A police officer who shot dead an unarmed 17-year-old boy who was backing out of of his family’s driveway during a welfare check was awarded a $70,000 severance payment as part of his resignation deal.
The mother of John Albers, of Overland Park, Kansas, discovered the police officer who shot at her son 13 times in January 2018 was paid thousands of dollars as he exited the force majorly unscathed.
On that tragic night, Officer Clayton Jenison, 31, dispatched to the Albers’ suburban home after a friend called authorities because they believed the teenage boy was suicidal.
John attempted to back the family’s minivan out of the driveway when Jenison fired several rounds into the vehicle after reportedly ordering John to stop.
But footage shows Jenison was never in the minivan’s path and it’s unclear if John even noticed Albers in his attempt to leave.
After the shooting, Jenison was not publicly named by authorities until the Albers’ family filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
All investigated reports were withheld from the public. Sheila Albers, the victim’s mother, alleged that officials refused to provide any records on the incident.
John Albers (pictured), 17, was shot dead in January 2018 while backing out of his family’s garage with a minivan in Overland Park, Kansas
Body camera footage from the Overland Police Department shows the moment John reverses the vehicle out of the driveway and Jenison opens fire
Jension was not charged in John’s death and prosecutors ruled the killing was ‘justifiable’
Jenison was placed on administrative leave after an investigation, but later offered to resign from his post. He faced no charges and the killing was ruled as justifiable.
The Overland Park Police Department did not disclose the cushioned severance agreement Jenison received in March 2018.
Word of the payout would have likely stayed mum if Sheila Albers, the victim’s mother, had not looked into payroll records on the Overland Park government database, The Washington Post reports.
Sheila, a former middle school principal, noted that Jenison’s resignation was announced on February 20, 2018, when the city was reportedly still discussing the severance package.
‘I have always questioned the integrity of the investigation,’ Sheila said.
‘You can’t conduct an impartial, thorough investigation of police misconduct while simultaneously negotiating a financial buyout.’
The severance package was reportedly worth more than $81,000despite his salary totaling out to around $46,000.
City spokesman Sean Reilly on Thursday said that the City of Overland Park negotiated a buyout agreement with Jenison ‘in the best interest of the community.’
No Overland Park official was reportedly able to explain why the $70,000 severance payment was ‘in the best interest of the community,’ which boosts an average income of $78,000.
Sheila Albers, pictured with John Albers: ‘You can’t conduct an impartial, thorough investigation of police misconduct while simultaneously negotiating a financial buyout’
KHSB reports that the entirety of the severance package broke down to $70,000 in severance pay, $2,345 of compensation time, $686 of unused vacation pay and $11,040 owed for his regular salary.
The severance agreement came about between city officials despite the prosecutors office finding nothing wrong with Jenison’s conduct.
After the $70,000 severance payment was revealed, Council members Scott Hamblin and Faris Farassati called for an executive session to examine the facts of the settlement with Jenison.
Hamblin on Friday said they requested the session because ‘the public demands and deserves transparency, and as leaders we need to be ready and willing to provide it. As of today no executive session or other fact-finding measures have been taken.’
A lack of transparency is what led the Albers’ to initially file the wrongful lawsuit death after prosecutors and authorities would not release any reports.
A judge later determined that ‘Officer Jenison was not standing in the path of the minivan’ and a ‘reasonable jury could conclude that deadly force was unreasonable because [Albers] only posed harm to himself.’
This prompted city officials to settle with the Albers family for $2.3million in January 2019.
Jenison, an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, served on Overland Park’s force for two years.
The Albers’ family claimed that prosecutors and officials would not disclose reports of the case during investigations in a move seen as nontransparent
Since he was not fired or disciplined, he is free to join another police department.
In footage from January 20, 2018, officers arrive to the Albers’ home after John reportedly made comments to friends online that he was considering suicide.
Two officers drive to the home within minutes, but neither approach the front door or try to make contact with John.
Soon, the garage door opens and and John begins to pull out onto the driveway. Jenison is seen standing on the right-hand side of the garage.
A prosecutor argued that Jenison was ‘standing directly behind’ the minivan, but a judge later ruled that was false.
Jenison yells ‘stop’ at the minivan three times, but the vehicle suddenly reverses and does a 180-degree turn into the street.
Jenison appears close the vehicle, but is untouched and moves away.
As the minivan reverses towards the garage, Jenison unloads several rounds into the vehicle and strikes John.
A prosecutor argued that Jenison was ‘standing directly behind’ the minivan, but a judge later ruled that was false
The vehicle stops accelerating and rolls forward out of the driveway. John died from gunshot wounds.
‘Chief Donchez and District Attorney Steve Howe deceived the public on Officer Jenison’s aggressive actions,obstructed justice and failed to hold anyone accountable for the death of my son,’ Sheila told WaPo.
She believes the severance payment could have been put to better use with police reform and officer training,
The $70,000 ‘could have funded Crisis Intervention Team training to prevent unnecessary violence in the future,’ said Sheila.
‘Overland Park is a microcosm of the wider problem we have across the country: lack of transparency, failed systems of accountability, and leadership that neglects its duty to protect and serve the public.’
The death of John Albers is one many recent cases that have come to light as law enforcement is increasingly denounced for brutality and excessive force.
A protester in front of the Second Precinct Police Station in Minneapolis on Thursday holds a ‘Justice for George Floyd’ placard. The Minneapolis city council is set to take the first step toward banning the police department
Pictured: Payton Martin (center) joins members of Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles and their supporters during a demonstration to demand that the Board of Education defund school police, reallocating funds to other student-serving initiatives
Scores of protests sparked after George Floyd, an unarmed Black American man, died after a white officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes on Memorial Day in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and Elijah McDaniel are among other victims who’ve died while in police custody.
As a result, calls to defund police departments and emphasize reform have overtaken the country.
Both the New York Police Department and the Los Angeles Police Department faced budget cuts from city officials.
The Minneapolis Police Department was officially disbanded during a landslide victory when city council members voted last month.
The National Suicide Prevention line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-273-TALK.