LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The family of a man shot by a Little Rock police officer last weekend held a press conference Friday afternoon to discuss the shooting.
Officials with the Little Rock Police Department said 20-year-old Brendon R. Johnson was shot early in the morning of Sept. 30 by Officer Johvoni McClendon near the intersection of Mabelvale Pike and Mabelvale Circle.
During a news conference Friday, family attorney Austin Porter Jr. said Johnson was still hospitalized and expected to require a lengthy recovery, sharing a photo of Johnson in his hospital bed that Porter said shows the injuries Johnson sustained to his head.
Porter said he believed the shooting followed a pattern of behavior shown by police around the country and in Little Rock where the color of someone’s skin changes the likelihood that they could be shot when interacting with officers.
“This is not only a 4th Amendment violation, it’s an equal protection violation,” Porter told reporters.
Darlecia Johnson, Brendon Johnson’s mother, was mostly quiet during the news conference, explaining she is still trying to wrap her head around the entire incident.
“I feel like he was not deserving,” she said of what her son has gone through.
Porter noted that the family has not filed any kind of lawsuit after the shooting but left that option on the table while at the same time urging the city to step up financially and cover any damages and expenses Johnson is facing.
LRPD officials said McClendon was one of the officers who lost sight of a suspect vehicle, a white Dodge Charger, during a pursuit earlier in the morning last Saturday. The officers said when they later found the Charger abandoned, they noticed a truck circling the area nearby.
The officers said they approached the truck with their guns drawn and ordered the driver and passenger, later identified as Johnson, out of the truck.
While the driver got out of the truck, police said Johnson slid over and tried to drive away from the scene. That was when investigators said McClendon shot Johnson to stop the truck. The officers at the scene gave aid to Johnson until medical personnel arrived at the scene and took him to a local hospital.
An investigation into the shooting began within hours of the shooting, and McClendon was relieved of his duties “within hours” of the shooting, department officials said.
During a news conference Wednesday, LRPD Chief Heath Helton and Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Will Jones announced that McClendon would face charges in the shooting, with the chief saying the officer’s actions “were outside of the department’s policy related to the use of deadly force.”
“Due to the severity of the violations observed, I believed that it was imperative that immediate action be taken to protect the public, our internal policies and the law,” Helton told reporters.
McClendon was charged with first-degree battery, a felony, and first-degree assault, a misdemeanor. He was arraigned in Little Rock District Court Wednesday morning and then booked into the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility. He was released shortly after paying bail on his $25,000 bond.