Clergy feel confident in KC police shooting investigation after meeting with highway patrol

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LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — Local clergy met with the Missouri State Highway Patrol on Wednesday to hand over surveillance video in a Kansas City police shooting.

An officer shot and killed Malcolm Johnson back in March after police say he fired first.

FOX4 previously showed you video the same clergy members released of the encounter before meting with the highway patrol. They cited concerns about their investigation.

Back in March, FOX4 looked into Johnson’s criminal history and the events leading up to his confrontation with police inside the BP gas station at 63rd Street and Prospect Avenue.

Pastor Darron Edwards said despite Johnson’s criminal history, no one deserves to be killed. Edwards believes police could have arrested him in a different way without violence.

When police caught up with Johnson last spring, it became a life or death moment for both officers and Johnson.

Video shows a scuffle between two officers and Johnson where he fires at an officer, hitting him in the leg. An officer fired back, killing Johnson. They were attempting to arrest him in a violent assault investigation.

On Tuesday, pastors released video from inside the gas station showing the confrontation. The next day they turned that video over to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

“We have the ability to discern people. We believe from the conversation that this investigation is in the best possible hands at this time,” Edwards said.

Sgt. Bill Lowe with MSHP said they are treating this investigation like they would any other.

“The only way we can do our job is to do it impartially. By doing that, we can only relay certain information to the public, but I want to ensure the public that any investigation we conduct will be done in a through manner with integrity to the investigation. No matter if that’s an officer involved shooting or any investigation we’ve been a part of,” Lowe said.

Johnson was charged with second-degree murder back in 2014 in the death of Monteario “Monty” Hogan. Awaiting trial, he was wrongfully let out of the Jackson County Detention Center and was on the run for six months.

At the time, Joe Piccinini, the former director of the Jackson County Detention Center, told FOX4 they completed an internal investigation about Johnson’s release, and he’s taking steps to make sure this never happens again.

“We made a mistake,” Piccinini said. “I offer my apologies to the victim’s family for this mistake, and I offer my apologies to the citizens of Jackson County for this mistake.”

Following the error, the Jackson County Detention Center put into place more stringent release policies to ensure others are not released accidentally.

Hogan’s father spoke with FOX4 back in 2016. He believed people were not safe with Johnson on the street.

“The entire community is in danger. It’s not like a car thief got let loose, it’s a guy that’s been charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action. These are serious charges,” his father said.

Johnson pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Hogan’s death. After Johnson’s release, police said his behavior kept him on their radar.

Edwards said he believes in redemption.

“I don’t think anyone deserves murder. I don’t think anyone deserves to die regardless of their past. I say it out of a frame of being clergy. I believe everyone has a chance at redemption. I think everyone has a chance to see a better day. I don’t know if Malcolm Johnson would have seen a better day, could have seen a better day — it’s over for him to know what that outcome could be,” Edwards said.

On Wednesday night, activists, friends and family held a vigil for Johnson months after his death at the gas station where he was killed.

MSHP could not say if the video they received from the pastors was already in their possession through their investigation, but Lowe did say they collected all the video from the BP gas station at the time of the shooting.

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