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Faith Leaders Release Video Of Kansas City Police Killing Malcolm Johnson, Demand Accountability

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

Johnson's family is demanding the officer involved by fired and charged in the shooting. Meanwhile, the state highway patrol is defending their investigation.

A group of faith leaders and the family of a man shot and killed by police in Kansas City on March 25 are taking issue with the police reports of what happened.

The group released surveillance video of the killing, which took place at a gas station near 63rd Street and Prospect Avenue. It does not show the shooting itself, but the group paired it with other facts about Johnson, saying it shows the initial report from the Missouri State Highway Patrol was not accurate.

Police said they were pursuing Malcolm Johnson for an aggravated assault, but a spokesperson for the family said police entered the gas station with guns drawn and could not have known it was Johnson because he was wearing a hoodie and driving a car that was not registered to him.

"What I saw was an execution," said Pastor Darron Edwards, of the United Believers Community Church, at a press conference on Tuesday. "The culture, the conditions, and the climate of Kansas City must change, and we're here to stand up today to demand that change."

Edwards was joined at the conference by the Rev. Emanuel Cleaver III and Pastor Ronald Lindsay, who have all helped lead the Getting to the Heart of the Matter initiative, a partnership with the Kansas City Police Department aimed at reducing violence in the city.

"There's no body cam footage to actually show the transparency, the correlation of what the officers are saying versus what actually happened," said Khadijah Hardaway, a Johnson family spokesperson and the lead organizer of Justice for Wyandotte.

A Kansas City police officer was also shot in the leg during the confrontation.

According to police investigators, police shot and killed Johnson after he drew a gun and opened fire at officers.

Video of the incident shows a man being pulled to the ground by police after he attempts to flee. During the scuffle on the floor, only the feet of the man and officers are visible. More than a minute later, the video shows four officers leaving the gas station, one of them obviously limping.

Surveillance Video of Kansas City Police confronting Malcolm Johnson

Hardaway also contested the police's description of a struggle at the scene, and said that, at one point, Johnson was pinned by four officers on his left side.

“He has never had full function in that arm," she said, noting Johnson had previously suffered a gunshot wound there. "The mobility of his arm is little to none, so it was just impossible for that to happen.”

The Missouri State Highway Patrol has defended its investigation of the shooting.

“During the course of this investigation, we have seen video, we have spoken to witnesses. We have done our due diligence and done it in a very integral way,” patrol spokesman Sgt. Bill Lowe told the Kansas City Star. “The only way we can do our job is to do it impartially.”

Since June 2020, the Highway Patrol has led investigations of police shootings in Kansas City. Before that, the Kansas City Police Department investigated its own officers.

During the press conference, the faith leaders said they and Johnson's family are demanding that the four officers involved be fired immediately and criminally charged.

If those demands aren't met, the group members said they would approach the U.S Department of Justice with the case.

"We do believe in police, but we do not believe in this kind of policing," said Edwards.

As culture editor, I oversee KCUR’s coverage of race, culture, the arts, food and sports. I work with reporters to make sure our stories reflect the fullest view of the place we call home, so listeners and readers feel primed to explore the places, projects and people who make up a vibrant Kansas City. Email me at luke@kcur.org.
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