DA Said Cop Was Justified in Killing Teen. FBI Isn't So Sure

John Albers' mother hopes for 'accountability' in 2018 shooting in Kansas
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2020 12:16 PM CDT

The FBI and US Attorney's Office for the District of Kansas have launched a civil rights investigation into the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old, who was said to be suicidal. John Albers was backing out of his family's driveway in a Kansas City suburb in January 2018 when an Overland Park police officer opened fire, reports the Kansas City Star. Police had been called to perform a welfare check on the teen, who may not have known officers were present until shots were fired, per the Washington Post. He was reversing a van out of a garage when an officer yelled "stop," per the Star. Officer Clayton Jenison then fired two shots from the side of the van. The van continued backing up, then turned in the direction of Jenison, who fired 11 more times. Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe determined the shooting was justified as Jenison feared he'd be run over.

Officers were then permitted to fire on a moving vehicle for reasons of self-defense, though Jenison was never actually in the path of the van, reports the Post. The officer resigned six weeks later, with the city citing "personal reasons." However, it was revealed this year that Overland Park officials approved a $70,000 severance payment in March 2018. The city—which says it will cooperate with the probe—also paid $2.3 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Albers' mother, Sheila Albers, in 2019. "My first thought was, 'Finally. Finally, there will be some transparency and there will be accountability,'" Albers now tells KMBC of the investigation. "There are too many documents, dash cams, correspondence that nobody has seen," she says. "I think that the fact that the investigation has been opened, that is closure in and of itself." (Read more police shooting stories.)

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