Family suing over police shooting


March 9, 2004, 02:42 PM

March 9, 2004 - The family of a teenager shot and killed by Richland County deputies plans to file a lawsuit against the county. The family is planning a news conference on Tuesday.

In November 2002, deputies opened fire, killing Chad Jones, 19. Jones had been arrested on charges including driving a stolen car.

Deputies say Jones got into the driver's seat of a patrol car and tried to run over an officer.

Jones' family says the sheriff's department has different standards for the use of force in white communities and black communities. A department spokesman had not been available for comment

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Standing Wolf
March 9, 2004, 04:24 PM
No shortage of lawyers without principles.

March 10, 2004, 08:42 AM

Police shooting leads to lawsuit

Man blames racism, negligence for son’s death; police fired on teen as he drove away in patrol car


Staff Writer

Richland County deputies needlessly killed a teenager in November 2002 as he was driving away in a patrol car while handcuffed, a lawsuit contends.

The suit, filed Tuesday by the family of Chad Jones, also accuses the Sheriff’s Department of having “different standards” when deciding to use deadly force against white and black suspects.

“You don’t find them killing white people,” said Hemphill Pride II, a longtime Columbia lawyer who represents Jones’ family. “We want it stopped.”

Jones, 19, of Columbia, was black; the two deputies who shot at him are white.

The suit also questions why deputies left Jones in the car for two hours.

In a prepared statement read Tuesday to reporters, Jones’ father, Willie L. Jones, said he and his wife “hope to find the truth with regard to how Chad was killed.”

The lawsuit, filed in Richland County Circuit Court, seeks unspecified damages against the county. Sheriff Leon Lott and deputies Clark Frady, Gilbert Gallegos and Linn Pitts also are named as defendants.

Lott on Tuesday denied all the allegations in the suit.

“We can’t be blamed for what Chad Jones did,” he said. “All he had to do was sit in the back of that car, and (he) would still be with us.”

Lott also disputed the allegation that race is a factor in his department’s deadly force policy, saying it was “absolutely not true.”

He pointed out that a deputy shot and killed a suspected white bank robber in 1998, and deputies shot and wounded another white man who pulled a knife on officers in 2002 — about three months before Jones was killed.

In a December 2002 letter, Richland County Solicitor Barney Giese said the two deputies who shot at Jones — Pitts and Frady — were justified in their actions. He noted they had a “good faith belief that Mr. Jones posed a risk of serious bodily harm or death to other officers and citizens in the vicinity.”

First Assistant Solicitor David Pascoe said Tuesday the ruling by his office was based on a “thorough review” of a State Law Enforcement Division investigation, and that “we stand by our (December 2002) letter.”

Pride said Tuesday that prosecutors “summarily dismissed” any possibility of wrongdoing by the deputies, adding he didn’t “put any credibility” in the SLED investigation. Jones’ father in his prepared statement said he has asked the U.S. Attorney’s Office and FBI to investigate.

Jones died Nov. 26, 2002, after he was shot in the head while driving away a police cruiser, police and witnesses said. He was arrested after a chase that ended when a stolen Jeep Cherokee deputies said he was driving crashed near Waverly Street Apartments in Columbia.

After Jones was arrested, deputies handcuffed his hands behind his back and put him in the back seat of a sheriff’s cruiser, Lott said earlier.

More then two hours later — while deputies were still at the scene doing paperwork — the thin, 5-foot-6 Jones somehow got the cuffs in front of him and squeezed through a small opening in the Plexiglas that separated the cruiser’s front and back seats.

As Jones put the car in gear and was driving forward, deputies who were doing their reports on the hood of the car dove out of the way and fired at Jones, Lott said.

The suit alleges Frady, Gallegos and Pitts were negligent by leaving the squad car running unattended for a long time, leaving the sliding window between the seats unlocked, and failing to warn Jones before the shooting. The suit said the deputies should have shot out the car’s tires.

Reach Brundrett at (803) 771-8484 or

March 10, 2004, 08:58 AM
This link has more history behind the story to it.

March 10, 2004, 06:48 PM
Interesting, I just saw on Maximum Exposure about two weeks ago about a slender 17 year old caucasion female who was pulled over for drunk driving, proved herself inhebriated, handcuffed and put in the back of the car. As the officer was talking to the passenger of the vehicle, the drunk girl climbed over the street and took off in the patrol car, crying. Officers chased her for quite a few miles and put a good amount of dents into 10-15 officers cars while they piled around her to keep her from moving.

Then again, 15 vehicles is a small price to pay for not having to take a life...


rock jock
March 10, 2004, 07:01 PM
Mr. Jones sounds like a real pillar of the community. Too bad an armed citizen didn't do the job first when he stole the vehicle.

March 10, 2004, 07:44 PM
No shortage of lawyers without principles.

Thats why tort reform where loser pays would be a good idea.

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