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Retired FBI agent says video of Malcolm Johnson shooting doesn't give full picture

Michael Tabman analyzing video
Posted at 10:36 PM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 23:59:36-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Following the release of surveillance video that captured a shooting in which a Kansas City, Missouri, police officer fatally shot a 31-year-old man, a retired FBI agent said the footage doesn't show the full picture.

Metro faith leaders released video of the March 25, raising concerns about officer conduct. During the incident, Malcolm Johnson was shot and killed and a KCPD officer was shot in the leg, seemingly after a scuffle at a gas station at East 63rd Street and Prospect Avenue.

Police were trying to arrest Johnson for his alleged role in a previous shooting.

"They had ample reason to be afraid and take precaution," Michael Tabman, a retired FBI agent, said. "Nothing wrong with pulling the gun. I just don't know if I would've done it like that in such short quarters."

Tabman analyzed what he could of the video, which doesn't show the exact moments when the shots were fired.

He said the officers should have known exactly where Johnson was in the store before doing anything, because it appears they might not have recognized him at first with his hood over his head.

Tabman critiqued that the officers should have stood at a further distance from Johnson, then told him to put his hands up and continue with the arrest.

"I think some tactics may have done a little better, but that doesn't make it an inappropriate use of force," Tabman said.

It's unclear how many angles of the incident police have.

And Tabman said he wonders how releasing just part of the evidence would impact the investigation.

"A storekeeper could change their testimony – anybody, a cop could change his testimony based on what he saw. I don't see it as helping," Tabman said.

Missouri State Highway Patrol is heading up the investigation. They said Tuesday afternoon they haven't seen this released video yet and don't know if it's part of what their investigators already gathered.

"We have surveillance video from the store, as well as other video evidence," Sgt. Bill Lowe said.

Tabman said it's right to hold officers accountable but the released video doesn't give him the whole picture.

"The fact that we can't see anything takes our ability away to judge," Tabman said.

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