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Malcolm Johnson's death 'reminiscent of George Floyd,' family spokesperson says

KC police fatally shot 31-year-old man March 25
Khadijah Hardaway.jpg
Posted at 3:39 PM, Jun 01, 2021

KANSAS CITY, MO — The family of a 31-year-old man who was shot and killed by Kansas City, Missouri, police officers, doesn't believe he was a threat when he was shot, according to a family representative.

"You look at that video, and you see the lack of mobility, ability to move around and squirm," Khadijah Hardaway said, referencing recently released footage that captured the March 25 shooting of Malcolm Johnson. "You would say it was impossible for him to have grabbed any type of weapon, even if it was on him."

Hardaway said the video, which does not show the top half of Johnson's body while police were restraining him, is comparable to the now history-making video of George Floyd's 2020 murder in Minnesota.

"It was reminiscent of George Floyd," Hardaway said, following a press conference Tuesday in which three area pastors detailed Johnson's death. "Trying to imagine someone being pinned down, just trying to imagine his suffering and mixing those two cases together, caused a little mental anguish in myself."

Hardaway said she watched the video with Johnson's family, who did not attend the press conference.

"Watching them and watching other people watch it, it was like, that was the part that took it over the edge," Hardaway said.

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And she said the video hit Johnson's family hard.

"Black people know what policing is like," Hardaway said. "We know that there's a lack of transparency. I think they feel a lot of anguish, a lot of uncertainty about what accountability and justice look like."

But anguish isn't the only emotion Hardaway said the family feels.

"When you get something that clearly gives you a little piece of hope, a little piece of evidence towards justice," Hardaway said. "It's not a bright day, but it is a pathway to a glimmer of hope."

Hardaway told 41 Action News that Johnson's family is not speaking to the media, largely because they're concerned about the type of reaction the video of Johnson's death will have in Kansas City.