KANSAS CITY, Mo. — New cellphone video showing a second perspective of the interaction between Malcolm Johnson and Kansas City, Missouri, police before he was fatally shot doesn't tell the entire story, according to a retired FBI agent.
Chuck Stephenson said that, while useful, the footage is shot from one angle and needs to be viewed frame by frame.
"A very volatile, a very fast moving situation," Stephenson said of the March incident at a KCMO gas station in which officers shot and killed the 31 year old.
While Stephenson watched the video, he heard, "He has a gun," which Stephenson alludes the confrontation escalates.
"Gun means one thing – that he's got a gun," Stephenson said. "Your immediate thought process is to get control of the weapon."
Stephenson also looked at each of the officers' movements.
"What you're dealing with is six individual officers struggling in a very violent confrontation in just milliseconds with a gun that goes off," he said, "and each one of those officers has a perception of their level of inanimate danger."
From this particular vantage point, Stephenson said, it's hard to know who shot the first bullet that hit the officer.
"At this point you don't know, I mean I couldn't see because it was all covered up," he said.
If there was tactical aspect of the situation that Stephenson would change, he said that would be to let it play out outside of the gas station.
"Ideally, you wouldn't confront them in very close quarters like this," Stephenson said. "Ideally, you'd wait until he gets outside into the public."
The video will be crucial in court, according to Stephenson, who also said it's only one piece of the puzzle.
"The mysteries that hold this all together is the ballistics report," he said. "What weapon had fired, what projectile hit who, when did they get it, what was the perception of the officer's minds when the round went off. It could have been friendly fire that injured the officer."
41 Action News asked the Missouri State Highway Patrol on Thursday about the bullet that injured the officer and if it came from a weapon Johnson potentially had, they said they can't release those details since it's part of an ongoing investigation.