Overland Park releases redacted investigation report in 2018 killing of teen by police officer

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The City of Overland Park released on Thursday a redacted investigation report in the killing of John Albers in 2018.

Albers, a teenager, was shot and killed by an Overland Park police officer on Jan. 20, 2018.

FOX4 is pouring through the nearly 500-page report and will have updates tonight on FOX4 News at 5 & 6.

The incident was investigated by the Johnson County Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Team, consisting of law enforcement officers out of other jurisdictions in Johnson County, according to the city.

The purpose of the investigation was to help the Johnson County District Attorney in making a decision about whether the use of force was lawful and whether any crime was committed.

Report Files

The city said over the last three years, the police department received numerous requests for the report and consistently denied those requests.

For the three years since the incident, the Albers family and others have continuously called for transparency to include the release of the Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Team report.

“As a result of this ongoing discussion, misinformation has been circulated resulting in a serious erosion of public trust over this period of time,” the city said in a news release. “Due to the unique circumstances presented in this case to include the challenge of the public confidence in city officials and law enforcement related to this matter, and in light of the current litigation, thecCity has decided to release the report that is in our possession.”

The city said continuing to withhold the investigation report has become an obstacle to restoring the community’s trust and confidence in the City of Overland Park, its officials, and the Overland Park Police Department.

In accordance with Kansas statutes, the city said it spent several weeks redacting certain information within the investigation report including the names of witnesses, juveniles, and victims of crimes; confidential investigative techniques; and personally identifiable information such as home addresses, social security numbers and cell phone numbers. In addition, the city excluded autopsy and death scene photos, and John Albers’ subpoenaed medical records.

“Because the Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Team report is prepared for the district attorney, we have consulted with him to ensure that he does not oppose the release of this Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Team report,” the city said. “Further, we contacted the FBI about releasing the report to assure it will not hinder or interfere with that agency’s current review of the incident.”

The city said out of respect for the family, John Albers’ parents Steve and Sheila were provided the opportunity to view the report prior to the public release.

They provided the following statement:

While we are relieved that the City of Overland Park has responded to the community’s demand for transparency after 3 years, we need to question the integrity of the report used the clear Officer Jenison. This report was supposed to be an investigation of the shooting incident as it pertained to the scene, including a scene diagram with measurements.  Its very clear that John was never investigated as a victim. This “investigation” contains little information about the officer that fired his weapon 13 times or his performance as a police officer. We are extremely grateful that the FBI and the Department of Justice are reviewing this case.

John may not have been perfect, but he was deeply loved. He deserved an investigation that was competent, unbiased and backed by evidence. This was not an investigation, it was victim blaming. The fact that District Attorney Steve Howe and Chief Frank Donchez found this report to be sufficient is alarming. Howe, Donchez and investigations like this are what is wrong with policing in Johnson County. Now more than ever, we support MORE2’s call for the removal of Chief Donchez. 

The Ring Doorbell Video posted by the City of Overland Park is incomplete. The link to the unredacted video is attached along with the “scene diagram.” 

Steve and Sheila Albers 

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