Arizona lawmaker wants answers about Dion Johnson’s death

Jun 2, 2020, 4:00 PM | Updated: Jun 4, 2020, 7:29 am
Protesters gather in front of Phoenix City Hall, Saturday, May 30, 2020, in Phoenix while protestin...

Protesters gather in front of Phoenix City Hall, Saturday, May 30, 2020, in Phoenix while protesting the death of George Floyd, Dion Johnson and other subjects of police violence. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX – An Arizona lawmaker has joined in with those seeking answers about the death of Dion Johnson, a black man who was fatally shot by a state trooper on a Phoenix freeway last week.

Rep. Reginald Bolding wrote a letter Monday to Arizona Department of Public Safety Director Col. Heston Silbert seeking more transparency in the case.

Johnson, 28, died May 25, the same day as George Floyd, the Minnesota man whose death while in custody sparked ongoing unrest around the U.S.

Phoenix protesters have been citing Johnson’s name along with Floyd’s during nightly demonstrations opposing police violence against minorities.

A trooper on patrol found Johnson asleep or passed out in a car on the eastbound gore point of Loop 101 in north Phoenix near Tatum Boulevard at around 5:30 a.m. on Memorial Day, according to the Phoenix Police Department, which is investigating the case.

Police said a struggle ensued after the trooper contacted Johnson and the trooper shot Johnson.

Last week, police said a handgun was recovered at the scene. On Wednesday, Phoenix police said the gun had been removed from the vehicle and secured before the trooper made contact with Johnson.

Another trooper arrived and helped get Johnson out of the vehicle, police said. Phoenix Fire responders transported Johnson to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

“To passively dismiss this incident as ‘a struggle’ when it took a man’s life will not be acceptable to me, or the communities I represent,” Bolding, a Democrat who represents south Phoenix and surrounding areas, wrote in his letter to Silbert.

The trooper who shot Johnson is a 54-year-old man with 15 years of service, and he was not injured.

Authorities said the troopers involved in the shooting weren’t equipped with body-worn or dashboard cameras.

“I’m hoping you can explain to me why a trooper would be allowed to patrol a major freeway, on a busy Memorial Day holiday, without the protection of a body camera or dash camera,” Bolding wrote.

“Also please outline any efforts to secure other video footage – from ADOT for example – or witness statements to shed more light on how and why this alleged ‘struggle’ occurred, and why it necessitated deadly force.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Grant Woods (Gallagher & Kennedy Photo)...

Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Oct. 22-24

The unexpected death of former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods on Saturday is among the biggest Arizona stories of the weekend.
23 hours ago
(Arizona Lottery Photo)...

$108 Mega Million lottery ticket sells in Lake Havasu City

The Arizona Lottery said Saturday a multi-state draw ticket worth $108 million sold at a store in Lake Havasu City on Wednesday.
23 hours ago
(Pixabay Photo)...
Associated Press

10-digit dialing required in some Arizona area codes starting Sunday

Starting Sunday, phone users in much of Arizona must include area codes when dialing to make all calls, including local calls that previously required only seven digits.
23 hours ago
Pexels photo...

Police identify woman in Phoenix hit-and-run incident, investigation underway

Phoenix police are searching for the driver involved in a fatal hit-and-run that occurred Saturday afternoon.
23 hours ago
Chief of ICU department Dr. Valentyn Koroliuk speaks to a patient with coronavirus at the city hosp...

Arizona reports 1,483 new COVID-19 cases, 11 more deaths Sunday

Arizona health officials on Sunday reported 1,483 new COVID-19 cases and 11 additional deaths from the disease.
23 hours ago
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 13: Colorado Supreme Court Justice Brian D. Boatright swears in members of the...

Arizona grand jury indicts former candidate of Cochise County Superior Court for perjury

An Arizona grand jury earlier this month indicted a former candidate for the Cochise County Superior Court for perjury, Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced Thursday.
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Schwartz Laser Eye Center

How to sharpen your vision with elective procedures

Imagine opening your eyes in the morning and being able to see clearly. You wouldn’t have to wait to put on glasses or contacts, and there would be no more blurry showers nor forgetting where your glasses are.
PNC Bank

3 cool tips to turn everyday moments into learning experiences for your child

Early brain development has a crucial impact on a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school and life. Research has shown that 90% of a child’s brain is developed by age five.
Chris Kennedy

My Special Aflac Duck® taking flight in Arizona

For more than 65 years, Aflac has had the extraordinary opportunity and privilege to help provide peace of mind to individuals who have our supplemental insurance policies.
Arizona lawmaker wants answers about Dion Johnson’s death