SAN ANTONIO – A family’s hopes for justice, and an officer and his city’s hopes for vindication are in the hands of a federal jury.
An eight-person jury will take up its deliberations again Thursday morning in the civil case of the Marquise Jones shooting. Jones, 23, was shot by an off-duty San Antonio police officer in 2014 after the car he was riding in rear-ended another car at the drive-thru of Chaco’s on Perrin-Beitel.
Jones’s family is suing the officer, Robert Encina, and the city for damages in federal court, alleging Encina used excessive and unreasonable force, violating Jones's constitutional rights. They also claim the city investigation was a cover-up, and that the SAPD's lack of supervision and discipline of its officers lead to a violation of Jones’s rights.
Attorneys for the family, Encina and the city made their closing arguments Wednesday before the jury was sent in for deliberation. After about an hour, the jury notified the court it would continue in the morning.
In their closing arguments, attorneys for Jones’s family called the shooting “offensive, illegal and unconstitutional” and argued Jones was unarmed and running away.
Encina’s attorney had his own description of the situation the officer found himself in, “tense and uncertain and rapidly evolving.”
He argued Jones’s actions, particularly putting his hands in his pockets and, according to some witnesses, getting out of the car with a gun, justified the shooting.
Witness accounts were mixed over whether they saw Jones with a gun. Though a revolver was found 25 feet away from Jones’s body, it was not originally tested for fingerprints or DNA. Later testing did not turn anything up.
The city’s attorney denied a cover-up or a lack of supervision and discipline.
A grand jury decided not to charge Encina for his actions in 2015. All the jury can do in the civil case is award the family monetary damages for their loss. It can also award punitive damages against Encina.
The jury is scheduled to resume its deliberations at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
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