By Scotty Boman, Founder
Detroit Residents Advancing Civilian Oversight
On April 4th Sargent Dewayne B. Jones was scheduled for a Final pretrial hearing, in the courtroom of Honorable E. Lynise Bryant on assault charges. These were pertaining to the emergency room beating of patient Sheldy Smith on August 1st 2018. However, nothing was streamed from that courtroom that morning. The register of action for that hearing indicated that the defense had requested an adjournment, in other-words the hearing was to be postponed. As of the evening of April 4th, no new hearing date was posted.
Members of Detroit Residents Advancing Civilian Oversight (DRACO) and other concerned citizens, had been vigilant in following the court schedule. The April 4th hearing was to be the 4th “final” pre-trial hearing. At previous “final” pre-trial hearings the prosecution and defense attorneys said the were still in negotiations for a possible agreement. They were outside the 36th District that day to express their displeasure with the way this case was handled and with the failure of the Board of Police Commissioners (BOPC) to Provide meaningful civilian oversight of the Detroit Police Department.
On April 5th the Register of actions revealed that there had been a hearing on the morning of April 4th, and that the charge had been changed to Disorderly Conduct. It also showed a plea of nolo contendere on the part of Jones. There was an additional hearing on April 5th where a sentencing hearing for May 12th was Scheduled (thereby implying that the court had found Jones to be guilty).
I have heard from a number of community members who share my opinion that the courts and prosecution have been far too lenient on Dewayne Jones. The felony misconduct charges should be reintroduced (if possible under the new plea agreement). Reclassifying the assault to being disorderly conduct doesn’t change the fact that said conduct was an act of violence. There is some solace in the fact that the courts have, again, found jones guilty of a crime. Based on his plea he won’t be able to appeal this misdemeanor.
Still it was an injustice that Jones got probation on the initial assault charge with no jail time. We are hopeful, but not holding our breath, that the court will have Jones serve some time on this latest charge. It was also unjust for him to be promoted to Sargent from Corporal while the prior guilty verdict was still in effect. The city failed to address the contractual loophole that enabled Jones to be promoted, in violation of the Detroit City Charter, after the BOPC had unanimously denied it.
Still the greatest injustice is the fact that the victim, Sheldy Smith, has been held against her will (at the Walter P. Reuther Hospital), without charge, and prohibited from giving her side of the story. Family members, including her Sister Ashley, have been denied visitation or communication with her. Meanwhile her victimizer walks free.