November 13, 2018 10:51:44 AM
A Lowndes County woman shot as a bystander in an officer-involved shooting in Columbus a year ago has filed a federal lawsuit against the city and the officer she says shot her.
Morkiter Jones has requested a jury determine whether she should receive damages after alleging excessive use of force, multiple violations of her constitutional rights and gross negligence, among other charges, against Officer Jared Booth, the City of Columbus and Columbus Police Department. According to court documents, Jones was shot in her vehicle on Nov. 4, 2017, outside a nightclub near 22nd and College streets where Booth opened fire on another subject.
Booth, who is currently on administrative leave for the shooting, shot and killed 24-year-old Raymond Davis outside the nightclub. Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting.
According to court documents, Jones was sitting in her vehicle outside the nightclub, the Premier Lounge, waiting on friends to leave the business when police, including Booth, arrived at the scene responding to a call of shots fired. Davis, who had become involved in a fight over a handgun with another man, began to run when Booth ordered him to stop. The documents say Davis "complied with the officer's order, stopped and turned while still holding the gun."
Booth ordered Davis multiple times to drop the gun, the documents say, and then fired multiple rounds at Davis.
During the shooting, the documents say, one of Jones' friends got into the vehicle where Jones was and the two drove to Jones' home a few blocks away. When Jones exited the vehicle, she "felt sharp pains in her right hand and abdomen" and realized she had been shot.
In her complaint, Jones alleges not only that Booth put her in unnecessary danger, but that his actions show CPD had not adequately trained him in how to deal with a potentially armed suspect in public places when there are innocent bystanders in the vicinity. The suit also alleges Booth, who had recently been suspended without pay for posting racially insensitive content on Facebook, opened fire on Davis, an African-American, without provocation and the CPD should have known Booth had a history of racial insensitivity and given him more training before sending him on patrol in a minority neighborhood.
"Such heedless and reckless disregard of Jones' rights, safety and welfare is more than momentary thoughtlessness, inadvertance or misjudgment," the court documents say.
Jones is suing for past and future economic damages including medical bills, as well as damages for "pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional distress" and "loss of quality of life," according to court documents.
Jones' attorney, Brad Morris of Oxford, did not return a call from The Dispatch by press time.
Columbus city attorney Jeff Turnage told The Dispatch he is aware of the lawsuit and said he plans to prepare a formal response once the suit has been legally served. He added "most of the facts" alleged in the suit are not accurate.
"I'll give you one example," he said. "They claim that (Davis) was running away and that Booth shot him while he was running away, and that's just not correct.
"I personally have reviewed the body cam video," he added. "And that's not what it depicts."
Booth's attorney, Jeff Reynolds of Jackson, confirmed he is aware of the lawsuit but declined to comment on the record until after consulting with Booth.
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