Charges have been dropped against a black man who was shot by Mesquite, Texas, cops who wrongly assumed he was breaking into a vehicle.
Actually, as the Dallas Morning News notes, 31-year-old Lyndo Jones was just trying to access his own vehicle when he was shot by the officers.
Jones was wrongly charged with evading arrest or detention in the incident, according to his attorneys, who argued that his constitutional rights were violated during the investigation. However, late Tuesday, one of his attorney’s announce that the charge had been dropped.
“[The Mesquite Police Department] received information that the pending misdemeanor charge against Mr. Jones may be inhibiting his treatment and access to his family,” Police Lt. Brian Parrish said, according to the news site. “The decision was made to dismiss the misdemeanor charge, which will hopefully assist in his medical recovery.”
However, Mesquite police are refuting claims that they violated any of Jones’ rights in the incident. And Parrish noted that the charge may be revisited at another time.
Jones’ unfortunate encounter with police began Nov. 8 around 7 p.m. after a man reported a vehicle break-in.
Parrish said that the man started running from officers when they arrived, and officers didn’t know that he owned the truck.
Police claim that Jones was shot during a struggle with an officer and that he continued to fight until three more officers arrived on the scene and cuffed him. However, Jones’ attorneys tell a very different story, saying that Jones accidentally set off his truck’s alarm and was trying to disarm it when officers approached him and demanded that he get out of the vehicle.
Jones said that the police came up to him with flashlights in his eyes and guns drawn. He told Fox 4 News that he initially argued with responding officers, but insisted that once he got out of his truck he had his hands up, only to be shot what seemed like seconds later.
“I looked at the ground. He said, ‘What?’ He had this look on his face with his gun in his hand looking at me,” Jones told the news station. “And he shot me. ‘Boom!’ He shot me. He spit after. He said, ‘What?’ He shot me. ‘Boom.’ Then he spit.”
Jones said that when he regained consciousness, there were three officers on top of him.
“I’m handcuffed, and he was fumbling with my behind,” he recalled. “I said, ‘What is you doing? Call an ambulance!’ That’s what I’m telling him.”
From the Morning News:
The attorneys said Jones was trying to explain the situation when he was shot once in the abdomen and was attacked by several officers who attempted to perform an “anal cavity search.”
“Mr. Jones reacted to the unlawful sodomy and was consequently shot a second time in the back,” the attorneys’ written statement said.
Parrish denied those claims, calling them inflammatory and absurd.
“None of the evidence that I’ve seen in this case indicates that there was any truth to it whatsoever,” he said.
Jones was taken to a local medical center, where he was handcuffed to a bed and denied visitation from family. Parrish argued that Mesquite had little to do with who could visit Jones because the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department had taken custody of him that Friday.
Jones’ attorneys also accused investigators of unlawfully questioning him without his counsel present, but Parrish said that the investigators were asking Jones about the circumstances of the shooting, not about the charges that he faced.
Police have, of course, been tight-lipped about the details of the shooting and have not released the officers’ bodycam video, but they acknowledged that it would likely become public during the grand jury investigation.
Derick L. Wiley, the officer who shot Jones, and a 10-year veteran with the Mesquite force, is currently on paid administrative leave.