Johnson County, KS — January of this year was the 4th anniversary of Sheila and Steve Albers' son's death. Their 17-year-old son was gunned down by police while unarmed. As is normally the case when police kill unarmed and often innocent people, no charges were filed against Overland Park Officer Clayton Jenison who shot and killed the unarmed 17-year-old boy on January 20, 2018. On top of refusing to charge the officer, police have also repeatedly refused to release records concerning the case, despite claiming they would do so three years ago.
On Friday, the Department of Justice announced that it will not pursue federal criminal civil rights charges against Jenison, claiming they could not prove all elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
Officials met privately with members of the Albers family to notify them of the decision.
The DoJ's decision is in spite of the fact that during a civil lawsuit based on this incident, the DOJ noted that a federal district court in Kansas ruled that a reasonable jury could find that the officer involved in the shooting had indeed used unreasonable force when he fired the first two shots at Albers. As WIBW reports, the federal criminal investigation found no substantial evidence inconsistent with this conclusion.
Unfortunately, as WIBW points out, unlike in the many state jurisdictions that have statutes criminalizing killings committed with lesser mental states, like criminal negligence or recklessness, the DOJ said the federal government has no statute to criminalize a police officer’s use of unreasonable force, if willfulness cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
As we reported at the time, police were called to the home of teenager John Albers after his girlfriend said she was afraid he was going to kill himself. Police arrived and Jenison opened fire on Albers as the teen backed out of his driveway.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation opened their investigation into the case in September of 2020. But now we see that it went nowhere.
While it is typical for charges not to follow police officers who kill children, in Jenison's case, it was far worse than simply getting off Scot-free. He received a bonus.
As TFTP reported, Jenison was not only reinstated as a law enforcement officer but he also received a payout of $70,000 to leave the department.
Jenison worked just two months into 2018 but documents reveal he made over $80,000. His income included a $70,000 severance package — after dumping 13 rounds into an unarmed high school sports star.
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It was a 5-figure bonus for murdering a child. Naturally, Alber's mother said she was “disgusted” when she found out about the payment.
“They allowed an officer who clearly committed misconduct to get incentivized,” Sheila Albers said at the time. “We essentially incentivized police misconduct by giving Jenison a payout.”
According to WDAF, Albers’ family settled a wrongful death lawsuit against the city. However, they’ve still been unable to get many of the documents they requested to show how police and the DA reached the decision they did.
When pressed for a statement after issuing the bonus, the city of Overland Park stood by their decision and claimed giving a child-killing cop a bonus was in the best interest of the city.
“In the best interest of the community, city officials negotiated an agreement with former Overland Park Police Officer Clayton Jenison, which resulted in his voluntary resignation and the city providing a final compensation package that included a severance payment as well as other benefits.”
As we reported at the time, the shooting was caught on police dash cam and one angle seems to show the teen start to back the family’s minivan out of the driveway before being confronted by the police officer. Jenison fired an initial two shots. After the first two shots were fired, Albers may have been wounded and it caused him to push the gas.
The vehicle then spun out in donut-like fashion, nearly hitting the officer. Fully engaged in the conflict the officer then opened fire with 11 more bullets further wounding and eventually killing the reportedly distraught teen.
Once again, another American family was then faced with the sad reality an officer of the peace ended their son’s life in the family’s own front yard.
John Albers was a Junior at Blue Valley Northwest High School. He was a member of the Wrestling and Soccer teams and was involved with at-risk youth in a Kansas City based soccer league. Friends of Albers say he was unfairly portrayed in a negative light but was, in fact, “loyal”, “courageous”, and “compassionate.”
The following is dashcam footage from the actual shooting. One can clearly see the officer open fire on Albers before he started driving erratically. Those two shots were likely unnecessary and would have made any motorist attempt to flee or cause them to lose control.