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Malik Jones’ Mom Plans 1 Last Appeal
by Thomas MacMillan | Aug 2, 2012 4:04 pm
Posted to: Legal Writes
Emma Jones is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court—if she can convince the judges to hear a last-stop appeal in her civil rights case against the East Haven cops for the killing of her son.
Jones made the announcement late Thursday afternoon in the Orange Street offices of her attorney, David Rosen, who said he will file a petition for a writ of certiorari within the next 90 days, asking the Supreme Court to consider the case of Emma Jones v. Town of East Haven.
The announcement came a day after a federal appeals panel in New York overturned a $900,000 verdict Jones had won against the town.
“I believe I must—that I don’t have a choice in the matter—that I absolutely must continue to cry out to the legal system to act on both its moral and legal obligation to right the very wrong that I know that has been done to my son, my family, and this community,” Jones said.
East Haven’s lawyer in the case, Hugh Keefe, was not immediately available for comment. On Wednesday he and town officials proclaimed victory after the federal appeals court ruling. “This decision, which stands to save the taxpayers millions of dollars, marks the end of an unhappy, costly chapter in East Haven’s history,” Keefe said Wednesday.
The case centers on at 1997 incident in which then East Haven cop Officer Robert Flodquist chased a car drive by Jones’ son, 21-year-old Malik Jones, from East Haven into New Haven, ran up to Malik’s car, shattered the window, then shot Malik several times at close range, killing him. Malik, a New Havener, was unarmed.
Flodquist had tried to pull Malik over in East Haven, and Malik had fled. After the shooting, Officer Flodquist said that he shot Malik because Malik gave him a “Go to Hell” look. And the car Malik was inside may have been rolling backwards at the time of the shooting, so Flodquist thought his life was at risk as he ran toward it, he later claimed.
The incident became a cause celebre among civil rights activists, leading to the creation of a statewide racial profiling law, and sparking years of painful urban-suburban soul-searching and contention.
Emma Jones (pictured) sued the town of East Haven, winning an initial judgement of $2.5 million. That decision was reversed on a technicality. A second jury awarded her $900,000 in 2010.
The town of East Haven appealed the decision. A panel of three federal judges sided with East Haven in an appellate decision released Wednesday. They ruled that Jones had not shown that the town’s police department had a practice of prejudicial police conduct.
On Thursday, seated at conference table and backed by a row of standing supporters, Jones said she feels she has no choice but to continue to pursue the case by petitioning the Supreme Court. Click the play arrow to hear an excerpt.
After thanking her supporters, family, and lawyers, Jones read from a prepared statement. She said that her son would still be alive were it not for racial profiling, which she said is alive in East Haven today.
Asked about her emotions on Wednesday when she heard that the federal panel had overturned the ruling against East Haven, Jones said, “Unspeakable.”
“It’s excruciatingly painful,” she said, when asked about the toll the case has taken on her family. “There has been tremendous pain and suffering and I think there is a very deep wound that is left in the hearts of every single member of my family. The two juries and the judge attempted to apply a healing balm but, for some reason, a whirlwind came and blew it away.”
Asked about the mayor of East Haven calling Wednesday’s decision “a victory,” Jones said, “I can’t define what the mayor believed to be a victory for him, but when there is an injustice or a wrong and it causes the loss of life or pain and suffering to other human beings I have a difficult time capsulating that as a victory on any level.”
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