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Cedar Rapids' Insurer To Pay $8 Million To Man Shot, Paralyzed By Police Officer

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Screenshot from YouTube
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Officer Lucas Jones' dash cam video showed his traffic stop and shooting of Jerime Mitchell on Nov. 1, 2016.

The City of Cedar Rapids’ insurance carrier has agreed to pay an $8 million settlement to Jerime Mitchell, a Black man who became paralyzed from the neck down when a white police officer shot him during a traffic stop in 2016.

Mitchell and his wife, Bracken Mitchell, filed a lawsuit against Cedar Rapids and police officer Lucas Jones four years ago, and the trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday. The lawsuit accused Jones of an “unprovoked attack” on Mitchell, and alleged Jones had no legitimate reasons to pull Mitchell over or use deadly force against him.

According to a statement Monday from the City of Cedar Rapids, States Insurance agreed to pay the settlement without acknowledging fault or liability on the part of the city and Jones.

“Attorneys for Jones and the city were fully prepared to go to trial in defense of all claims,” reads the statement from the city. “Pursuant to the city’s insurance policy, States Insurance has control over the settlement of this case and determined settlement to be in the best interests of its insured, the city.”

The settlement still needs approval from the city council to move forward.

“While the settlement will allow Jerime and Bracken to provide for Jerime’s future healthcare needs, the most significant result of the litigation for Jerime and Bracken was getting Lucas Jones fired as a police officers,” said Larry Rogers Jr., one of the Mitchells’ attorneys.

Jones told investigators in 2016 that he pulled Mitchell over because a license plate light was out, they started fighting, and Mitchell tried to get back into his vehicle to drive away. Jones was caught in the door as Mitchell started driving, so Jones shot Mitchell three times to stop him.

A Linn County grand jury declined to indict Jones on criminal charges in 2016. At the time, the evidence presented to the grand jury didn’t include any statements from Mitchell, who was in the hospital.

The city’s internal review determined Jones “acted properly” when he pulled Mitchell over on Nov. 1, 2016.

The Cedar Rapids Police Department fired Jones in June 2020, after internal investigators determined he lied about turning off his audio recording equipment and violated department policies during a different traffic stop that he made two days before he shot Mitchell.

There is dash cam footage from the Mitchell stop, but no audio recording of the conversation leading up to the shooting.

“Through our lawsuit, my lawyers proved that Lucas Jones was an untruthful police officer who intentionally violated police policies and procedures and would turn off his recording equipment to conceal his policy violations,” Jerime Mitchell said in a statement.

His wife, Bracken, thanked the team of attorneys, local NAACP branches, and Black Lives Matter activists for standing with them.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette reported that a city panel upheld Jones’ firing, and Jones is appealing that decision in court.