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US POLICE shot dead a black man who had been found passed out in the passenger seat of a car in Arizona on May 25, the same day a Minneapolis officer killed George Floyd by kneeling on his neck.
Dion Johnson’s family have demanded answers after hearing an audio recording that appeared to show that state troopers, after opening fire on the 28-year-old, left him dying in a pool of blood for six minutes before calling for medical assistance.
A police statement confirmed that Mr Johnson had been found “passed out in the driver’s seat” of a car that was partially blocking traffic.
The Phoenix Police Department only released the statement late on Wednesday after the recording had made its way into the public domain and more than a week after the incident.
It claimed that the trooper saw “beer cans and a gun in the vehicle,” although no mention of this was heard in the audio recording.
The trooper told investigators that he had removed the gun from Mr Johnson’s vehicle and secured it on his motorcycle.
Police spokeswoman Sergeant Maggie Cox said that the trooper called for backup and then saw Mr Johnson moving and tried to arrest him.
Mr Johnson is alleged to have grabbed the trooper, who drew his gun, fearing that he would be pushed into the oncoming traffic.
“Mr Johnson began to comply, but as the trooper was holstering his gun, Mr Johnson reached for the gun and a second altercation ensued,” Ms Cox said.
“The trooper, fearing for his life, then fired his service weapon, striking Mr Johnson. A second trooper arrived after the shooting and assisted in removing Mr Johnson from the vehicle.”
His mother Erma Johnson said: “I can't believe that someone that's supposed to protect and serve would treat a human being the way they treated my son when he was shot, handcuffed, thrown to the ground, obviously, because he was in the car before they shot.”
She said that video footage seen by the family showed paramedics arriving at the scene after the shots were fired.
“Six minutes went by. They sat there instead of going to the aid of my son,” Ms Johnson said. “He could have been alive to this day, but they held everybody up so he can obviously lay on the ground and die.”
Attorney for the family Jocquese Blackwell said: “The question that the family has is why do we have to, time and time again, find ourselves in a situation when another unarmed black man or black woman has been killed by an individual who has volunteered to protect and serve?”
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