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Special Prosecutor Says Kansas City Cops Justified In Shooting Malcolm Johnson In Self-Defense

Kansas City, MO – A special prosecutor announced on Monday that the Kansas City officers who fatally shot 31-year-old Malcolm Johnson were acting in self-defense and will not face any charges in connection with the 2021 officer-involved shooting.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker recused herself from handling Johnson’s case because her office had previously investigated him as the suspect in another shooting.

The investigation was passed off to St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell’s office, who assigned a special prosecutor to investigate.

Bell is a former defense attorney who ran for office on a reform platform. After being elected, he re-opened the 2014 Michael Brown shooting case, but after a five-month review of all evidence, he ultimately determined that the shooting was justified.

The St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office released a statement on March 13 that said there was insufficient evidence to prove officers didn’t follow Missouri law, KCUR reported.

“The physical evidence, the audio evidence and the statements of evidence do not support filing charges against the officers involved with the arrest or the fatal shooting of Malcolm Johnson,” the statement read.

The shooting occurred on March 25, 2021 inside a gas station convenience store located at 63rd Street and Prospect Avenue, The Kansas City Star reported.

Missouri Highway Patrol (MHP), the agency tasked with investigating the shooting, said Kansas City officers tried to arrest Johnson in connection with a domestic violence shooting but he resisted.

Several officers struggled to detain Johnson as he fought violently, The Kansas City Star reported.

MHP said Johnson shot an officer in the leg and the wounded officer returned fire and fatally shot him.

Months later a coalition of pastors came forward in possession of cell phone video that showed a different view of the incident.

The group claimed they tried to take the video to law enforcement but felt dismissed by officials, so they decided to release it to the public, The Kansas City Star reported.

“What I saw was an execution,” Darron Edwards, of United Believers Community Church, said. “We stand on a moral obligation. We want to demand change and we demand it now.”

The cell phone video showed two officers approached Johnson with their weapons drawn as he stood at the store counter scratching off a lottery ticket.

The officers tried to take Johnson’s arms to handcuff him, but he pulled away and dashed toward the door of the store, the video showed.

At least two more officers rushed in and helped the first two officers take Johnson to the ground.

The video showed Johnson continued to struggle and violently resisted arrest even after the officers surrounded him and two of them piled on top of him.

One of the officers appeared to draw their weapon and then a couple seconds later a shot is heard, KCTV reported.

An officer yelled in the video and then hobbled away in pain.

Then two more shots were fired, according to KCTV.

Johnson was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead, The Kansas City Star reported.

The wounded officer was treated at the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

The pastors claimed that Johnson appeared to have been restrained when he was shot, and that his family had obtained autopsy photos that showed he had been shot in the head, The Kansas City Star reported.

However, cell phone video shows Johnson wasn’t under control at the time as he fought off the officers.

If Johnson was actually shot in the head, it wouldn’t have any relevance to determining if the shooting was justified.

Last month, activists called for a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into the shooting, KCUR reported.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone


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