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Family of Malcolm Johnson files wrongful death lawsuit against KCPD

Malcolm Johnson OIS cell phone 2021
Posted at 9:03 AM, Feb 23, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The family of Malcolm Johnson filed a wrongful death lawsuit earlier this month in Jackson County Circuit Court in connection to the deadly police shooting in March 2021.

The seven-page filing made on Monday, Feb. 12, includes just one count — wrongful death — and names several Kansas City, Missouri, police officers as defendants.

LINK | Read the lawsuit

Attorney Gerald Grey II of G. Gray Law, LCC, is representing Johnson’s next of kin in the lawsuit.

A lengthy review of the police shooting at the BP Gas station near 62nd and Prospect — which included the Missouri State Highway Patrol and eventually a special prosecutor from the St. Louis area — determined the officers acted within their authority in the shooting death of Johnson and declined to recommend or file charges.

LINK | Read the full report

Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Justine E. Del Muro has scheduled a case management conference for 9 a.m. on June 7, 2024.

KSHB 41 News reached out to KCPD for comment, and the department said it generally does not comment on pending litigation to ensure fairness for all involved parties.

"We regret the loss of Mr. Johnson's life, as well as the injury to the police officer who also was shot in the incident, and regardless of the legal conclusions, any loss of life and injury to an officer is tragic," the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office said Monday in a statement accompanying the release of the special prosecutor's report.

Officers from KCPD's Impact Unit were searching for and surveilling Johnson the day he was killed in connection to an unrelated shooting incident.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Andy Bell said two officers located Johnson at the gas station and tried to take him into custody.

A struggle ensued and police alleged Johnson fired at least one shot at police, who returned fire in self-defense, Bell said at the time. An officer was also shot in the leg during the struggle.

The special prosecutor's team, which included two attorneys and an investigator, conducted its own investigation beyond the Missouri State Highway Patrol's investigation. It reviewed the case for consideration of murder and manslaughter charges, but decided against recommending any charges.

“The physical evidence is clear that one officer was shot with a bullet that could not have been fired from a police officer’s gun, but it could have been fired from Mr. Johnson’s gun,” the special prosecutor’s five-page report said. “This evidence is consistent with Mr. Johnson having a firearm and using that gun to shoot one police officer. The physical evidence does not corroborate a theory that one officer mistakenly shot the second officer.”

Thus, the report concludes, the officer who shot Johnson can reasonably claim that he was “acting in lawful self-defense or defense of others under Missouri law."