LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The shooting of a man by Little Rock police last weekend is resulting in attorneys ready to take action if the city does not.
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.
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 are said to have 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.
An investigation into the shooting began shortly after, and McClendon was relieved of his duties “within hours” of the shooting, according to department officials.
During a news conference Wednesday, LRPD Chief Heath Helton and Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Will Jones said McClendon would face charges of first-degree battery and first-degree assault in connection to the shooting.
Johnson family attorney Austin Porter Jr. said Friday 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.
“What this officer did was inexcusable,” Porter said. “It was indefensible.”
Johnson’s parents sat on either side of Porter during the press conference. When asked about their response to what happened to their son, Johnson’s mother, Darlecia Johnson, said, “I feel like he was not deserving.”
Johnson’s father explained that they are still trying to determine what disabilities Johnson will have following his injuries from the shooting.
Porter noted that there is a trend of people of color being the targets of shootings involving police officers all too often. He is calling for change not only on the national level, but here in Little Rock.
“Police officers are not allowed to shoot someone just to prevent them from escaping,” Porter said.
He also claimed LRPD officers denied Johnson’s family from being able to visit him for his first two days in the hospital while he was in a coma.
LRPD spokesperson Mark Edwards could not confirm or deny if that is correct, though he said that has not been their practice in the past. As for the urge to step up to the plate financially, Edwards and the city spokesperson declined to comment because of the ongoing investigation.
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.