Suspect shot by DEA agent in Cleveland says he was not posing a threat

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — The suspect shot by a Drug Enforcement Administration agent on Cleveland‘s east side April 14 addressed the public alongside his attorney today.

On April 14, Cleveland police say they responded to East 82nd Street and Decker Avenue for reports of shots fired involving a law enforcement officer.

Surveillance video obtained from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District captured the shooting involving a DEA officer who says a man approached him with a gun. The family of the man who was shot insists that he did not point a weapon at the undercover agent.

DEA investigators say Johnson pointed a gun at the agent, possibly to rob or carjack him.

The charging complaint filed in Cleveland Municipal Court states: “Trayvon Johnson brandished a firearm by lifting his shirt with his left hand displaying a black and silver firearm which was in his front waistband, as he walked directly towards the white SUV. The undercover agent seeing Johnson’s firearm and engagement towards him, felt threatened, exited his vehicle, fired his service weapon and retreated to the rear of his vehicle.”

The complaint further states that Johnson’s firearm, a loaded 9mm Smith and Wesson was located on scene.

Johnson and his attorney Stanley Jackson of The Cochran Firm in Cleveland spoke more the incident at a press conference Tuesday.

Jackson says Johnson was shot once and it’s unclear how many shots total were fired.

The Cochran Firm is currently performing their own investigation and will continue to interview witnesses, according to Jackson.

Jackson says the officer didn’t speak to Johnson before firing his weapon or identify himself as an officer.

“This is unacceptable,” Jackson said. “There has to be some accountability. We have to do better in our community. To be frankly honest with you, we have to hold this officer accountable.”

He went on to say: “We talk about de-escalation and in this particular situation as they (Trayvon and Ladon) have both mentioned to you, not once did the officer identify himself as an officer. He didn’t even speak to Trayvon when he exited the car and started shooting at him.”

In response to questioning about Johnson brandishing a gun in his waistband, Jackson says those claims are false.

“When you see in the video, as he’s walking toward the car you can see (Trayvon) looking. You see the officer literally engage him and he takes off running. He doesn’t have time to lift his shirt. You don’t see any movement to show that he would lift his shirt to brandish a gun.”

Press conference blog:

  • Trayvon Johnson’s family has lived in that neighborhood for 32 years
  • Jackson says people in the neighborhood felt uncomfortable with the DEA’s presence parked on the street that day
  • Johnson’s brother, Ladon Johnson, an Iraqi veteran, says he was sitting on the porch that day and witnessed the incident
  • Jackson says the officer needs to be held accountable; the officer didn’t speak to Johnson before firing his weapon or identify himself as an officer
  • Jackson says he is unaware why the DEA agent was stationed in that area that day
  • The Cochran Firm is currently performing their own investigation
  • Jackson is calling for more transparency from the police department in this incident
  • Jackson says justice is when the officer is charged
  • Jackson says history shows that Cleveland police don’t share information until it’s made official through the department
  • Jackson says Johnson was shot once and it’s unclear how many shots total were fired
  • Johnson’s brother, Ladon, was emotional when asked how he felt as he witnessed it happening; he says it brought him back to his training in service and couldn’t believe it was happening to his brother
  • Jackson says Johnson was not posing a threat at the time of the shooting
  • Johnson says he is in pain everyday as he recovers from the gunshot wound

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