CLOVIS, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Video showing a Clovis Police Department arrest has led to an excessive force lawsuit.
The bodycam footage of the incident last May was after a gun was seized by Clovis Police officers. The suspect 28-year-old Jamaal Jones is then tased and severely bitten by a police K9.
The police department investigated the incident and Chief Fleming said that all police protocols were followed in the case because Jones had a stolen firearm, which is a felony, and was resisting an arrest.
Jones’s lawyers filed a lawsuit claiming that it was excessive force and battery.
“I thought I was going to lose my life that night,” said Jones.
“Do not reach for it,” said an officer in the bodycam footage. “You are going to get shot if you reach for it. You understand?”
On May 3, 2021, Jones was driving near Ashlan and Willow avenues when a Clovis Police officer pulled him over for tinted windows and suspended registration.
Clovis Police Chief Curt Fleming said the officers noticed a tattoo on Jones that is associated with a gang and ran his information. Fleming said it came back for resisting arrest, weapons, and kidnapping charges.
When officers went back to the car, one of them noticed a handgun under his seat.
“You reach for it you are going to get shot,” said one of the officers.
“I am not reaching for anything sit what are you talking about,” said Jones.
Next, you see the officer grab the Glock 17 and hand it to the other officer. The officers then pull Jones out of the car and tase him several times in the back. After Jones was pulled out of the car, officers strike and tase him, and one of the officers went back to his car and retrieved a K9 officer.
“Watch out watch out watch out you are going to get bit! Get on your stomach, get on your stomach!” An officer yelled in the footage.
Jones’s attorneys claim the incident was racially motivated.
“He had no reasonable suspicion that Mr. Jones had committed a crime, was committing a crime or was going to commit a crime. We really know what this is. He was Black.” Jones’s Lawyer James Bryant said.
Police say Jones was given medical aid and taken to the hospital for injuries to his face, back and leg.
While Jones was being treated at the hospital, attorneys allege one of the officers made a racially insensitive comment.
The incident was reviewed multiple times by the department including by the chief who says officers followed protocol.
“Everything they tried on him had no effect. The K9 officer…because he is committing a felony crime and because he is resisting officers that falls under our policy for K9 application,” Clovis Police Chief Curt Fleming said.
Jones now reportedly has to use a cane to walk.
A link to the police manual can be found here. Pages 39, 49, and 104 address the use of force and the use of K9 units.