Police body cameras are an invaluable resource in police misconduct cases as they provide unaltered audio and visuals of an encounter between an officer and a civilian/suspect. When police tamper with their body cams to prevent from having their actions or dialogue recorded, it raises many questions and concerns. It can also lead to an officer facing disciplinary action.
In fact, a Cedar Rapids, IA police officer was recently terminated for this very reason. According to KCRG, former officer Lucas Jones was fired in June for “lying about intentionally turning of his audio recording on his body camera during a traffic stop in October 2016.” Jones’ termination letter that was obtained through a Public Records Request allegedly cites six violations of department policies. The source says the first violation listed on his termination letter states that Jones “admitted under oath in January 2020 that he turned off the audio recording during that October traffic stop.”
Two days after that traffic stop, Jones allegedly got into an altercation with Jermine Mitchell who he had stopped over a faulty license plate light. That traffic stop led to Mitchell becoming paralyzed after he was shot by Jones. Mitchell was accused of attempting to drive away with the officer still standing by the driver’s side door.
While Jones’ video feature on his body camera was activated at the time, his audio was not, and he has yet to provide a reason for why his equipment wasn’t functioning properly. However, Mitchell and his lawyer have their own theory as to why Jones’ audio wasn’t working. The victim and his attorney believe Jones may have tampered with the audio feature and used the faulty license plate light as a “basis [for] stopping a black man in the city to see what [he could] find” [Source: KCRG].
Mitchell’s lawyer says “the audio would prove that Jones escalated the situation” which led to deadly force being applied. The attorney representing Mitchell also shared that during that traffic stop, Mitchell was merely “trying to protect himself” as he was “scared.” Not only was it late at night, but there was no one around at the time the traffic stop was being conducted. As a result of the unfortunate encounter, Mitchell and his attorney are suing the City of Cedar Rapids.
Did a Cedar Rapids, Iowa police officer violate your rights after he/she stopped you? Did you suffer injuries as a result of their misconduct?
If you answered yes and want to learn more about what can be done to combat the mistreatment that was inflicted upon you, contact USAttorneys.com. USAttorneys can connect you with a top-rated Iowa police brutality attorney in your city who will explore with you the legal options that are available that can be used to recognize the officer for their unjust behavior.