OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The Johnson County District Attorney said a police officers’ 2018 shooting of a teen was justified, but now the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office will take another look.
The Kansas City Federal Bureau of Investigation field office has opened a civil rights investigation into the deadly police shooting of Overland Park teen John Albers in 2018.
The FBI’s Civil Rights division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas are joining the agency in the investigation into the 17-year-old’s death.
Former Overland Park police officer Clayton Jenison shot more than 10 bullets into the Albers family’s minivan as John backed out of the garage. Six bullets hit the teen. Police were at the Overland Park home after his friends reported he was threatening to hurt himself on social media.
Albers’ mother hopes a lot of unanswered questions will finally be revealed.
“John’s ultimate civil right to his life was taken,” Sheila Albers said.
But a man who knows a lot about these investigations said the agency’s main objective will be answering just one question.
“In this case we talk about ‘under the color of law,’ so it would be any law enforcement officer violating your right in terms of being free from excessive force,” former FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Tabman said.
According to Tabman, that violation has to be willful, which means FBI agents will be trying to determine if Jenison’s actions were intentional or done with a complete disregard or indifference to the consequences. They will then turn findings over to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“The FBI is not here to second guess the officer in terms of, ‘Is that good police work?’ or, ‘As an FBI agent would I have done that differently?’ The criteria is again willful deprivation of civil rights under the color of law,” Tabman said.
“The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence and will ensure that the investigation is conducted in a fair, thorough and impartial manner,” Bridget Patton spokeswoman for the FBI’s Kansas City field office said.
Sheila Albers was incensed when she recently learned Jenison received a negotiated $70,000 severance to leave the department a few weeks after the shooting and shortly before he was cleared by the D.A.
She continues to fight for increased transparency and accountability in police shootings and hopes reports and video she’s never seen will eventually be turned over to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“By pushing on this, I’m hoping that we send a very clear message to chiefs of police and D.A.’s that you will be held accountable for your actions and you can’t withhold facts and evidence from the community,” Sheila Albers said.
FOX4 reached out to the Overland Park Police Department for comment. A spokesman said they will “100% cooperate with the federal investigation.”
Overland Park Manager of Communications Sean Reilly also sent this statement:
“The city will fully cooperate with all investigations into the 2018 shooting of John Albers, just as we cooperated with the investigations conducted by the Johnson County District Attorney’s office and the Kansas Commission on Peace Officers’ Standards.”