Fatal Columbus Police Shooting Prompts Lawsuit

Jul 20, 2017

A lawsuit alleges Columbus Police officers shot and mortally wounded a black man without justification and conspired to provide misleading information about the July 7 confrontation.

Columbus Police say two officers spotted 30-year-old Kareem Ali Nadir Jones walking between cars and behaving erratically behind a home on Schultz Avenue in Franklinton. Police say officers Samuel James and Marc Johnson fired when Jones reached for a gun in his waistband.

Police body camera video appears to show Jones with his hands up and backing away from officers who have guns drawn. Jones then appears to reach for a bulge in his waistband just before he’s shot. Police then say a gun was found nearby.

The federal lawsuit filed by Jones' family early Thursday claims Jones presented no threat. It alleges the city of Columbus is liable for Jones' death, and that Columbus Police have practices and policies that allow for unreasonable force.

His sister, Marica Phipps, has said she thinks Jones was trying to toss the gun. Phipps has also said she thinks officers should have tazed Jones instead of opening fire.

Jason Pappas, the president of the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, says Jones was on probation and shouldn’t have been carrying a gun at all. Pappas says Jones forced officers to use deadly force by reaching for a gun.

Jones' family says they'll likely never know the full truth about what happened because the first minute of body camera footage doesn't include audio. 

Police say the camera has a "look back" feature that saves the 60 seconds of video recorded before an officer activates their camera, but that 60 seconds of footage lacks audio. The audio in the Jones video starts after he's already been shot.