Maricopa County Attorney Adel pushes for mandatory officer body cameras

Sep 22, 2020, 9:27 AM
(AP Photo)...
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

PHOENIX – Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel doesn’t know if video of Dion Johnson’s fatal shooting would have changed her decision in the high-profile case, but she wishes the trooper who pulled the trigger had been wearing a body camera.

“Would it have made a difference? I can’t speculate,” Adel said Tuesday on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.

“However, more information is always helpful for a prosecution, for a defense attorney, for the community, for those that want to see our criminal justice system succeed,” she said.

Adel announced Monday afternoon that no charges would be filed against Arizona Department of Public Safety Trooper George Cervantes, who mortally wounded Johnson on May 25 after a struggle on Loop 101 in north Phoenix.

Cervantes did not have a body-worn camera. The only known video related to the incident was captured by TV station AZFamily via Arizona Department of Transportation cameras.

The footage does not show the shooting.

“I’m calling for a mandate on body-worn cameras on uniformed officers deployed in the field,” Adel said.

The Phoenix Police Department investigated the shooting and submitted its findings to the county attorney’s office July 7.

“We did our best to bring this case to the forefront as timely as it could [be done] because we knew the public was very concerned and the public needs answers,” Adel said.

“This was expedited.”

Johnson’s family planned to file a civil lawsuit, an attorney representing them said Monday.

“As a mother, I can’t imagine what Mr. Johnson’s mom and family and friends are going through. The loss of life is never, ever easy, so [the decision] weighed heavily on me,” Adel said.

“I wanted to make sure that I was not making this decision in haste.”

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Maricopa County Attorney Adel pushes for mandatory officer body cameras