KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A special prosecutor has recommended not to press charges in the deadly Kansas City police shooting of Malcolm Johnson.

The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, which was appointed to review the case in 2021, announced Monday that it will not issue any charges.

The St. Louis County prosecutor’s office said it concluded the officer who shot Johnson acted reasonably in self-defense and defense of others.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker requested the court appoint a special prosecutor to the case “to avoid the appearance of a conflict on interest on a matter of such high community concern,” according to court records.

What happened?

Johnson was shot and killed by Kansas City police on March 25, 2021, inside a BP gas station at 63rd Street and Prospect Avenue. 

Police said they were attempting to take Johnson into custody because he was a suspect in a domestic violence shooting. A struggle broke out, and KCPD said he fired at police first, injuring one officer.

But in June 2021, a group of local pastors released two new videos from inside the gas station, raising questions about the police shooting.

One surveillance video shows the moment the Kansas City officers approached Johnson and what followed. The actual shooting takes place out of the security camera’s view. 

Another video, taken from a cell phone, shows five officers in a physical struggle with Johnson and gunfire erupts.

The clergy argued the Kansas City Police Department’s initial report and the footage contradicted each other. They also don’t believe that, even with Johnson’s long criminal history, he deserved to be shot.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol led the investigation, and later in 2021, the agency handed over its report to the prosecutor’s office.

Prosecutor report

The St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office released its complete report on the case, explaining the evidence in the case and relevant law that led to its decision.

The prosecutor’s office said two attorneys and an investigator to review the matter. The team reviewed all reports from the highway patrol; requested DNA, fingerprint, firearms and other evidence examinations; and interviewed multiple witnesses, including some MSHP didn’t previously interview.

The team determined that during the struggle between Johnson and the officers, which lasted for several minutes, shouts of “he has a gun” or “gun” can be heard in various recordings. Shortly after the shouting, one of the officers was shot in the leg.

After the officer was shot, he pulled his gun, shooting Johnson twice in the head, the prosecutor team said.

Officers called for EMS and restrained Johnson, according to the prosecutors; video does not shot any of them searching Johnson or significantly moving him.

Paramedics arrived to treat Johnson and he was declared dead at the scene. They found a .45 caliber Glock under Johnson’s body as they examined him, the prosecutor team said.

Store employees and a witness all indicated they did not see Johnson with a weapon at the time of the shootings, and each said Johnson was on the ground when the shootings occurred.

Video showed Johnson on the ground with his arms and hands under his body. None of the recordings show Johnson’s hands once he was on the ground.

The officers involved said during the struggle, they saw that Johnson had a gun and yelled out.

An examination of the Glock revealed its chamber held one spent casing with more loaded in the chamber.

Investigators found a hold consistent with bullet damage and extracted a bullet from a cooler, in line with where the injured officer was standing.

Tests determined the bullet could have come from a Glock, but the bullet was too damaged to determine.

According to the prosecutors, investigators also found holes consistent with bullet damage in Johnson’s coat.

The prosecutors said the physical evidence does not support a theory that one officer mistakenly shot the other.

The team determined the evidence did not support filing charges against the officers involved, stating the law would find they were acting lawfully and in self-defense.


“We were planning for two different results because we didn’t trust the KCPD, prosecutor or the special prosecutor at this point,” Malcolm Johnson Family Spokesperson, Khadijah Hardaway, said. “Just asking for transparency and justice for the Malcolm Johnson family.”

“I can say they reached the best outcome that they could with the evidence they had,” Pastor Darron Edwards with Getting to The Heart of The Matter said. “It’s been very frustrating to hear of the delays from the departments, from different public entities, to receive the information that made our wait two years.”

“If we could get the FBI and the Justice Department to step in and look at Kansas City at a way it’s never been looked at before, we could start there,” Hardaway said.

Kansas City Police Chief Stacey Graves released the following statement:

“Today I was notified by the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office that a decision had been reached in the investigation of the officer involved shooting on March 25th, 2021 at 63rd and Prospect.

“Our oath and responsibility is to keep the community safe. It is our goal that everyone goes home safe after every interaction.

“No police officer wants to be in a situation where they get injured, nor do they want to have to cause injury to someone else.

“A loss of life affects everyone in our community, and it matters to us all.

“This decision represents the culmination of a process from the onset of outside independent investigation meant to inspire trust in the review of KCPD’s use of force. We recognize there is still work to do with our community to build that trust and under my leadership relationships are among my top priorities.

“As I have been doing since being appointed Chief, I will continue to meet with and have tough conversations with all segments of the community to build those relationships at every opportunity.”