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The FBI announced Thursday that a federal civil rights investigation into the fatal police shooting death of a 17-year-old white teen was being launched, in a case that demonstrates that police officers under duress do not pause to consider race.
John Albers, an Overland Park, Kansas, teenager, was shot 13 times by police in 2018 as he backed a van out of the garage of his family home — his parents were not home at the time.
“The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence and will ensure that the investigation is conducted in a fair, thorough and impartial manner,” the bureau said in a statement last week. “As this is an ongoing investigation we are not able to comment further at this time.”
Police were called to the home because the teen was reportedly threatening suicide and when Albers began quickly backing out of the garage, an officer standing in the driveway opened fire — he is heard calling out loudly on three occasions, “Stop!”
The now former Overland Park police officer, Clayton Jenison, fired two rounds into the rear window. Albers initially stopped, but suddenly hit the accelerator and started backing toward Jenison at a higher rate of speed.
The van maneuvered down the driveway past the officer, making a U-turn in reverse and begins moving back toward the house.
Jenison again yelled, “Stop the car!”
As the van came up alongside him, he fired another 11 rounds into the vehicle.
The clearly distraught officer was heard on his body cam footage saying afterwards, “Oh sh*t.”
The dramatic incident was captured on camera — Caution: Disturbing Content:
The shooting was found to be justified and no charges were filed against Jenison, but the city reportedly reached a deal earlier this year allowing him to leave with a $70,000 severance package and keep his peace officer’s license.
In 2019, the Albers family agreed to a $2.3 million settlement in a wrongful death suit filed against Overland Park, alleging Jenison used excessive force in the shooting and that inadequate policies were in place.
The teen’s mother, Sheila Albers, has persistently questioned the police actions that fateful night and told the Shawnee Mission Post on Friday that she was “completely stunned” to learn that a civil rights investigation was announced.
“My gut reaction is: finally. Finally it is happening. Our hope is it will be done with transparency and accountability and that it sends a clear message nationally that chiefs of police and local DAs have to be transparent and have to do the right thing, even if it is difficult,” Albers said.
The city of Overland Park issued a statement saying they will cooperate with the federal investigation.
“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,” the statement said.
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