Baltimore County Police Release Video of Shooting Caught on Camera
The Baltimore County Police Department has released body camera footage showing the fatal police shooting of a black man in Maryland who was shot after his handgun had fallen out of his vehicle.
On May 16 Robert Johnson Jr, 29, was killed after police responded to an anonymous call about a group of young people drinking and being chaotic.
Johnson’s family said after the incident that he had been attending his cousin’s 15th birthday when he dented a neighbor’s vehicle while trying to park. That person called police saying he was armed.
Prosecutors released the footage of the shooting on Wednesday saying it was justified and they do not plan to file criminal charges against the officer involved, identified solely by his last name as Police Officer First Class Knight, according to the Baltimore Sun.
The harrowing clip shows Knight arriving on the scene and approaching the rear of Johnson’s car.
Johnson is seen exiting his vehicle and when he does a black Remington handgun is seen falling from the car.
Johnson then turned his back on the officer to reach down and grab the gun.
Knight is heard saying: ‘Woah, no.’
Knight then raises his gun and fires three shots at Johnson as screams erupt from the background. None of those shots hit him.
Backup is called and Johnson is seen running away from the officer.
Knight fires five more shots at Johnson when Johnson raised his handgun while running. Johnson then falls to the ground in front of a neighbor’s door.
In the gunfire, Johnson had been shot twice in the back and twice in the buttocks.
Knight is heard telling Johnson to keep still.
Johnson did not fire his weapon in the incident.
Baltimore County Deputy State’s Attorney Robin Coffin said her office reviewed all statements from witnesses, residents and police before determining ‘this is a justified shooting when Mr. Johnson reached for that handgun.’
She said a finger injury on Johnson indicates his finger was on the trigger of his gun.
He had been recently released from federal prison for a weapons charge and he wouldn’t have been allowed to carry a weapon.
Johnson’s gun also turned up in a database as stolen from Virginia.
‘It’s a tragedy for everyone but no criminal charges with come,’ she said.
She said it’s ‘always terrible for the community when there’s a loss of life in the community,’ adding ‘Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter and All Lives Matter.’
Col. Robert McCullough of the Baltimore County Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Bureau reiterated the incident is under investigation still and ‘additional facts may come to light.’
Cops initially said they responded to a call about ‘a nuisance related to a large crowd of people’.
McCullough said Wednesday the 911 caller reported Johnson driving around the area intoxicated.
Johnson’s family have not commented on the released footage. They have hired a lawyer.
Johnson’s cousin Alexis Jackson witnessed the shooting and said Johnson wasn’t a threat.
Johnson’s brother Freddie Jackson, 20, was inside their home trying to guide kids inside the home upstairs when one of Knight’s bullets pierced the door and his leg, relatives say. He was hospitalized and later released.
Officer Knight is a 24-year veteran assigned to the Essex Precinct and had no prior officer-involved shootings.
He was initially placed on administrative leave but has already resumed patrol duties.
The department does not typically share the first names of officers, citing an agreement with the police union.
Johnson’s death was one in a slew of devastating police shootings of African American people in the country that have sparked outrage on the heels of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on May 25.
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