DA finds Overland Park Police Officer Mike Mosher was justified in using deadly force before he was killed in May altercation

Officer Mike Mosher, 37, had been with the Overland Park Police Department for nearly 15 years before he was shot and killed during a traffic stop in May, 2020. File photo courtesy City of Overland Park.

Overland Park Police Officer Mike Mosher was justified in using deadly force during a May altercation with a hit-and-run suspect in which both men were killed, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe announced Thursday.

Howe said an investigation by the Johnson County Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Team turned up eyewitness statements and a video shot on Mosher’s personal cellphone that led to his determination.

At a press conference Thursday, Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez, his voice breaking at times, praised Mosher’s actions.

“Mike was a hero and he died doing what he loved. He died defending his community,” Donchez said.

Officers responded in force to the scene of the altercation in the 8300 block of W. 123rd Street where Mosher was killed, along with the suspect Phillip Michael Carney. Photo credit Mike Frizzell.

The incident took place late in the afternoon of May 3, near 123rd and Antioch. Mosher was on his way into work and driving his personal vehicle when he came upon the aftermath of an alleged hit-and-run collision. There, he encountered the suspect, 38-year-old Phillip Michael Carney.

Mosher, who was in uniform, called the incident into dispatch and used his personal cellphone to record his interaction with Carney, who was standing on the side of the busy road, dressed in a button-up shirt and sport coat.

Howe played Mosher’s cellphone video during Thursday’s press conference. It shows a nearly two-minute long interaction in which Mosher asks Carney to get back into his car multiple times.

“We’re out on the street, it’s not really a safe place to be,” Mosher is heard saying.

Carney tells Mosher to call his attorney and says at one point, “I know how you guys operate. I don’t trust you.”

A short time later, Mosher is heard saying, “I don’t know why you stopped and got out of your car and came back to me.”

Carney replies, “You’ll figure it out.”

A few seconds later, in the video, Carney reaches behind his back, under his sport coat and pulls out a black revolver. He appears to point it at Mosher. Investigators say Mosher then tried to block or grab the gun. In the video, Mosher’s cellphone falls to the ground and a quick succession of gunshots — eight total — can be heard.

“It’s a good example of something that, in the blink of an eye, can move from looking like a normal situation becomes a life-and-death situation,” Howe said.

Mosher, 37, was a decorated veteran of the Overland Park Police Department who had served for nearly 15 years. Mosher was named the department’s Officer of the Year in 2019.

“We all want to go home at the end of the day,” Donchez said. “Unfortunately, Mike didn’t get to go home, and he did everything right.”

Johnson County District Court records show Carney had faced charges of criminal damage, domestic battery and felony cocaine possession in recent years, though some of the charges were dismissed by prosecutors when he pleaded guilty to others.

He also faced a number of criminal charges in Douglas County stemming from the burglaries of a cigar shop and injuries he allegedly inflicted on law enforcement officers during his arrest, according to the Lawrence Journal-World.

Hundreds of officers from around the region turned out for a public memorial service for Mosher at the Overland Park Convention Center nearly two weeks after he was killed.

Mosher’s 12-year-old daughter, Tyler, spoke about her father at the service, describing her dad as the same fun-loving person at work as he was at home.

“My dad’s mission in life was to change the way people look at police officers,” she said. “He did this by doing the right thing, even when no one was watching.”