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‘He just stood there and watched my son bleed out’: Slain man’s mom hires Elijah McClain’s attorney

The mother of a man who bled to death in a southeast Denver apartment parking lot as a Denver police officer stood by without trying to save his life says she has hired the attorney who represents Elijah McClain’s mother to represent her in a lawsuit against the city of Denver.

Dedranette Jones says she wants to hold everyone she can accountable for her son’s death. “It’s not about the money, it’s about the principle,” said Jones. “He stood there and watched my son bleed out.”

Graphic video from former Denver police officer DeWayne Rodgers own body cam  illustrates the final minutes of 18 year old JaLonte’ Jones’ life. Officers were responding to a complaint of shots fired when a man flagged them down, directing them to a friend who had been shot and needed assistance.

When police found Jones, he was lying on the ground, bleeding profusely. Officer Rodgers asked multiple questions of Jones, but failed to render aid to him as they waited for an ambulance.

The body cam video was released to The Denver Gazette by the Denver Department of Public Safety.

Rodgers was terminated from his job on Nov. 23 in part because he failed to give first aid to Jones as he was clearly dying, and also because he failed to comply with the city’s vaccine mandate, according to disciplinary action records obtained by The Denver Gazette.

In the disciplinary letter, Denver Department of Public Safety’s chief deputy executive director, Mary Dulacki, wrote, “At no time did Officer Rodgers touch the victim. At no time did Officer Rodgers offer words of comfort.”

Dulaki wrote that Rodgers violated police rule RR-105 “Conduct Prejudicial”. Though the rule does not expressly require officers to give first aid to victims, it stipulates that “officers shall not engage in conduct prejudicial to the good order and police discipline of the department or conduct unbecoming of an officer which … causes greater harm than would reasonably be expected to result regardless of whether misconduct is specifically set forth in the Department rules and regulations or the Operations manual.”

The records reported that the incident happened the night of Sept. 7, 2020 at the Elm on Panorama apartments on East Harvard Avenue in southeast Denver.

Rodgers was dispatched to the shooting with Officer David Clough, who has since resigned. Several DPD officers responded to the scene. Rodgers and Clough were there first.

One minute into the body cam video, Rodgers calls for an ambulance.. Around two minutes later, Jones tells him, “I’m dying.” Rodgers does not touch Jones but can be heard asking “What’s your name?” “Do you live in this complex?” and telling him to “wake up.”

When Rodgers pressed Jones as to whether he was going to answer any of his questions, Jones responds, “I’m dying though,” and later says “I can’t breathe,” and then upon further questioning from Rodgers, Jones says, “Oh my God. Help me.”

Dulacki describes Rodgers “callous lack of humanity” in last month’s disciplinary action report highlighting a 10 minute period during which “Officer Rodgers did not render or did not attempt to render any aid to the victim.”

Further, Dulacki writes that even though it’s unknown whether a tourniquet and swifter action by Rodgers before the ambulance came would have saved Jones’ life, “it would be reasonable to expect him to be alive upon the paramedics’ arrival.”

One officer, Michael Davis, who was interviewed later as part of the disciplinary action said that he had never seen so much blood around a body before.

Brian Finneran, a DPD officer who responded to the scene 9 minutes and 20 seconds after Rodgers requested an ambulance, asked him if he had a tourniquet. Rodgers replied “I don’t have my tourniquet.”

Almost 15 minutes into the 25 minute video, an ambulance arrives and medical personnel who are giving CPR remark that Jones has no pulse.

In personnel interviews done Dec. 30, 2020, Rodgers told investigators that neither police nor paramedics could locate Jones’ wound until they removed his clothing and that the reason he didn’t touch the dying man was because he didn’t want to “fish around for the injury and do more harm.”

Additionally, the disciplinary action records show Rodgers told interviewers he had completed several CPR trainings and knew how to apply a tourniquet but didn’t happen to have one that night.

A day after Jones’ death, Denver police arrested DeAndre Horton, 24, who pleaded guilty to first degree assault with extreme indifference Oct. 22. Last month, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Qusair Mohamedbhai and Siddhartha Rathod confirmed they will represent Ms. Jones in a civil lawsuit. “JaLonte’ Jones was the victim of a crime. That police officer didn’t offer the most basic first aid. Never mind a tourniquet, he could’ve have used his belt. He could have done compression techniques,” said Rathod, noting that Rodgers didn’t act with urgency when he called the ambulance. Rathod believes Jones would be alive today if Rodgers had done these things.

Dedranette Jones said she didn’t realize the horror of her son’s death until she heard the video from Rodger’s body cam over a Webex feed during the trial. It wasn’t until the video came out in the media this week that she saw exactly what happened to her son.