Pompano Beach resident, Brandon Johnson, claims that he was asleep in his car on March 8 when Broward County Sheriff department officers shot him multiple times without just cause. According to deputies, they feared for their lives because Johnson allegedly careened towards them, reports the Sun Sentinel. Johnson and his family are accusing the sheriff’s department of lying to cover themselves.
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Detectives Andrea Penoya Tianga, who is a cast member of the TLC reality show “Police Women of Broward County,” and her partner, Ron Miller, stated in an affidavit that they were patrolling Pompano Beach in their unmarked Chevy SUV when they happened upon Johnson in his parked vehicle. The pair stated that they saw Johnson in the driver’s seat and that he seemed to slide down in an effort to hide himself from their view.
Miller admitted to turning on his police lights and pulling in front of Johnson’s vehicle in order to block him in. They approached the young man from the driver’s side of his vehicle. Both Tianga and Miller attest to the fact that Johnson accelerated his car, targeting them for a hit. Tianga and Miller said they fired at Johnson only after he tried to run them down. Tianga was struck in the leg by Johnson’s Toyota Echo and ricochet into a parked car. She was not seriously injured.
The 21-year-old man tells a different story stating that he was sleeping in his car because he had a disagreement with a roommate. Johnson insists that neither Tianga or Miller told him to get out of the car:
As soon as [Tianga] shot through the windshield and popped me in my mouth, I figured I didn’t have to stay there no more anyways. I put the thing in reverse and went over the speed bump and then I drove off with my head down. That’s when the glass started popping everywhere,” he told the Sun Sentinel.
Johnson was struck in the mouth by the bullets, lost three teeth and the bullet wound up exiting through his chin. He also had chest and shoulder bullet wounds.
Not only is Johnson up in arms about the senseless shooting, but so is his family who are demanding answers. Johnson’s uncle, Willie Green, 60, claims that his nephew was a target for violence:
The truth of the matter is, they were trying to kill him,” Green told the Sun-Sentinel.
According to Johnson’s legal guardian and aunt, Rosetta Green, they would never enable their nephew’s criminality, but, this time, he was doing nothing wrong:
We’re not trying to justify anything,” she said. “When Brandon is wrong, Brandon is wrong. We know Brandon wouldn’t attack the police. He was trying to get out of the line of fire.”
Johnson’s family members are disturbed by the fact that deputies had to resort to using firearms in a situation where Johnson was unarmed.
According to police, Johnson has a record that includes three cocaine possession convictions, one resisting arrest offense as a minor, and a recent cocaine possession charge where he was released on bail.
Johnson faces arraignment on April 17 for the incident involving Tianga and Miller and could receive 35 years in prison if convicted.
The state of Florida has recently come under increased scrutiny for racial bias, abuse of power by law enforcement and infringement of civil liberties. The clear racism in the Trayvon Martin case has placed the state on everyone’s radar. Martin, 17, was targeted by volunteer neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman, 28, as he returned to his father’s gated community from the convenience store. The unarmed teen was brutally gunned down by Zimmerman because he thought the boy looked suspicious and claimed he felt threatened.