Burlington police-involved shooting ruled justified by AG

BURLINGTON, Iowa (KWQC) - The Iowa Attorney General’s Office has completed its review of the police-involved shooting death of Marquis Jones.

On October 1, 2017, Burlington Police Officers Chris Chiprez and Joshua Riffel were involved in the shooting death of Jones. Des Moines County Attorney, Amy Beavers, requested the Iowa Attorney General’s Office review the investigation to make sure the officers were legally justified.

Special Assitant Attorney General Scott Brown reviewed the investigation. Brown says he took into consideration:
1. Relevant background information on Marquis Jones including his criminal history.
2. Information relating to the reasons the officers performed a traffic stop on Jones.
3. Information detailing the officers' contact with Jones
4. Information gathered by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

Marquis Jones was 27-years-old from Burlington, Iowa. He had a criminal history and had been convicted of multiple felonies. On October 1, 2017, Jones had three active warrants for his arrest. At the time of the traffic stop, the officers were now aware of Jones’ criminal background or the warrants for his arrest.

On Sunday, October 1, 2017, just before 2:00 pm Burlington Officers Chiprez and Riffel were patrolling near the intersection of South Central and Elm. Chiprez was acting as the field training officer for Riffel. It was Riffel’s 21st day of duty as a Burlington Police Officer. Riffel was driving and Chiprez was in the passenger seat.

The officers heard loud music coming from a 4-way stop at South Central and Maple. As the officers approached the intersection the car with the loud music was being driven by Marquis Jones. As Jones drove away, the officers followed. As the officers followed Jones down Vine the decision was made to perform a traffic stop. Jones pulled over near the intersection of South 8th Street and Vine. When the officers stopped their patrol car, Jones jumped out and ran. From the dash cam video, it is seen that Jones has a black bag in his hand. Chiprez chased Jones on foot while Riffel remained in the car and headed east on Vine to cut off Jones’ escape.

Riffle drove to the intersection of Maple and South 7th when he says he saw Jones. Riffel jumped out of the patrol car and chased Jones on foot. In audio recording, Riffel can be heard telling Jones to get on the ground and tackles him. Riffel says as he tackled Jones he saw Jones had a gun in his hand. Riffel says the two fought for control of the gun and that Jones tried to point the gun at Riffel. Riffel can be heard yelling through body cam audio to Officer Chiprez, “Gun. Gun. He’s got a gun Chip.” There is no video of the struggle as Officer Riffel had not activated his body camera and the struggle occurred out of view of the dash cam. Riffel activates his body camera as he warns Officer Chiprez that Jones is armed. Three witnesses in the area all report seeing police chasing a man with a gun.

Both Officer Chiprez and Riffel can be heard giving Jones a command to drop the gun and Jones does not. Just after telling Jones to drop the gun, Chiprez fired seven shots in 5 seconds. It is unclear from the video which shots hit Jones. As he is being shot, Jones runs away. Surveillance video, as well as body cam video, shows Jones fall to the ground a number of times but he continues to get up. Officer Chiprez orders Jones to stay on the ground. When Jones did not immediately comply, Officer Chiprez fired another shot. Jones can be heard saying in the body cam audio, “You shot me.” Jones falls to the ground and blood is visible on his clothes. Both officers provided assistance to Jones and an ambulance was called.

After the shooting officers located a small black bag, a hat, and a .45 caliber Glock pistol in a yard behind Maple Street. The black bag had marijuana and a small scale.

An autopsy revealed Jones died from a gunshot wound to the chest and abdominal cavity. A single bullet hit Jones and injured his heart and liver.

Officer Chiprez was the only person to fire their weapon. Both service weapons from the officers were taken after the shooting. It was determined Chiprez fired his weapon 8 times. Eight shell casings were recovered from the scene. The investigation determined Marquis Jones did not try to surrender and presented an immediate threat to the officers and civilians in the area.

According to the Iowa Attorney General’s office, it is determined Officer Chiprez was legally justified under the laws of the State of Iowa in using deadly force against Marquis Jones. The actions of Chiprez were ruled objectively reasonable under the circumstances. The Iowa Attorney General’s Office considers the officer-involved shooting investigation closed. No criminal charges will be levied against Officers Chiprez or Riffel.

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