Denver, CO — “You can’t keep doing this. You can’t keep violating us in our own communities,” said Deon Jones after filing a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Denver Police Department for nearly killing him.
From the body camera footage of the incident, the only information the police had, with respect to Mr. Jones, was that he was from Aurora. He’d done nothing wrong. The police were patrolling a suburb of Denver and simply ran his plates while patrolling the Capitol Hill area of Denver.
They can be heard saying on their radios, “He doesn’t belong here,” an admission which could be understood by some to mean he’s Black and from out of town.
After approaching Jones, who was seated in his vehicle, minding his own business, not committing any crimes, the police then did something the average citizen cannot do. They drew their weapons and pointed them at citizen Jones.
They began ordering Jones to get out of the vehicle, something he said he would not do because they had no probable cause and he also feared for his safety — rightfully so. One officer even threatened to shoot and possibly kill Jones.
He said, “If you put your hand down there, I will shoot you.” Police then kidnapped Jones and put him in a cage.
Without probable cause, there were not supposed to search his vehicle or his person. But search him they did, nonetheless.
Finding cocaine, they then charged the man with possession of narcotics and refusing to obey a lawful order by a law enforcement officer.
Those two charges were thrown out in court, as the arrest was made without any suspicion that he’d committed a crime, thereby making his stop an illegal one.
Jones secured an attorney and filed suit against the department for violating his civil rights. David Lane, Jones’ attorney said he’s lucky to be alive.
“My initial reaction, when I first saw the video is this guy is lucky he’s alive,” Lane told reporters.
Jones agreed, saying, “I was like, man, are they going to kill me just because I won’t get out of the vehicle?”
He told reporters he refused to get out of the vehicle because he said he’d done nothing wrong, nothing to warrant his search and seizure.
The lawsuit is the latest in a string of litigation which has cost the city of Denver millions of dollars.
Lane says the police have a pack mentality. “Once someone questions police authority, the chase is on…it’s like a pack dog mentality that the police have,” he said.
At the time the news broke, the police department said they were unaware of any pending lawsuit involving Jones. They asked the public to hold off on forming an opinion until the facts are known.
“The department asks that the public reserve judgement until all the facts of the case are available. When appropriate,” the statement continues, “the department will address any public concerns regarding this matter.”
Well, the public does have some concerns. It’s time the national police force, in general, stops pointing its weapons at citizens who aren’t pointing their weapons at them. There are usually no safeties on those weapons and pointing them at seemingly innocent, non-violent people, only further escalates the tension in an already tension-filled moment.
So few police officers die every year from homicide (less than 75), that pointing a loaded weapon with one’s finger on the trigger is not necessary. Officers should simply try speaking to people instead of threatening their lives with a loaded weapon in their faces.
The look on Jones’ face, in the video, should serve as proof enough, that police are literally scaring the hell out of people, who then become frozen, not knowing what to do. Some people simply run, others fight back. It’s time the senseless escalation of force comes to an end.
The Free Thought Project will continue to follow Jones’ case. His attorney is asking for a jury trial, although a date has not yet been set.
Luckily, for Jones, his life was spared, unlike so many others before him. Dillon Taylor was not so lucky.