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41 Action News pushes for records in death of Overland Park teen

Records requests denied by OPPD and JOCO DA
Family of teen shot, killed by Overland Park Police files civil suit
Posted at 11:47 AM, Oct 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-26 12:47:46-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Attempts by the 41 Action News I-Team to get answers about an Overland Park police officer’s fatal shooting of a teen have either been denied or stonewalled by multiple government agencies.

Former Overland Park Police Officer Clayton Jenison shot 17-year-old John Albers multiple times as he was backing out of the garage in the family minivan in January 2018.

The police were called to the Albers home for a welfare check on the teen.

As the I-Team first reported in June, the city of Overland Park paid Jenison $70,000 to resign.

That resignation came despite the fact Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said in February 2018 that Jenison’s actions were justified because he reasonably feared for his life.

The Jenison payoff revelation might not have happened if it hadn’t been for an I-Team records request which was fulfilled.

On June 12, the I-Team submitted an open records request for a breakdown of Overland Park Police wages, earnings and bonuses from February 1, 2018 to March 31, 2018.

In that same request, the I-Team asked for those same records in the same February through March time frame in 2020 for comparison.

On June 26, Overland Park Police Records Supervisor Brandon Kohake sent records responsive to the I-Team's request.

A spike in the 2018 wages turned out to be the Jenison payoff.

Overland Park Police responded to that records request and supplied the I-Team with copies of police reports in unrelated closed cases including two cases this past May.

However, the department has denied that same information in the John Albers shooting citing the criminal investigation exemption.

As a result, the Albers Family and the public are being denied critical information about what investigators uncovered.

For months, the I-Team has been trying to obtain a copy of the Johnson County Officer Involved Shooting Team’s report on the Albers case completed in early 2018.

That report evaluated the police response to the Albers incident and was given to Howe to decide about a potential prosecution in the case.

On February 6, the I-Team requested a copy of that report from the Overland Park Police Department, a copy of the department’s internal use of force report and a copy of the separation agreement between Jenison and the police department.

The Overland Park Police Department denied the request on February 27 citing a criminal investigation exemption under the Kansas Open Records Act, even though the case had been closed for two years.

The denial also cited a personnel records exemption for the Jenison separation agreement.

The I-Team then made a similar request for records with the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office on July 16.

The district attorney’s office denied that request on August 6 on the grounds that the investigative report pertained to a criminal investigation and releasing it would constitute an invasion of privacy.

The I-Team then filed an open records complaint with the Kansas Attorney General’s Office on August 24.

The I-Team followed up on that request and was told by email the complaint was under review.

With no decision made by the Kansas Attorney General’s office to date, on October 13, KSHB-TV's corporate owner, E.W. Scripps intervened.

Monica Dias, Scripps Senior Counsel for Content and Intellectual Property sent an email to the Kansas Attorney General’s Office noting nearly two months had passed without a ruling on the I-Team's open records complaint.

So far, the Kansas Attorney General’s Office has not responded to Dias’ email.

In addition to the I-Team's continued pursuit of records in the John Albers fatal shooting, the Kansas City Star filed a lawsuit on October 14 to obtain the separation agreement between the Overland Park Police Department and Clayton Jenison.

Last month, the FBI confirmed it’s launched a federal civil rights investigation into the Albers shooting.