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Up To Date

Pastors' Views On Johnson Shooting | Eyewitness Memory

060221_cm_MalcomJohnson_framegrab
Store Surveillance Video
Security camera footage shows Kansas City police confronting Malcolm Johnson in the BP gas station at 63rd Street and Prospect Avenue in March.

Two Kansas City pastors say new videos of the police shooting of Malcolm Johnson refute the official narrative, and when an eyewitness' memory is — or isn't — to be considered reliable.

Segment, beginning at 1:00: In an exclusive interview with Up To Date, Kansas City faith leaders express their outrage over the March police shooting of 31-year-old Malcolm Johnson in a Kansas City gas station.

The pastors say new videos that have surfaced don’t meet the description of the event produced by the Missouri Highway Patrol which is reviewing the shooting. They explain why they believe this police shooting was an "execution."

Segment, beginning at 29:20: Why law enforcement at every level should be applying a simple test to a witness' memory of a crime.

Eyewitness accounts of a crime can, like any piece of evidence, be contaminated. Why the only "uncontaminated" version of a memory is the very first time a witness tells what they saw and why assessing the confidence of that first telling is key. We examine how this applies to the only eyewitness account of the triple murder that saw Kevin Strickland erroneously convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison.

  • John Wixted, Ph.D., distinguished professor of psychology at the University of California, San Diego
Steve Kraske is the host of KCUR's Up To Date. Follow him on Twitter @stevekraske.
Zach Wilson is the associate producer for KCUR's Up To Date.
Danie Alexander is the senior producer of Up To Date.