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Overland Park Police Release New Documents And Video In Fatal Shooting of John Albers

Overland Park Police Department

After enormous pressure from the parents of 17-year-old John Albers and a lawsuit from a Kansas City television station, the city released four dashcam videos and a report on the shooting.

Albers was shot on Jan. 20, 2018, after Overland Park police responded to a call that he was suicidal. The teenager was alone at home at the time, and when police arrived, he began backing a minivan out of the house’s garage.

The very first line of the report said, “The OISIT report reflects a complete and thorough investigation.”

But Albers’ parents, Shelia and Steve Albers, thought it was anything but. “This was not an investigation. It was victim blaming,” they said in a statement to KCUR. “The fact that (Johnson County) District Attorney Steve Howe and (Overland Park Police) Chief Frank Donchez found this report to be sufficient is alarming.”

Indeed, the first few pages of the report deal with Albers’ minor brushes with the law.

The city also released a video of former Overland Park Police Officer Clayton Jenison’s interview in which he described the incident. “I approached the garage door. The vehicle started backing out. I told him to stop. He didn’t listen to my commands,” Jenison told the OISIT investigator. “I shot.”

Dashcam video shows Jenison fired twice before the minivan made a “J” turn and began driving forwards. “I believed he was going to hit me, so I fire again.” This time Jenison fired 11 more times through the passenger side window. It took 24 seconds from the time the garage door opened until Jenison stopped firing.

Six of the bullets hit Albers, killing him.

Albers’ family says this report contained a lot about their son but not about Jenison. “This ‘investigation’ contains little information about the officer who fired his weapon 13 times or his performance as a police officer,” the statement said.

A month after the shooting, the Johnson County District Attorney announced that no charges would be filed against Jenison, who at that point had not been identified by name. But federal authorities have since initiated a civil rights investigation into the shooting. That investigation is pending.

But a federal grand jury subpoena obtained by KCUR through the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) reveals at least some of what the FBI is investigating.

The subpoena, served last November, demanded all investigative records from Albers’ killing, including all dashcam video and Jenison’s body cam audio.

It also required the city to hand over all of Jenison’s personnel records.

In January 2019, Overland Park paid Albers’ parents $2.3 million to settle a civil rights lawsuit they had filed against the city and Jenison.

In March, a Johnson County judge ordered Overland Park to turn over its severance agreement with Jenison. The city had denied The Kansas City Star’s request for the agreement under the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA), arguing it was not an “employment-related agreement” subject to disclosure under the law.

While acknowledging it paid Jenison $70,000 in severance, Overland Park had declined to disclose the terms of the agreement. Jenison resigned from the department not long after he shot Albers.

KSHB-TV Channel 41 also sued the city, seeking to force it to disclose the complete files of its investigation into the shooting. The lawsuit is still pending.

Copyright 2021 KCUR 89.3. To see more, visit KCUR 89.3.

Sam grew up in Overland Park and was educated at the University of Kansas. After working in Philadelphia where he covered organized crime, politics and political corruption he moved on to TV news management jobs in Minneapolis and St. Louis. Sam came home in 2013 and covered health care and education at KCPT. He came to work at KCUR in 2014. Sam has a national news and documentary Emmy for an investigation into the federal Bureau of Prisons and how it puts unescorted inmates on Grayhound and Trailways buses to move them to different prisons. Sam has one son and is pretty good in the kitchen.
Dan was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. and moved to Kansas City with his family when he was eight years old. He majored in philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis and holds law and journalism degrees from Boston University. He has been an avid public radio listener for as long as he can remember – which these days isn’t very long… Dan has been a two-time finalist in The Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism, and has won multiple regional awards for his legal and health care coverage. Dan doesn't have any hobbies as such, but devours one to three books a week, assiduously works The New York Times Crossword puzzle Thursdays through Sundays and, for physical exercise, tries to get in a couple of rounds of racquetball per week.