January of this year was the 4th anniversary of Sheila and Steve Albers’ son’s death. Their 17-year-old son was gunned down by police while unarmed. As is normally the case when police kill unarmed and often innocent people, no charges were filed against Overland Park Officer Clayton Jenison who shot and killed the unarmed 17-year-old boy on January 20, 2018. On top of refusing to charge the officer, police have also repeatedly refused to release records concerning the case, despite claiming they would do so three years ago.
On Friday, the Department of Justice announced that it will not pursue federal criminal civil rights charges against Jenison, claiming they could not prove all elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
Officials met privately with members of the Albers family to notify them of the decision.
The DoJ’s decision is in spite of the fact that during a civil lawsuit based on this incident, the DOJ noted that a federal district court in Kansas ruled that a reasonable jury could find that the officer involved in the shooting had indeed used unreasonable force when he fired the first two shots at Albers. As WIBW reports, the federal criminal investigation found no substantial evidence inconsistent with this conclusion.
Unfortunately, as WIBW points out, unlike in the many state jurisdictions that have statutes criminalizing killings committed with lesser mental states, like criminal negligence or recklessness, the DOJ said the federal government has no statute to criminalize a police officer’s use of unreasonable force, if willfulness cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
As we reported at the time, police were called to the home of teenager John Albers after his girlfriend said she was afraid he was going to kill himself. Police arrived and Jenison opened fire on Albers as the teen backed out of his driveway.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation opened their investigation into the case in September of 2020. But now we see that it went nowhere.