Events over the last decade in the U.S. have triggered a contentious debate over what constitutes the “use of justifiable force” by law enforcement. Instances where the line between “justified vs. unjustified” has been crossed have ignited violence.

With the technological development of crime scene video, sometimes the difference is clear. Other times, there isn’t enough visual evidence to provide a definitive determination. Our nation of laws rests with the legal system’s the obligation to determine this difference.

One tragic shooting in Overlook Park, Kansas, seems to have defied logic. Former Overland Park Police Officer Clayton Jenison shot and killed an unarmed teenager. The event sent the country into outrage. However, as the investigation unfolded, some details emerged.

The police dash cam seemed to be damning evidence against Jenison’s claim of justified force. One camera angle showed John Albers appearing to back his family’s minivan out of the driveway.

Albers’ girlfriend had previously made a police report saying that he had said he was going to kill himself. Albers appeared to continue backing out of the driveway even after being confronted by a police officer. There was no evidence he had committed a crime.

John Albers was not a wanted suspect, nor was he deemed to be armed or dangerous. Albers was a teenager who was allegedly considering suicide, nothing more. Certainly, an intervention was in order, but what happened next seems to defy the logic of justifiable use of force.

Clayton Jenison fired two shots at the minivan. Cam footage shows that he may have struck Albers. This would account for why the teenager suddenly tromped on the gas pedal. The minivan spun uncontrollably, almost striking one police officer.

Again, what happened next continues to defy the reasonable sense that justifiable force was necessary to subdue a dangerous individual. Jenison unloaded 11 more bullets into the minivan. One of these shots killed John Albers.

He was unarmed, not deemed a dangerous threat to anyone, and was not a suspect in any crime. However, John Albers was dead. Yet again, the country was faced with the stark reality that a police officer, trusted to keep the peace, had killed an unarmed person.

This case seemed almost cut and dried. But it wasn’t. First, Albers was not a criminal. He was a junior at Blue Valley Northwest High School. The likeable teenager was a member of both the Belle Valley Northwest wrestling and soccer teams.

Albers was actively a part of a Kansas City-based soccer league for at-risk youth. His close friends insist that Albers was portrayed in a negative light to cover up what was an egregious abuse of police force. Albers was said to be “loyal”, “courageous”, and “compassionate.”

John Albers was anything but a dangerous criminal. But a police officer shot him dead as he backed his family’s minivan out of the driveway. Besides the first two shots appearing totally unnecessary, the multiple shots fired afterward were clearly negligent.

But Jenison was never charged. He was swiftly removed from the force but was handed a $70,000 severance package. Clayton Jenison was rewarded for negligent abuse of his badge. In many respects, he should stand trial for murder. John Albers’ death is terribly disturbing.

Most law enforcement personnel are dedicated and loyal public servants. A few are not. When those who abuse the badge are not held accountable, it reflects terribly on other police officers and our judicial system. Justifiable force is often necessary. In John Albers’ murder, it was not.

 

Daniel

Daniel is a conservative syndicated opinion writer and amateur theologian. He writes about topics of politics, culture, freedom, and faith.

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  • l do not agree – I have a different view on this unfortunate event. The young man’s girl friend had filed a police report that he was going to kill himself, so it is logical to arrive at the conclusion that he decided on “suicide by cop”. He almost ran over an officer so it is obvious he had no regard for human life, and if Officer Jennison had not stopped him, there is no way of knowing how many people he might have killed with the 3000 pound deadly weapon . He could have and probably would have wiped out an entire family by hitting them head on. It’s too bad it ended this way, but give the officer the benefit of the doubt. He only had a few seconds to react.

    • As the article states, Albers was likely struck by one of the first two shots. The van then lurched and spun out of control. So it’s LOGICAL to assume being seriously wounded, the boy lost control of the van.

      How could he have had regard for human life when he was seriously wounded by a rogue officer, a murderous rogue officer who did a mag dump on him AFTER he was wounded?

      Your speculation is way out there considering known facts.

      • The only speculation being done here is by you and the author of the article. “likely struck”… AND “it’s logical to assume..” are gross speculations. iitywybad is 100% correct. The facts are, that it is not known if the first shots hit the subject. We simply do not know if he was wounded, gravely or not. The reality is that threat continued. It is standard training (had you ever had any) that you shoot to stop the threat. not to kill.. not to wound.. to stop the threat. LEO’s are trained to continue firing until the threat is nullified. Your blow-hard couch quarterbacking is a glaring display of your ignorance and lack of training. Here’s my only speculation.. .You’ve never even fired a firearm.

        • Blindly firing your weapon into a vehicle Building or crowed not knowing how many innocents are in the way is negligent you are responsible for that projectile until it stops you must have a clear sight of your target

    • I have NOT seen all the video, but often the POLICE do DELIBERATELY place themselves into the path of vehicles, in order to establish that famous “fear for thier life” excuse to execute a suspect that is just trying to flee the scene! Police ALSO give no consideration to what may occur after shooting a suspect, as a wounded person often cannot control bodily movements or comply with all demands!

  • Had Albers been my son and the article is correct, I’d be in jail awaiting trial on, well…let’s leave it at that.

      • Maybe you missed it, but the JUDGE sided against the cops in reference to the city dismissing the lawsuit! Not only did the police FAIL to do a proper investigation of the homicide scene, but the judge said “a reasonable jury could conclude that deadly force was unreasonable…”. That alone shows neither iitywybad, Allen M, nor you understand what occurred!

        • what the hell is happening to Kansas? Are ya’ll having a revival of the crap that caused the people from Missouri to burn Lawrence to the ground? Did ya learn anything? jayhawkers….. yankee trash

  • ” Instances where the line between “justified vs. unjustified” has been crossed have ignited violence.” Only if the instance was of a black person. Obviously this was a white person or Kansas City would be looted and burned by “people” looking for new TVs and tennis shoes.

  • As is almost always the case, there are far more details in this story than the “press” is giving the reader. Their objective is to get us to read the story so we can then see ads from their advertisers. What is written may be reasonably true, but to conclude that the officer unjustifiably shot and killed the boy with no legal consequences doesn’t pass the sniff test.

  • >Why were the first 2 shots fired?
    >How many times was the suspect/victim hit?
    > If there were other Policeman at the scene why did they not shoot?

    The main thing thoug, in this and all the other cases when the police shoot people multiple times (obviously using the spray and pray aiming technique), is why do Policeman carry weapons with more the 6-shots? – There very few and far between any incidents where a Policeman needed more the 6 rounds to protect himself and/or others. I guess the bottom line is a Policeman’s side arm an offensiveness or defensive weapon? (And this comes from a Cleveland Policeman who worked in very violent high crime area where we averaged 1 copper killed a year, none because they ran out of bang. )

    • I have to ask, are you mentally challenged? I mean, if you are genuinely mentally challenged, the last thing I want to do is make fun of your absolute lack of knowledge, training or understanding on all relevant topics. Are you trying to claim that you were a Cleveland Police officer? Are you 120 years old? Was this back in 1923? What LEO identifies themself as a “copper”? We haven’t carried 6 shot revolvers since the 1980’s, What in the HELL are you talking about?!

    • Of course the perp was a model young teen who was a pillar of society. This seems like a lot of Fake News here. A lot of “could have” “may have” ”if”. Of course the media (WP) would never spin a tragidy, right?
      I’m sickend by the loss of a young man. Having said that, the video makes me side with the cop and good shooting. If perp is still moving, in a lethal force incident, shoot to till threat is nullified. The kid apparently had run ins with cops. It is a rotten situation, the kid shouldn’t be dead he didn’t deserve to die but cop was put in threat situation by the kid. Don’t like it, but I agree with the cops on this. That doesn’t mean I agree with the police on all shootings. The unjustified shooting of the man in a hotel in Phoenix is an example where cop should be in prison. I also believe that if Police, Judges, Lawyers are involved in criminal activities they should face double the punishment that an everyday citizen would face. Seeing the video I understand why the cop shot. A vehicle is a deadly weapon.
      Hate that this happened, sad for the lost of young life and the parents. Maybe could have been handled different but not criminal act by cops.

  • It was the girl’s fault. She should not have called the police. How many times have you read where someone called the police because someone needed help and the cops went to that address and shot and killed the person. I recall a case a few years ago where an elderly black man accidently triggered a medical alert bracelet. A police unit was sent to check on his well-being. They kicked in his front door. He was standing in the middle of his living room in his under wear and they shot and killed him. He never had the chance to say a word.
    The cops are taught to shoot to kill. They come to your house armed to kill.

  • I think we do not know by this story all the facts! Only the facts that say bad cop! That is what this story wants to say! Just like the Floyd story. I see in this story a youth armed with a 4 ton van. That ignored what he was told just like many others. What is the point of having laws if nobody follows them???? We see that standard all through Government where they think the law is not for them. Even as high as the president! And certainly the congress. We are no longer a country of laws! But a country of laws only for some that others ignore with no recourse ! Remember we saw two police in DC kill people one was beaten with a button and one unarmed and shot and nothing was done with those officers. So if we are to punish one we need to punish all the same. We even see judges and prosecutors release criminals to inflict more crime and nothing happens to them . Just look what the BLM did! either we have a law or we don’t there is no LAW FOR THEE AND NOT FOR ME!

  • Daniel – “…was rewarded for negligent abuse of his badge. In many respects, he should stand trial for murder. …”

    Can you say Ashli Babbitt? Michael Byrd?
    Knew you could!

    • How about Randy Weaver and his wife, who’s BABY was shot while she held him on her own porch?
      Audit the cops, but destroy the FIB!

  • So a Jury found the cop not guilty, but a “journalist”- who was not there, whgo did not see all the video, nor hear all the testimony, knows better?

    There are two issues with the number of times the officer fired. First too many departments issue what is basically a pop-gun, the 9mm automatic. One round is rarely enough to stop an adult. Second, if the Overland Park is like most police departments, officers fire approximately 35 rounds PER YEAR. to minimally qualify. There is no paid time nor ammunition provided for adequate range time to be truly proficient, Most officers cannot afford to take their own time and buy their own ammo, so they are insufficiently aware of how many shots is enough.

    • NO, a JURY was not involved, as is usual in such cases, the officer elected to have his case decided by a JUDGE instead! Were JURY trisls made MANDATORY rater than optional in such police cases, we would be far more likely to have better accountability of police, as FINALLY “we the people” might het a chance at JUSTICE! (Having a “bench trial” in such cases can be tantamount to you or zI stacking a JURY with OUR “friends and relatives”!—POLICE usually fo whatever they can, to AVOID a JURY trial in such cases!

  • Ohhh? ……..prior military experience.

    When trained to be a hammer, every issue looks like a nail.

    The shooting Cop endangered himself by crowding the van backing out, and over reacted. Ya, it was murder!

    • YES,the POLICE are often involved in similar cases where they DELIBERATELY and needlessly position themselves in an obviously dangerous location in relation to a motor vehicle or a suspect, to help justify use of DEADLY FORCE as they execute the suspect! (Set-Up the scene correctly, and get away with murder!- an all too common occurrance!-See “Tamir Rice”!

  • If a person wants to commit suicide, the easiest way to do it is to call and tell the police that you are thinking about or planning to commit suicide. They will show up and take care of it for you — saving you from having any hesitancy or second thought about it or potentially changing your mind at the last minute. This has been demonstrated repeatedly — police killing someone because they were suicidal.

  • This author has trouble even getting his easily verifiable geographical facts straight first calling the community “Over Look Park” then “ Overland Park” and the county is “Blue County” first then “Belle County.” After demonstrating a failure to get those facts straight the tone of his account of what happened seems based on guessing and innuendo and seems far more concerned with condemning and castigating the officer involved from his bully pulpit. Perhaps the officer should be looked at in a more critical light but most locales I am aware of refer any instance where a law enforcement officer takes a life to a grand jury immediately. Maybe the officer deserves the author’s rush to judgement but I would prefer to see ALL of the facts before reaching a conclusion and not base a conclusion on the mostly factually unsupported ramblings of an obviously overwrought do-gooder!

  • How many police shootings have we seen reported on by the “media” that tortured the truth. Remember hands up don’t shoot? Or the death of St Floyd of fentanyl? I’d rather have all the facts than those that someone deems appropriate.

    If the cop did as reported than he needs to be prosecuted. If he did not the author needs to face justice. We’ve all seen this before, that why no one has faith in America’s institutions anymore.

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