Police officers who had been called to help a bleeding, disturbed Black man wandering along a road outside Atlantic City shot him to death after he ignored orders to drop a broken bottle, body-worn camera video released Friday by New Jersey’s attorney general shows.
Amir Johnson, of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, was killed on Aug. 6 in Ventnor, about a mile from the gambling resort's Boardwalk.
In a 911 call released by the attorney general, a man who identifies himself as a postal worker tells the dispatcher a man is walking in the road, stopping traffic, and appears to be bleeding from his neck.
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Around 4:16 p.m., officers arrived to find Johnson, 30, pacing back and forth on the road. The bodycam video shows that officers pulled their guns and trained them on Johnson, even though he was yards away, walking slowly and not appearing to threaten harm to anyone.
For several minutes, officers scream at Johnson to drop the broken bottle, orders he ignores.
“Sit down for me buddy. Drop the bottle, bud,” one officer is heard saying. ”We’re going to get you help, drop the bottle.”
“I never said I wanted help," Johnson shouts.
After about 10 minutes, Johnson walks off the road and onto a marshy area. As officers continue to shout to drop the bottle, he advances toward them, falling briefly but getting back up and walking quickly toward them.
Around 4:30 p.m., at least six shots ring out, and Johnson falls to the ground on the side of the road. As he lies moaning, officers continue to tell him to drop the bottle in his hand. Three Ventnor officers fired their guns, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in a news release Friday.
Johnson was pronounced dead at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City around 6 p.m. The attorney general’s office is investigating, as required by state law.
The video is the second involving a police shooting to be made public this week. On Tuesday, the attorney general's office released video of the fatal Aug. 21 shooting of 39-year-old Hasani Best after a 45-minute standoff with police at an apartment in Asbury Park, about 80 miles north of Ventnor on New Jersey's shore.
Both investigations continue, according to the attorney general's office, and the videos and other evidence will be presented to grand juries when the investigations are complete.
Grand juries are not currently hearing cases due to court rules on the coronavirus pandemic.