Arizona prosecutor says Floyd case could influence Dion Johnson charges

Jun 3, 2020, 12:46 PM | Updated: Jun 4, 2020, 7:28 am

PHOENIX — Metro Phoenix’s top prosecutor acknowledged that the response to George Floyd’s death influences the pending decision about charges in a fatal shooting by an Arizona state trooper.

“In a way it does because, guess what, in Maricopa County we’re going to do the right things for the right reasons,” Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday.

“And if we have people, law enforcement or otherwise, committing crimes, we’re going to hold them accountable.”

An unnamed Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper shot and killed Dion Johnson, a 28-year-old black man, after an alleged struggle on a north Phoenix freeway on May 25, authorities have said.

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, who was passed out or asleep in his car on the Loop 101 near Tatum Boulevard.

Johnson died around 5:30 a.m. on Memorial Day, the same day Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis. Adel called Floyd’s death “reprehensible.”

Bystander video of Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes sparked protests around the world against police brutality and discrimination. Chauvin and the three officers on the scene who didn’t stop him are facing criminal charges.

Demonstrators in downtown Phoenix have been mentioning Johnson along with Floyd and other subjects of police violence.

The Phoenix Police Department is conducting the investigation into Johnson’s death. Adel said she hopes to receive the police report within the next 30 days, and her office will decide whether to file charges after reviewing the evidence.

“They are doing a full workup,” she said. “I have absolute confidence in our law enforcement agencies to make sure we have a full briefing, a full investigative report to make sure we are doing the right thing.”

The trooper, a 54-year-old man with 15 years of service time, was not equipped with a camera on his body or his motorcycle. Neither was another trooper who reported to the scene on Loop 101 near Tatum Road after the shooting.

Video footage is helpful for making charging decisions, Adel said, but “we will still have as much investigative information as we possibly can.”

Adel said to her knowledge there are 1-2 witness statements from motorists who were driving by the incident.

“I think we’re going to take every case by case, individually, and look at it and evaluate it and adhere to our ethical duties,” she said.

On Monday, state Rep. Reginald Bolding wrote a letter to DPS Director Col. Heston Silbert seeking more transparency in the Johnson case.

“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.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jeremy Foster contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

(Mesa Police Department Photo)...

Teacher’s aide in Mesa arrested for allegedly sexual abusing 9-year-old girl

A teacher's aide at a Mesa elementary school was arrested for allegedly sexual abusing a 9-year-old girl multiple times on campus.
13 hours ago
(Screenshot/Phoenix Union High School District YouTube)...
SuElen Rivera

Phoenix Union Superintendent Gestson leaving after 8 years at helm

The superintendent of the Valley's largest public high school district is leaving after eight years for a university-level position.
13 hours ago
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)...

Report: Arizona Jan. 6 rioter ‘QAnon Shaman’ released from prison

Arizona's horned Jan. 6 rioter Jacob Chansley, also known as "QAnon Shaman," has been released from federal prison.
13 hours ago
Follow @KTAR923...

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! makes return to Scottsdale’s Arizona Boardwalk

Fans of bizarre, unbelievable items may be happy to hear Ripley's Believe It or Not! has made its return to Arizona Boardwalk in Scottsdale. 
13 hours ago
(Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)...

Arizona Democrats sue third-party No Labels, Sec. of State Fontes

The Arizona Democratic Party filed a complaint Thursday against Secretary of State Adrian Fontes and newly recognized third party No Labels.
13 hours ago
(KTAR News Photo/Jeremy Schnell)...
Taylor Tasler

Arizona corrections director says drugs getting into prisons, has plan for reform

Arizona Department of Corrections Rehabilitation and Reentry Director Ryan Thornell knows drugs are in prisons and has a plan for reform.
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Arizona prosecutor says Floyd case could influence Dion Johnson charges