Phoenix police release new information in trooper-involved shooting on Loop 101.

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- New video shows the moments after 28-year-old Dion Johnson was shot and killed by an Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper.

The video from the Arizona Department of Transportation camera does not show the actual shooting but does show Dion behind his car. Two DPS troopers are with him. One of the troopers appears to be next to Dion while another trooper is standing over him. 

Arizona's Family started recording on this scene after hearing about a shooting on the freeway. The camera shown in the video is controlled by ADOT and is not operated by Arizona's Family.

Arizona's Family has spent the past several days talking to different groups to help provide context to what is seen in the video. We talked to Dion's family on Wednesday morning. They were upset and outraged by what they saw in the ADOT footage. 

Video Perspective

Arizona’s Family also took the ADOT footage to Arizona Rep. Reginald Bolding and policing expert Michael Scott for their reactions.

Dion's mother, Erma Johnson, was shaken by what she saw in the clip. “He’s moving and the officer takes his boot and kicks him back down, that’s devastating.”

The Johnson Family viewed the video with their attorney, Jocquese Blackwell. He claims Dion was shot in the stomach and could have survived if he had received immediate care. “The open question is, at what point, was the scene safe enough to allow and to bring in a medical crew?

Scott has served as a law enforcement officer in agencies across the country. He is a clinical professor at Arizona State University’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Scott said medical crews arriving on any scene must wait for the all-clear from police.

“It appears that the EMS crew could have been summoned in at least a couple of minutes sooner than they were," Scott said.

Police said there is no body camera footage or dashcam video available from this shooting.

Rep. Bolding wrote a letter to DPS Col. Heston Silbert for more information about this shooting. Bolding is asking for the governor and fellow lawmakers to approve police reform that would require all officers in Arizona to wear body cameras. Bolding said a recent effort to equip troopers with body cameras has failed.

Timeline of events:

Approximately 5:35 a.m.: DPS trooper shoots Dion during “struggle,” and another DPS trooper arrives on the scene to remove Dion from the vehicle.

5:36 a.m.: DPS troopers attend to Dion behind the vehicle.

5:38 a.m.: A Phoenix Fire Department ambulance is seen waiting on the on-ramp near the scene.

5:38 a.m.: Two Phoenix police vehicles arrive on the scene.

5:39 a.m.: Five additional Phoenix police vehicles arrive on the scene.

5:40 a.m.: Phoenix Department vehicles arrive to treat Dion.

What Has Been Reported

The shooting occurred on Monday, May 25, around 5:30 a.m. at the Loop 101 and Tatum Boulevard. 

Phoenix police, who is conducting the investigation, said a trooper was in the area of the Loop 101 and Tatum Boulevard when he saw a car parked in the gore point, partially blocking traffic. The trooper saw Dion "passed out" in the vehicle. Below is Phoenix Police's entire updated information as of Wednesday evening:

We want to share updated information regarding the Trooper-Involved Shooting which occurred May 25, 2020 at the Loop 101 and Tatum Blvd. Please keep in mind, because this is an ongoing investigation there is limited information we can provide.

Many of you have asked about releasing the video footage related to this incident. At this point in the investigation, there is no known video capturing the shooting. Neither of the troopers were equipped with body-worn cameras. There is no dash-camera video because both troopers were on motorcycles. The ADOT highway cameras are live feed camera that do not record.

Here is the information we have. The Trooper was patrolling in the area of the State Route 101 and Tatum Boulevard when he observed a vehicle parked in the gore point and creating a traffic hazard. During the Trooper’s initial contact with Mr. Johnson, he found him passed out in the drivers’ seat. The Trooper smelled an odor of alcohol, saw beer cans and a gun in the vehicle. The Trooper removed the gun from the vehicle, returned back to his motorcycle. secured the gun, and then requested a backup. At this point, he noticed Mr. Johnson moving around so he returned to the vehicle and attempted to arrest Mr. Johnson for suspicion of driving impaired. During the attempted arrest, Mr. Johnson grabbed onto the Trooper through the open driver’s side door and an altercation occurred. The Trooper was pulled toward the vehicle, while standing adjacent to the eastbound travel lanes of the freeway. During this struggle, the Trooper told investigators he feared he would be pushed into oncoming traffic, so he drew his weapon and issued commands. Mr. Johnson began to comply but as the Trooper was holstering his gun, Mr. Johnson reached for the gun and a second altercation ensued. The Trooper fearing for his life then fired his service weapon striking Mr. Johnson. A second Trooper arrived after the shooting and assisted in removing Mr. Johnson from the vehicle.

Once the investigation is complete, it will be submitted to the Critical Incident Review Board of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

"The family deserves answers, the nation deserves answers," Blackwell said at a Wednesday evening press conference. "We want justice for Dion."

Erma Johnson also addressed the group of reporters, at one point breaking down in tears. "I couldn't believe someone that was supposed to protect and serve would treat a human being the way they treated my son," she said. "I just want those officers to be charged, arrested and fired for cruelty to human life."

Who Are The Troopers Involved? 

Phoenix police is conducting the trooper-involved shooting investigation and DPS is conducting the administrative investigation for the shooting. The trooper involved in the shooting has 15 years of service in law enforcement. The trooper's identity has not been released. Information about the second trooper seen in the video has not been released.

DPS and Phoenix police are not commenting further due to the ongoing investigation. 

What is Next?

Family members say Dion was turning a new leaf. The family admits he had a criminal history but was improving his life.

“He got a job, and he was so happy and so proud of himself, you know? He felt what it was like to actually receive money honestly,” Dion’s sister said.

Protesters have evoked Dion’s name as an example of racial bias here in Phoenix. The Johnson Family intends to sue DPS for wrongful death. They say they want the troopers involved in the incident to be held accountable.

Unanswered Questions

There are still so many unanswered questions and Arizona's Family is continuing to dig for more details. 

  • Why did it take several minutes for paramedics to respond to the scene?
  • Have the troopers involved in the shooting been disciplined for line-of-duty action before

We will update this story as we learn more. Please, continue to check back.


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

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