Ceder Rapids, IA — Running from the police in America is a crap shoot, and a dangerous one at that. All too often, police officers will claim that their lives were in danger from a person who simply doesn’t want to be locked in a cage for possessing a plant, so they will shoot fleeing suspects — with impunity. Jerime Mitchell learned the hard way how dangerous it can be to flee cops.
On November 1, Cedar Rapids police officer Lucas Jones targeted Mitchell for revenue collection and pulled him over for the non-crime of having a license plate light out.
While Jones was talking with Mitchell, he smelled marijuana, according to the police report. Because he smelled this plant, Jones then claimed the legal right to kidnap Mitchell and throw him in a cage. Up until Jones attempted to deprive Mitchell of his freedom, he was cooperating and being cordial.
Although there is no audio from the stop, we can tell from the pair’s body language that things were relatively calm before the handcuffs came out.
However, not wanting to be thrown in a cage for possessing a plant, Mitchell then resisted and tried to escape. According to the police report, an altercation ensued:
— An altercation between the two men ensued when Jones tried to place Mitchell in handcuffs.
— Mitchell tried to get into his truck and leave, but Jones held on and somehow became caught between the open door and truck. Jones told Mitchell to stop, but he accelerated instead.
— Fearing for his life, Jones pulled his service weapon with his free arm and fired three shots at Mitchell’s head. One hit Mitchell in the neck, paralyzing him. Jones then broke free and fell backward.
When watching the video, we can see that Jones did not need to be inside that vehicle, nor did he provide a service to society by attempting to kidnap Mitchell. It was Jones’ own choice to hold on to a man who was trying to run away, so firing his weapon in an attempt to stop Mitchell was entirely unjustified.
Jones had Mitchell’s license plate and could’ve easily followed up the next day to arrest him. However, he chose the option of trying to kill Mitchell instead. And now, Mitchell, who’s only crime was selling a plant, that is legal in some form in 29 states, to willing customers and not wanting to be locked in a cage, will suffer. Mitchell will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair as the bullet that hit his neck has left him paralyzed from the neck down.
For a plant.
To add insult to injury, this week, a grand jury decided that Jones acted in a reasonable manner and will not be charged with a crime.
According to CBS2 Iowa,
Mitchell’s family asked the department to wait to release it until they had a chance to watch it.
About 3 minutes into the video, you can see a struggle between Mitchell and Jones. Mitchell is able to get in the car and put it in gear while Jones is hanging from the inside the car. It is then when Jones fires three shots at Mitchell, hitting him in the neck once. He is now paralyzed from the neck down.
Linn County Attorney Jerry Vander Sanden says that the body audio on Officer Jones was not working, so there is no audio of the interaction between Mitchell and Jones. The audio in the video is from the camera mounted in the car. A police report says that Mitchell greeted Officer Jones with profanity and wasn’t calm during the exchange. Mitchell refuted that, saying he felt frightened and tried to get back into his truck, and that’s when Officer Jones shot at him.
It is important to examine this situation outside of the state’s definition of legality. When we look at the facts, without taking into account that the state claims the right to extort you for a license plate light, the situation appears entirely different.
When watching the video, it is clear that Mitchell had every reason to fear for his life as an armed man was attempting to kidnap him while siccing his attack dog on him.
Legality does not equal morality and it is time society realizes this truth before more people are kidnapped, caged, or killed for possessing a plant. The video below is every reason to consider a radical shift in policing and demanding an end to the drug war.
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