A 22-year-old man named Jamee Johnson was killed by a white police officer last Saturday December 14 and his family and attorneys are demanding answers. It is unclear if Johnson was currently enrolled at Florida A&M University due to varying reports, but what is known is that he was shot during a traffic stop after authorities claim he resisted arrest and reached for a gun. But what really happen that led to a white officer taking this young man’s life?
Johnson was stopped at 21st and Buckman Streets in the Talleyrand section of Jacksonville, Florida. Authorities said that after Johnson was stopped, they learned that he had a gun in the car, according to a report from News4Jax. The sheriff’s office claims that two officers – Officers Josue Garriga and K. Graham, asked Johnson to step out of the car during the traffic stop, to which he initially complied. However, authorities are also saying that once Johnson walked to the back of the patrol car, he pushed Garriga and the two men struggled before Johnson got back in his car and proceeded to drive away.
The Sheriff’s office reported that Johnson was reaching for his gun and amid the tussle, Johnson allegedly hit the gas while Garriga was partially hanging out of the car.
Garriga fired four shots, killing the 22-year-old.
The family has obtained legal counsel from attorneys Ben Crump and Lee Merritt to get to the bottom of what happened.
Crump and Merritt have issued a letter to the Department of Justice asking officials to conduct an independent investigation outside of the one being done by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department, WCTV reports.
The family has since taken possession of Johnson’s body and an independent autopsy will be done.
Crump is also demanding that the body camera footage be released. “Transparency is important,” he said. “If you believe you were justified in this killing of this young man, who many people say had so much promise and had good character and was a good kid. Well release the video so we can see.”
Additionally, Merritt has revealed that there are varying accounts of what happened which could be grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit, according to News4Jax.
“We know there are witnesses that offer different accounts. The body camera video will give ocular proof of what happened in the tragic killing of Jamee Johnson. So we’re demanding transparency, we’re demanding accountability. That’s all we want, nothing more and nothing less,” Merritt said.
In another report from News4Jax, Merritt said, “From the description that was provided to us, it seems that the shooting officer’s camera became dislodged during the course of the incident.”
The State Attorney’s Office told the family that the footage cannot be released because it has been submitted as evidence.
Johnson was driving his mother’s car at the time, was licensed to carry and had no prior convictions, Merritt said.
Both officers were immediately placed on administrative leave per department policy, according to Jacksonville.com.