Warrensville Heights officer behind viral post met with police chief Thursday
WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - There have been two particularly controversial, high-profile police-involved shootings in America this week, and when Warrensville Heights police Officer Nakia Jones shared her opinions about the topic on Facebook, and her words quickly went viral.
The shootings left two black men dead. One took place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and other in Minnesota.
Jones says she watched footage of the incident in Louisiana over and over.
"How dare you stand next to me in the same uniform and murder somebody. How dare you? You ought to be ashamed of yourself," she said in the video.
The investigation regarding the shooting in Louisiana has been handed over to the FBI.
Jones held a news conference Thursday evening near Christian Hope Missionary Baptist Church, after her post picked up steam online and further fueled the debate about police shootings in America.
"We should all be held accountable for our actions, and sometimes our peers need to hold us accountable," she said during the conference, surrounded by family. "Could I be wrong? Absolutely. I'm not perfect. But from what I saw, that was my opinion."
The Department of Justice said Thursday that it will monitor the investigation into the Minnesota shooting, which occurred during a routine traffic stop in suburban St. Paul, but will not take an active role.
Jones, a married mother of six says she is the first and only African American female with Warrensville Heights Police Department and chose to work in a predominantly African-American community. She started her career almost 20 years ago in East Cleveland.
"In 1996 I took an oath in EC that i would serve and protect my community by all costs, even if that meant I wouldn't go home to my 1 year old daughter and that's what I did with integrity and respect," she said.
Jones said she didn't expect her Facebook post to go viral, but now that it has, she hopes it will spark change. She said she couldn't stay silent anymore.
"I'm not saying every shooting is wrong, I work beside excellent police officers I know for a fact will take a bullet for anyone," she said Thursday. "I'm just speaking on the ones -- we have an authority to take away your freedom from you. That's strong right there in itself. We also have the authority to take your life. I can't give that back to your family."
Jones understands what it takes to make that snap decision behind the badge that could forever change lives.
"Most jobs, you make a mistake, you can go back and cover it up. You can go back and fix it, it's fine. We have a split second to make a decision life or death. Do you think most officers say, 'I'm going to work to kill?' No, but in that snap -- do you shoot or don't shoot -- you're like, 'OK, if I make the wrong decision, I may not go home to my family,'" Jones said.
Jones did not comment when we asked her how her fellow officers are reacting to the video. She also did not comment on how this will affect her job after she met with the Warrensville Heights police chief Thursday.
She says she's furious with her fellow police officers who take the oath to serve and protect communities of colors and then don't, but she's personally trying to make a difference.
"I just hope this makes a difference," she said.
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