A group of activists is calling for a Justice Department investigation into the fatal police shooting of Malcolm Johnson at a Kansas City gas station nearly two years ago.
Prosecutors have not yet decided whether to press charges in the case.
It’s Time 4 Justice organizers said the delay resulted in a lack of answers, justice and closure for Johnson’s family.
Khadijah Hardaway noted that it took 20 days to charge the officers who beat Tire Nichols during a fatal encounter in January in Memphis.
“I think that kind of pressure is needed, especially knowing that the huge gap between Malcolm Johnson and Tire Nichols is evident, the stark contrast,” Hardaway said during a press conference on Tuesday.
Mitchell Sudduth added that the community wants answers and is frustrated.
On March 25, 2021, Johnson, 31, was at a gas station counter in the 6200 block of South Prospect Avenue when two Kansas City police officers walked in and grabbed him. A video shows a fight between Johnson and several officers. Three gunshots are heard, but it is not clear who fired.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol, which investigated the shooting, said Johnson pulled a handgun and opened fire at the officers. A bullet hit the leg of one of the officers, who immediately returned fire, killing Johnson, the patrol said. After the shooting, Johnson was taken to Research Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Experts who reviewed a witness and surveillance camera video said Johnson had no chance of surrendering when the two officers initially confronted him with their pistols drawn and bystanders were endangered by the actions of the officers. officers. It was also unclear from the videos whether Johnson was armed or willing to comply with the arrest.
Sheryl Ferguson said on Tuesday that the account provided by the police contradicted the videos.
“I believe the Missouri Highway Patrol was brought in to protect their colleagues (law enforcement members),” he said.
The Highway Patrol concluded its investigation in June 2021.
About two months later, the Jackson County Attorney’s Office asked a special prosecutor to make a prosecution decision due to a potential conflict stemming from previous criminal cases involving Johnson.
A special prosecutor has been appointed in St. Louis County.
Chris King, a spokesman for the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office, said Tuesday that the special prosecutor is writing a report on their findings and details will be released soon.
In the months following the shooting, local religious leaders who had been allies of the police department said they had lost faith in its leadership.
At the time, Darron Edwards of the United Believers Community Church said he wanted the ability to be critical of the police when warranted.
On Tuesday, he said he has been constantly broadcasting the timeline and communicating obstacles from the special prosecutor to the activists.
The Justice Department is already investigating the Kansas City Police Department after allegations of racial discrimination within the department surfaced last year.