Officers cleared in death of Claymore Jones Jr.

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 9, 2012

By Shavonne Potts
Rowan County District Attorney Brandy Cook on Monday cleared two Salisbury Police detectives of any wrongdoing in the death of Claymore Jones Jr. in December.
Cook said she reviewed the SBI investigation concerning the circumstances surrounding Jones’ death.
“I have concluded that the investigation supports that Detectives (Rodney) Mahaley and (Mike) Colvin acted appropriately and did not use excessive force during the arrest of Mr. Jones on December 30, 2011,” Cook said in a statement.
Officers attempted to stop Jones, 22, on suspicion of impaired driving. Jones did not stop after officers turned on blue lights and sirens, police said, and he accelerated in order to get away.
Officers said Jones ran from the car toward a house at West Bank Street, later identified as his grandmother’s home. Colvin was chasing and yelling for Jones to stop, the statement said.
Both Colvin and Jones fell on the wet ground. Jones slid down a hill, got back on his feet and ran to the house near the back door. Jones was taken into custody. Authorities said he left his 3-year-old child in the back seat of the vehicle.
According to the statement Mahaley tried to escort Jones to the front of the residence, but both men fell, “because Mr. Jones stopped walking.”
Police said the officers called emergency medical responders after Jones told them he was going to have a seizure. His family later said Jones suffered from blood clots and was taking medication. Jones was taken to the hospital.
Jones’ grandmother, Margaret Avery, told authorities she didn’t see any injuries on Jones the day of his arrest, but did see an injury to his nose while at the hospital.
Phyllis Worth, Jones’ aunt, said she saw injuries to his face when she arrived at the arrest scene.
Although Worth said Jones was already in handcuffs, she said she believed he was assaulted by officers while being chased into nearby woods.
Jones told EMS personnel he was not hurt, but wanted to go to the hospital, according to authorities. Jones was assessed by medical personnel, who determined he didn’t need to be taken to the hospital.
“EMS noted that Mr. Jones had a strong odor of alcohol and a small abrasion on his nose,” Cook’s statement said.
Officers took Jones to Rowan Regional Medical Center where he was admitted for further evaluation and later transferred to Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte.
Salisbury Police Chief Rory Collins requested SBI involvement a day after Jones’ death amid allegations of police brutality.
According to a medical examiner’s report, Jones died at Presbyterian Hospital as a result of a blood clot in his brain, which cut off blood supply and caused brain damage.
Doctors could not extract the clot, the medical report said. Jones died after being on life support for several days.
The medical examiner noted in his report that Jones’ medical condition at the hospital was “completely unrelated to any interaction with law enforcement,” Cook said in a statement.
Collins had said in January his officers used minimal force in the arrest.
Family members claimed Jones’ death was caused by his handling by Salisbury Police officers prior to being sent to hospital.
Worth declined to comment Monday.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.