Community seeks answers after DC man shot, killed by Fairfax Co. police

A group of community members and friends gathered in solidarity Friday evening with the family of Timothy McCree Johnson — an unarmed man gunned down by Fairfax County police after fleeing from Tysons Corner Center in Virginia.

He was suspected of shoplifting sunglasses, but his family says the courts should have decided his fate, not police. Now, they want to know what led the two officers to fire their guns, fatally wounding Johnson.

“Especially since their use-of-force policy indicates Timothy should be alive,” said Michelle Leete, President of the Fairfax County branch of the NAACP. Leete spoke to WTOP after the vigil.

Leete said justice for Timothy includes getting the family access to “body-worn camera footage.”

“We’re looking for an independent investigation of the facts in this case,” Leete said.

Fairfax County police said body camera footage will be released within 30 days of the incident, per department guidelines.

But Leete said the family should be allowed to see it as soon as possible — even before that time elapses — as they seek to learn what happened before officers shot and killed Johnson.

They also want to see all camera footage related to what happened that night, Leete said.

“There’s cameras all around Tyson’s mall,” she said. Supporters of Johnson would like access to “unedited footage of this incident,” Leete said.

“Anyone would want to know what happened to their child, their son, their father, their uncle, so this isn’t out of the ordinary,” Leete said. “I think the family has shown amazing restraint under the circumstances. They are showing very much grace.”

During the vigil, Timothy’s mother, Melissa Johnson, told vigil-goers she’s in “complete agreement” with a news release issued by the Fairfax County NAACP, “specifically the point calling for policing policy changes that will not only help law enforcement, but ensure that all persons, regardless of their race, ethnicity, nationality, sex or the color of their skin are afforded their human rights to due process in Fairfax County, in Maryland, and in the District of Columbia and in every other urban community in this nation.”

Johnson said, “yes, we demand justice. However, I am personally committed to walk through this most difficult process in a way that in our obtaining justice, God is glorified.”

A D.C.-based think tank will look into recent use of force incidents with the Fairfax County Police Department. It will also provide the department with guidance on a foot pursuit policy — based on best practices nationwide.

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