PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- Erma Johnson knows nothing will bring her son Dion back, but she still wants answers and she wants justice.

"I'm the one that's in pain," said Johnson. "I'm the one suffering. I'm the one hurting. My heart just breaks because I just can't imagine an officer that wants to protect and serve would shoot an unarmed man."

Johnson and other family members spoke out Thursday during a news conference at their Phoenix attorney's office.

Johnson claims a just-released Phoenix police report about the shooting death of Dion Johnson raises more questions about Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper George Cervantes, who shot and killed Johnson during an altercation along the Loop 101 freeway in North Phoenix back in May.

Phoenix police submit report on DPS shooting death of Dion Johnson to County attorney

"George Cervantes tells us all in the report that Dion Johnson was unarmed," said attorney Jocquese Blackwell. "So why is an unarmed man dead? He shouldn't be dead. That's the question the family has - why did he have to die?"

The police report states that Johnson was passed out in the driver's seat of his car on May 25, when Cervantes approached the vehicle. Cervantes said he smelled a strong odor of alcohol and spotted a handgun in the passenger seat. The trooper reportedly removed the weapon, but was unable to get the keys out the ignition. Cervantes called for back-up, but claims that once he noticed the driver moving around,  he decided to take him into custody - fearing he would take off.

The trooper said the suspect resisted and there was a struggle that ended with Johnson being shot in the stomach. Johnson was treated at the scene, then later died at a nearby hospital.

His family is now demanding that trooper Cervantes be held accountable and face criminal charges. "Why didn't he just ask Dion to wake up?" asked Blackwell. "Why didn't he try to talk to Dion? Why didn't he try to give him any commands? Why didn't he try to tell him to remove the key from the ignition? None of those statements were made in the report."

"The report has now been handed over to the Maricopa County Attorney's office, which will decide whether Cervantes faces any criminal charges. DPS is also conducting its own internal investigation.

Cervantes remains on administrative leave.

Jason Barry is best known for his Dirty Dining Report which airs Fridays at 6:30 p.m. on CBS 5.  He is also the storyteller behind CBS 5's Pay It Forward which airs every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
 
 

Copyright 2020 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Recommended for you