Attorneys Claim Chief Jones Destroyed Tasing Memo - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/7/08

Attorneys Claim Chief Jones Destroyed Tasing Memo

Lubbock Police Chief Claude Jones is not talking about the accusations against him. A judge has placed a gag order on a federal civil lawsuit case against the city involving the death of Juan Nunez.

On April 16, 2006 officer Matt Doherty tased Juan Nunez III. This was after responding to a domestic dispute at a home in the 4400 block of Jarvis.

An autopsy showed Juan Nunez's death was caused by a combination of tasing, an injury to the head from his fall and alcohol intoxication. The Nunez family is suing claiming the city used excessive force and now a motion has been filed that says Chief Claude Jones destroyed a memo about Nunez's death and other aspects of tasers.

Court documents show two days after officer Matt Doherty tased Juan Nunez Lubbock Police Chief Claude Jones asked internal affairs Sergeant Anthony Gribben to prepare a taser memo.

In documents, Gribben says the memo was directed towards taser instructors, instructing them not to speak to the media about tasers. However, the memo never made it to any of the instructors. Instead, Sgt. Gribben says when he took the memo for approval, Jones wadded it up. According to Gribben's deposition, Jones said something to the effect of we don't want to leave a paper trial on this.

In the depositions, Chief Jones admits to crumpling up and throwing the memo into the trash. He also says Sgt. Gribben was directed to simply call the instructors. However, does not recall making a statement about a paper trail.

Upon learning of the chief's actions, Lieutenant Scott Hudgens spoke to the city attorney several months later. Lawyers reportedly told Hudgens not to discuss the matter with anyone else.

In the end, attorneys for the Nunez family claim the city, its' attorneys and Officer Doherty's attorneys tried to cover up the taser memo.

The Nunez family is asking a federal judge to allow the jury to hear about the memo. They also want the judge to instruct the jury to infer Chief Jones intentionally destroyed documents because the documents were unfavorable to the City of Lubbock.

Meanwhile, the city is asking the judge to dismiss these claims. Attorneys for Officer Doherty filed a response saying the officer did not have any knowledge of the destroyed taser memo.

This civil trial is set for May 5th.

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