Accused of helping to conceal evidence from a shooting involving a fellow officer’s personal car, two Oklahoma police officers were recently charged as accessories after the fact following a gang-related shooting in August 2020.
On August 24, 2020, Johnathan Jones and his friend, Edward Townsell, borrowed a car belonging to Tulsa Police Officer Latoya Dythe, who was dating Jones’ older brother. After driving to a convenience store parking lot, Jones and Townsell engaged in a gunfight with unidentified rival gang members.
After the shooting, Jones returned to Dythe’s apartment with spent shell casings and bullet holes marking her car. Dythe called Tulsa Police Lt. Marcus Harper and Officer Ananias Carson III, who arrived at her apartment and examined the car involved in the shooting.
Lt. Harper and Officer Carson allegedly removed the spent shell casings from Dythe’s vehicle before advising Jones and his older brother to get rid of the firearms and leave town. Three hours after everyone else left her apartment, Dythe allowed patrol officers to search her car due to her reporting that the vehicle was recently involved in a shooting.
After illegally purchasing a firearm for her boyfriend, Devon Jones, Dythe pleaded guilty to conspiracy to make a false statement to a firearms dealer and to false statement to a firearms dealer. Police officials have not confirmed whether this is the same firearm that Jones’ little brother used in the shooting. On August 10, 2021, Dythe was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.
Devon Jones pleaded guilty to the same charges in an agreement in federal court in early September and could face up to 10 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for early January.
Townsell and Johnathan Jones were originally charged in Tulsa County District Court with one count each of shooting with intent to kill in the case, but their charges have since been amended to use of a vehicle in discharge of a weapon. They are scheduled for a jury trial in late January.
On Tuesday, Harper and Carson were each charged with one count of accessory to a felony after the fact for allegedly removing evidence of the shooting from Dythe’s car. Initially placed on paid leave, both officers are now on unpaid leave.
Harper is married to Tulsa City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper. He was the president of the Black Officers Coalition and a supervisor in the Major Crimes Unit.