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Amaree’ya Henderson’s family, attorneys demand release of KCK police shooting footage

KCK police shooting
Posted at 3:58 PM, May 10, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The family of Amaree’ya Henderson and attorneys who represent the family demanded the release of the body-worn camera and dashcam footage related to his shooting death by Kansas City, Kansas, police.

Henderson was finishing up a DoorDash delivery around 8:30 p.m. on April 26, according to his family.

A KCK police officer attempted to pull over Henderson’s vehicle for a traffic violation, which led to a confrontation. Police shot and killed Henderson, who was unarmed.

KCK police and the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department — which took over the investigation, turning over the case file Wednesday to the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office for review — haven’t specified the nature of the violation.

Henderson’s girlfriend, Shakira Hill, also was in the vehicle.

According to a release from the Henderson family’s attorney, he refused to exit the vehicle, repeatedly asking why he’d been pulled over and telling the KCKPD officer that he was scared.

Henderson even asked Hill to FaceTime his mother, Pauletta Johnson, and ask her to come to the location before he would get out of the car.

“We believe the officer reached into the car and around Amaree’ya in (an) attempt to unbuckle his seatbelt and forcibly remove him from the vehicle," attorney Kay Harper Williams said in a statement Wednesday. "Amaree’ya, confused and afraid, put the car in gear and it began to roll forward.”

With Hill sitting in the passenger seat and with his mother en route and on the phone, the KCK police officer shot Henderson twice — once in the face and once in the arm/chest, according to the statement from attorneys.

The family filed an open records request to see the footage from the KCK police officer’s body-worn camera.

"The family has requested to view the body cam and dash cam footage,” Williams said in a statement. “That request has not been honored by police or the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office. Mother’s Day approaches and instead of being celebrated by her loving son, Pauletta Johnson must bury him.”

Williams and her co-counsel, Nuru Witherspoon, said they and Johnson have a right to view the video evidence under Kansas law, which may shield it from public release.

A KCKPD spokesperson said the department was processing the request and the family would see the video once a review is complete.

“It has been weeks, and KCKPD has yet to release the name of the officer who violated the department's de-escalation and use of force policies along with Amaree'ya's civil rights," attorney Nuru Witherspoon said in a statement. "We want every officer involved in the traffic stop held accountable.”

Attorneys for Henderson’s family said he was an honor student and “once dreamed of becoming a cop” before they allege he was beaten by police for walking too close to a crime scene.