Independent review of Marquise Jones shooting focuses on delay to test gun for prints
SAN ANTONIO —
An independent review sheds new light on how the Marquise Jones shooting was handled. Jones was shot to death by a San Antonio police officer back in 2014 outside Chacho's restaurant on the Northeast side. A gun was found by his body.
Questions have surrounded the gun, and why it wasn't immediately tested. However, the outside review found no cover-up.
That independent review was conducted for the city by local attorney Kyle Watson. It says the gun was finally tested as an effort to calm suspicions in the African American community following a series of high profile police shootings across the country.
Jones was on probation when he was shot in the drive through lane of Chacho’s restaurant by off duty SAPD Officer Robert Encina, who was working security there. Encina said Jones had the gun in his hand.
Detectives on the scene said it wasn't standard practice to run prints at a crime scene and that:
"The handgun in question was rusty, old and had a textured handle thus making the obtaining of prints unlikely."
Lead Homicide Detective Randal Hines told the independent investigator that he felt the case stalled right around the time former District Attorney Susan Reed left office and the new DA Nico LaHood took over.
"Hines believes one of the reasons the case might have slowed down is due to the Michael Brown shooting in august, 2014. (Six months after the Jones shooting),” the report states. “According to Hines, the DA put the brakes on the investigation..."
But the report does not reveal which DA he was talking about.
Relations between police and the African-American community were at a boiling point after the Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri and the shooting of Walter Scott in South Carolina.
During that period Chief William McManus said he attended community meetings hoping to restore trust between SAPD and African-American residents, where he was asked why the gun from the Jones shooting hadn't been tested.
The report says the chief stated: "What is the harm in testing the gun if that is what the community wants?"
The gun was finally tested in January of 2016 and no prints were found. The crime lab didn't test for DNA, saying it had been "handled by too many hands."
The report concludes it found no evidence of misconduct, tampering with evidence or wrongdoing.
Encina was found not guilty by a jury in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Jones's family earlier this year.
Read the full report here: