the public, in part, led to Jones’ termination. Jones’ attorney argued it was possible Jones couldn’t remember details from the incident years prior and noted Jones’ long time in the force, with no other significant issues or previous concerns over his credibility.
Witnesses were also questioned about a polygraph exam Jones independently completed in an effort to clear his name, in which he answered he didn’t withhold any information about turning his microphone off.
Witnesses considered polygraph experts noted inconsistencies in the exam and that the test wasn’t video recorded, a standard practice they said is followed by the American Polygraph Association.
The hearing continues Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. The hearing is open to the public but held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. The hearing can be viewed on the City of Cedar Rapids Government Facebook page.
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