According to a lawsuit, the Overland Park, Kansas police officer that fatally shot an unarmed teenager was never in danger and had no reason to fire 13 shots into the family minivan as the teen backed it out of the garage.
The lawsuit says the officer “acted recklessly and deliberately” when he shot and killed John Albers, 17, who was “simply backing his mom’s minivan out of the family garage,” reported The Kansas City Star.
“A vehicle passing a police officer does not give that officer an ongoing license to kill an unthreatening citizen,” it says.
Sheila Albers, the teen’s mother, names the killer cop, Clayton Jenison, and the city of Overland Park as defendants in the lawsuit. The family says the killer violated his 4th and 14th amendment rights.
Overland Park, said the officer resigned for personal reasons after the Jan. 20 killing.
The KC Star reported that they have been unable to reach Jenison or his attorney for comment.
The incident occurred on Jan 20, when police were called to the Albers’ home after someone reported the teen threatening suicide on FaceTime.
Albers, who had a history of mental distress, opened the garage door and backed down the driveway. That is when the officer decided to shoot at him 13 times.
Dashcam video shows the van slowly backing out. The officer then fires 2 times from the side, and then the minivan spins around as the officer fired 11 more times, the lawsuit says. Albers was already incapacitated by the first two shots, leaving the van out of control as the officer fired the rest of his bullets.
As we usually see when police kill unarmed people, Johnson County Prosecutor Steve Howe concluded the officer reasonably feared for his life and the shooting was justified.
The lawsuit states there is no assurance that Albers even knew the police were there when he opened the garage, nor was there any cause to believe he was a threat to anyone.
There was no assurance that Albers even knew the police were there when he opened the garage, the lawsuit says, nor was there any probable cause for the police to believe Albers was a threat to anyone.
As Albers slowly backed out of the garage, Jenison shouted, “Stop! Stop! Stop!” and then fired 2 shots, the lawsuit says, citing the dashcam video as evidence. The video shows Albers had pressed the brakes after the sound of the first shot.
The lawsuit states that Albers was incapacitated by the first 2 shots, and the rest of the minivan movements are the result of the irresponsible behavior of Jenison.
Jenison violated the Overland Park policy against firing into moving vehicles. The policy exists because it can cause the vehicle to go out of control, as we see in this dashcam video. The exception to the rule is, “except in self-defense or defense of another and when the suspect is using deadly force,” but Albers never threatened deadly force.
The Albers’ family attorney, Mike Rader, said they want the police department to reform its policies on the use of deadly force and to reform how it responds to calls for help with someone in mental distress. He also said the family wants the officer and the department held accountable for needlessly killing John.