A grieving family is seeking justice against the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department who they say murdered their son, husband, brother and friend in cold blood. Trina Griffith, mother of the victim Ibn Rasheed Jones, said the family has already retained their own attorney who intends to file a wrongful death suit against the department. The incident, she said, is indicative of the harsh racial climate in the desert county east of Los Angeles.
“Others have been killed [by sheriff’s officers in San Bernardino County],” Griffith said.
“One was tasered to death and one other was shot, who were African American that I know of. So, my son was fearful of them, that’s why he ran…”
The incident started July 8 with an anonymous 911 domestic violence call to a shopping center parking lot in Victorville. Jones and his girlfriend were allegedly there that day fighting over their newborn baby. According to news and police reports from the area Jones attempted to flee from officers who came to the scene. Officers shot him while he tried to jump a chain link fence surrounding the freeway across from the shopping center and that’s when he turned to them with a gun in his hand.
“That’s a lie,” Griffith stated through angry tears.
“My son had a cell phone in his hand because he was trying to call [his girlfriend’s] sisters to come get her. She was an eye witness to the incident and she said they tried to run him down with the [squad] car before they shot him first in the leg, then the arm.”
While he was down, she continued, officers put handcuffs on the victim and dragged him by his hair through the dirt. Griffith said she is unclear at what point, but Jones, 28, was also shot in the back. His girlfriend could not be reached at press time.
A spokeswoman for the SBC Sheriff Department, Cindy Beavers said at a press conference in Victorville last week, that race has nothing to do with officer involved shootings in the area.
“In many of the cases, the suspect usually has some sort of deadly weapon and the intent to use that against the deputy,” said Beavers.
Griffith disagrees, not just because she is the victim’s mother but because, she told the Sentinel, she and Jones’ family and friends experienced the racial hostility first hand.
“We went to the sight where my son was killed to put candles and flowers there. We weren’t breaking any laws but about 11 police cars showed up and [officers] came to harass us. They even made jokes when I asked them why they murdered my son, [saying], ‘he died because of too much lead in his body,’” she said.
Griffith wants the officer(s) responsible for her son’s death to be punished “to the full extent of the law,” she said. But more than that, she wants the environment of lawlessness within the SBC Sheriffs Department done away with.
“Light has to be shown on what they’re doing,” Griffith told reporters. “They’re killing our babies, my baby…”
The family is also asking for donations to bury Jones. Write checks to Trina Griffith and send to the Los Angeles Sentinel, c/o Kenneth Miller, 3800 S. Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles, CA. 90008.