FBI opens civil rights investigation into cops who shot killing boy, 17, backing out of driveway

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The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation that led to the death of a Kansas teenager who was shot dead as he reversed out of the garage of his family’s home.

John Albers, 17, of Overland Park, was shot 13 times in January 2018.

On that tragic night, Officer Clayton Jenison, 31, had been dispatched to the Albers’ suburban home to conduct a wellness check after a friend called authorities because they believed the teenage boy was suicidal. 

The FBI is to now ‘collect all available facts and evidence and will ensure that the investigation is conducted in a fair, thorough and impartial manner.’ 

John Albers (pictured), 17, was shot dead in January 2018 while backing out of his family’s garage with a minivan in Overland Park, Kansas

The FBI has not stated did the reason for the review however the agency’s Kansas City, Missouri, field office is working with the U.S. attorney’s office in Kansas and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division according to NBC News

John was attempting to back the family’s minivan out of the driveway in the Kansas City suburb when Jenison fired several rounds into the vehicle after ordering John to stop. 

But footage shows Jenison was never in the minivan’s path and it’s unclear if John even noticed Albers in his attempt to leave.

After the shooting, Jenison was not publicly named by authorities because of the state’s restrictive public records laws until Albers’ family filed a wrongful death lawsuit. 

Body camera footage from the Overland Police Department shows the moment John reverses the vehicle out of the driveway and Jenison opens fire

Body camera footage from the Overland Police Department shows the moment John reverses the vehicle out of the driveway and Jenison opens fire

Jension was not charged in John's death and prosecutors ruled the killing was 'justifiable'

Jension was not charged in John’s death and prosecutors ruled the killing was ‘justifiable’

All investigated reports were withheld from the public. Sheila Albers, the victim’s mother, alleged that officials refused to provide any records on the incident.

Jenison was placed on administrative leave after an investigation, but later offered to resign from his post. He faced no charges and the killing was ruled as justifiable. 

The officer then resigned from the police force before administrative action could be taken. 

John’s mother, Sheila Albers, said she welcomes the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office investigation, and hopes it will ‘shed light on what Overland Park and our DA have been able to keep hidden.’ 

The opening of an investigation ‘highlights the failure of Overland Park and District Attorney Steve Howe to be transparent in their investigations and be accountable to their constituents,’ she added.

Sheila Albers, pictured with John Albers as a little boy, welcomes the FBI and U.S. attorney's office investigation hoping it will 'shed light on what has been kept hidden'

Sheila Albers, pictured with John Albers as a little boy, welcomes the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office investigation hoping it will ‘shed light on what has been kept hidden’

Albers has long questioned the police narrative that Jenison had no choice but to draw his weapon because he was in immediate danger. 

She says she is hoping for more transparency from the federal investigation after officials ‘disseminated a false narrative, cleared the officer of wrongdoing in record time and structured a severance payout to the officer that killed John.’

‘Officials will ‘fully cooperate … just as we cooperated with the investigations conducted by the Johnson County District Attorney’s office and the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards,’ said Sean Reilly, a spokesman for the city of Overland Park.

On the night John Albers was killed, his family had gone out to dinner and police were conducting a wellness check at his home. 

The Albers' family claimed that prosecutors and officials would not disclose reports of the case during investigations in a move seen as nontransparent but are hoping that openness will prevail in the new investigation

The Albers’ family claimed that prosecutors and officials would not disclose reports of the case during investigations in a move seen as nontransparent but are hoping that openness will prevail in the new investigation

A prosecutor argued that Jenison was 'standing directly behind' the minivan, but a judge later ruled that was false

A prosecutor argued that Jenison was ‘standing directly behind’ the minivan, but a judge later ruled that was false

In footage from January 20, 2018,  officers arrive to the Albers’ home after John reportedly made comments to friends online that he was considering suicide.

Two officers drive to the home within minutes, but neither approach the front door or try to make contact with John. 

Soon, the garage door opens and and John begins to pull out onto the driveway. Jenison is seen standing on the right-hand side of the garage. 

A prosecutor argued that Jenison was ‘standing directly behind’ the minivan, but a judge later ruled that was false.

Authorities were dispatched to John Albers' home after friend believed he was suicidal

Authorities were dispatched to John Albers’ home after friend believed he was suicidal

On the night John Albers was killed, his family had gone out to dinner and police were conducting a wellness check at his home

On the night John Albers was killed, his family had gone out to dinner and police were conducting a wellness check at his home

Jenison yells ‘stop’ at the minivan three times, but the vehicle suddenly reverses and does a 180-degree turn into the street. 

Jenison appears close to the vehicle, but is untouched and moves away.

As the minivan reverses towards the garage, Jenison unloads several rounds into the vehicle striking John. 

The vehicle stops accelerating and rolls forward in neutral out of the driveway. 

John died from gunshot wounds. A toxicology report indicated that Albers had not been under the influence of drugs or alcohol.     

The family ended up settling with Overland Park in 2019 for $2.3 million, although the city did not admit liability and said it settled to avoid the cost and length of the litigation.

Meanwhile, Officer Jenison received $70,000 as part of a severance package when he agreed to resign.

The National Suicide Prevention line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-273-TALK.     

Source


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