Home / US / After shooting an unarmed teenage driver, a Kansas police officer received a $ 70,000 severance payment

After shooting an unarmed teenage driver, a Kansas police officer received a $ 70,000 severance payment

As is so often the case with shootings involving officials, Jenison’s name was initially not released – although he eventually became public through a lawsuit filed by the Albers family for a death – and officials withheld all investigative reports of the killing. He was taken on administrative leave when a criminal investigation was opened.

In February 2018, the Johnson County Attorney General announced that the official was not being charged and the murder was warranted. At the same time, District Attorney Steve Howe announced that the officer had resigned before administrative measures could be taken.

Overland Park officials did not disclose the following month that they paid Jenison a total severance package of more than $ 81

,000 in March 2018, although records show that his salary was about $ 46,000. City spokesman Sean Reilly said Thursday that “in the best interest of the community,” the city negotiated an agreement with Jenison “that resulted in his voluntary resignation,” which wasted $ 8,000 in wages, $ 3,040 unused Vacation and work hours and $ 70,000 includes severance pay.

No City Overland Park official would explain why a $ 70,000 compensation was “in the best interest of the community.” Mayor Carl Gerlach, Chief of Police Frank Donchez, City Council President Fred Spears and Deputy City Attorney Eric Blevins did not respond to requests for comments on Thursday.

Overland Park City Council, Paul Lyons, who now chairs the City Council’s Public Security Committee, told the Kansas City Star that Jenison could not be released because the Johnson County prosecutor believed the murder was warranted. However, police departments can switch to firefighters whose actions are considered legal but still violate the department’s guidelines. Dismissed officials do not receive severance packages.

The 31-year-old Jenison could not be found for comment, and his lawyer Michael Seck also did not respond to a request for comment. Jenison is an army veteran who served in Afghanistan and was an officer in Overland Park for two years. Since he hasn’t been released or otherwise disciplined by Overland Park, he can join another police department.

In July 2018, four months after Jenison’s departure, friends of the Albers family requested documents regarding Jenison’s terms of resignation. According to Sheila Albers, the victim’s mother, Overland Park refused to provide the records.

But Sheila Albers, who has since resigned from her principal school job and founded an organization dedicated to improving police training in Kansas, has not stopped digging. And on Sunday, she found pay slips for Overland Park police in a government database, and noticed that Jenison received $ 81,040 in 2018, a significant increase in his salary over the past two years.

Overland Park officials then confirmed to reporters in Kansas City that they had issued the $ 70,000 compensation.

After the payment was announced, two Overland Park City Council members requested an executive meeting to determine the facts of the Jenison settlement. Councilor Scott Hamblin said Friday that he and member Faris Farassati asked for the meeting because “the public demands and deserves transparency, and as leaders we must be ready and willing to provide it. To date, no board meeting or other measure to establish facts has been taken. “

Sheila Albers and her husband Steve filed a death sentence against Overland Park and Jenison with the federal court, partly because the police and prosecutors would not publish reports on the case. After a judge ruled that “Officer Jenison was not in the minivan’s way” and that “a sensible jury could conclude that lethal violence was inappropriate because.” [Albers] just harmed itself, ”the city closed the lawsuit with the Albers family in January 2019 for $ 2.3 million.

Sheila Albers noted how prosecutors and police chief Donchez announced Jenison’s resignation on February 20, 2018, while the city was apparently still negotiating the official’s severance package, which Reilly said was completed in March 2018.

“I have always questioned the integrity of the investigation,” said Albers. “You cannot conduct an impartial, thorough investigation into police misconduct while negotiating a financial buyout.”

The officials were sent home to Albers after John Albers posted comments online to friends that he was considering killing himself. Two officers arrived within minutes, but neither approached the front door nor tried to contact Albers. The garage door soon opened and the family’s minivan slowly pulled into the driveway. Jenison was sitting to the right of the garage, as the videos show.

Howe said Jenison was “right behind the van”, although a judge later decided that the officer was not in the van’s path. Howe said the officer called “Stop the car three times.” On the video you can hear him calling “Stop” three times.

The van suddenly accelerated backwards and turned 180 degrees “J”, which brought it very close to Jenison. He didn’t shoot then. As the van reversed toward the garage, Jenison shot from the side eleven times, as the video shows. The van stopped and then rolled out of the driveway. Albers was dead.

“Chief Donchez and District Attorney Steve Howe have deceived the public about Officer Jenison’s aggressive actions,” said Sheila Albers, “hindering the judiciary and not holding anyone accountable for my son’s death.” She said the money paid to Jenison could have funded the crisis intervention team’s training to prevent unnecessary violence in the future. Overland Park is a microcosm of the broader problem we have across the country: lack of transparency, failed accountability and leadership systems that neglect their duty to protect and serve the public. “

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