JACKSONVILLE, Fla. A prosecutor’s investigation found that a Jacksonville sheriff officer was authorized to shoot Jamee Johnson during a traffic obstruction in 2019.
The public prosecutor’s office published their investigation report and body cameras of the police shooting on Monday afternoon. News4Jax was told that Johnson’s family saw the video on Monday.
Johnson, a 22-year-old student at Florida A&M University, was fatally shot and killed by Officer Josue Garriga on December 14th during a traffic obstruction in Buckman and on 21st Street.
According to the investigation report, Johnson was stopped for driving without a seat belt. At the beginning of the video with the body camera, Garriga asks: “Why are you so nervous?” Johnson replies, “I am not. I’m just scared of the police. I haven’t been stopped in Jacksonville in the entire time I’ve lived here. “
After he was run over, the video shows Johnson explaining that he has a gun in a jacket in the car.
At one point in the video, Garriga lets Johnson get out of the car and asks, “Why do you smell the way you smell?” Johnson replies that he smoked hemp. The officer then asks that the car be searched, to which Johnson says, “There is nothing – no need for you to search my vehicle, sir. I have my legal gun and that’s about it. “
The officer then tells Johnson that he will escort him to the patrol car while he receives the receipt for the gun. Shortly thereafter, for some unknown reason, Johnson can be seen pulling back and diving headlong into his car while Garriga dips into the car behind him and the officer’s body camera is knocked off the mount and falls to the ground.
“I was immediately afraid that he would try to get his weapon back,” Garriga said in a statement.
Another officer’s body camera recorded what happened next. The footage shows Johnson’s right foot pressing the gas pedal and the car crashing through a fence into a nearby yard.
In his statement, Garriga explained what happened after the car crashed.
“The suspect started raising the gun at my face. For fear of being shot in the face or in the upper body, I tried to hide my face behind the suspect’s head to avoid getting shot, ”he said.
Garriga explained in the statement what had happened when the argument continued.
“I was able to grab the driver’s right wrist with the gun still in it and slide myself out of the vehicle. As I got out, I watched the suspect move his body in my direction and I believe he still had the gun in his possession. Fearing for my life, I fired my spent gun at the suspect until he was no longer a threat, ”he said.
Johnson suffered four gunshot wounds. In the video, Johnson can be seen lying on the floor.
“I can not breath. I’m dying sir. Please help me, ”you can hear him say.
Johnson died during an operation in a hospital. According to the investigation report, the two gunshot wounds to the upper body caused Johnson’s death.
The prosecution’s investigation found that Garriga was authorized to shoot Johnson.
“At the time Officer Garriga shot and killed Johnson, he was firmly believed under Florida law that Johnson posed a lethal threat to him and his colleague,” the investigative report said.
News4Jax’s crime and security expert Ken Jefferson said he agreed with the prosecutor’s decision to declare the shooting justified.
“The officer had no choice. He had to use deadly force. In my opinion, he was entitled to use lethal force for his own safety and that of others, ”Jefferson said.
According to the investigation report, Johnson’s weapon was still in the car after the fight, near the center console and partially removed from the inside pocket of the jacket. According to the report, the gun was loaded with 31 rounds and there was a second loaded magazine in the glove compartment. According to the report, there was also 200 grams of marijuana in a grocery bag in the car. In addition, scales were found in the car, “evidence that the marijuana was for sale, not just for personal use,” the report said.
According to the investigation report, Johnson’s weapon was still in the car after the fight, near the center console and partially removed from the inside pocket of the jacket. (Public prosecutor)
After the body camera footage was released, News4Jax reached out to Johnson’s family lawyer, who said the family would file a federal lawsuit. He said the family believed the shooting was not justified.
Johnson’s family members were among the protesters who demanded the release of all body camera videos related to shooting by officials as national calls for police reform spread across the country following George Floyd’s death by Minneapolis police.
Last month, JSO first released body camera footage of gunfights involving police.
Copyright 2020 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.