Timothy Johnson Bio – Timothy Johnson Wiki
A police officer in Virginia was fired this week after newly-released body-camera footage showed the moment in February that led to the fatal shooting of Timothy Johnson an unarmed Black man accused of stealing sunglasses from a shopping mall.
Timothy Johnson was 37 years old.
DETAIL OF INCIDENCE:
On Thursday, the Fairfax County Police Department held a press conference where a video of the incident was shown and the announcement of the officer’s dismissal was made, according to the Associated Press.
The fired officer — who officials later identified as Sgt. Wesley Shifflett — was one of two cops who chased 37-year-old Timothy Johnson, of Washington D.C., as he fled outside of the Tysons Corner Shopping Center on Feb. 22, Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said, per the outlet.
Loss prevention officers called police just before 6:30 p.m. that day about a possible thief at the Nordstrom store in the mall, according to the Fairfax County Police Department. Once police arrived, an anti-theft alarm was sounded, which is when police say Johnson fled the scene.
The body-camera footage shows an officer running through a retail store and then chasing Johnson into a parking garage and outside to a wooded area, where officers can be heard continuously telling him to “get on the ground” and “stop reaching.”
Moments later, several shots can be heard in the video, but it’s uncertain where Johnson was in the frame.
Johnson, who had been struck in the chest, was treated at the scene before being taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
Authorities reportedly said that while both officers fired their guns, they believe Shifflett fired the shot that killed Johnson, according to The Washington Post. The second officer, who was identified by the Post as Officer James Sadler, will be on restricted duty as the criminal and administrative investigation continues.
Caleb Kershner, an attorney for Shifflett, told the AP that he plans to file an appeal for Shiflett’s dismissal and hopes he will be exonerated, saying his client used reasonable force because Shiflett claimed it looked as though Johnson was reaching for a gun.
“You have to make a split-second decision, and it’s a life-or-death split-second decision,” Kershner said, per the AP.
Chief Davis declined to comment on whether Johnson was armed but did say two pairs of sunglasses were found at the scene, according to NBC News.
Carl Crews, an attorney representing the Johnson family, said his clients viewed the body-camera footage a day before it was released publicly and called his death “an execution by a Fairfax County police officer” per the AP.
He claimed the video proves there is no reason to believe Johnson was armed and threatened the officers’ lives, according to the outlet.
Michelle Leete, who serves as president of the NAACP Fairfax County Branch, launched a GoFundMe page to help the Johnson family with funeral costs and other expenses.
“He suffered from personal demons and mental health issues,” the page states. “But Tim certainly didn’t deserve to die over sunglasses stolen from a department store.”
According to the campaign, Johnson was a father of two who loved to design clothes.
The investigation continues.