The city of Overland Park on Wednesday disclosed hundreds of previously unreleased images related to the investigation of the 2018 fatal police shooting of teenager John Albers.
Why it matters: The images are second-by-second stills of officers’ dashcam videos from the night Albers was killed.
They were not included when the city, in April, released a redacted version of the investigation into Albers’ killing conducted by the Johnson County Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Team, or OISIT.
What the city says: In a statement Wednesday, the city says it was responding to a public records request when the still dashcam video images were discovered in an “unlabeled compressed folder” along with other unreleased images of Albers’ autopsy.
The city said, in part:
“Overland Park officials, responding to a recent open records request, discovered a series of still photos captured from an in-car police camera video that had been previously released to the public. The content of the photos is not new; it is simply a different format than the previously-released dashcam video which shows the same content.
We apologize for this oversight.
These photos were located in an unlabeled compressed folder, filed with autopsy photos, which were not made public … [T]he City did not publicly release autopsy photos out of respect to the Albers family.”
Sheila Albers’ response: John Albers’ mother Sheila has pressured the city for years for more transparency around her son’s death and a subsequent $70,000 severance agreement reached with Clayton Jenison, the officer who shot and killed John Albers.
Of the latest release of images, Albers told the Shawnee Mission Post, “This continues to call into question the integrity of the investigation and continues to erode the public’s trust in local government.”
Albers said the photos are being released following an open records request she made with Overland Park after she obtained a report from the Johnson County Crime Lab that stated a member of the OISIT investigating the shooting had requested the sequential images of the dashcam videos.
“Overland Park initially denied they had these photographs,” Albers said. “I pushed and sent another email. Today, Overland Park miraculously ‘found’ the photographs.”
Questions about timing: An email forwarded from the OISIT investigators to Albers provided to the Post says the still images of the dashcam videos were released by the OISIT to Overland Park on March 30, 2018.
That was more than a month after Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe announced he would not file charges against Jenison and weeks after Jenison resigned from the Overland Park force.
Albers has previously raised questions about whether Howe had all the evidence he needed to make a determination not to charge Jenison.
What could happen next: The FBI is still conducting a civil rights investigation into Albers’ killing.
The scope of that investigation is unclear, though subpoena records obtained last fall by Kansas City public radio station KCUR show that the FBI demanded a number of investigative records from Overland Park, including “use of force reports, internal affairs files; arrest reports; charging documents; disciplinary reports; dashboard camera recordings; body camera recordings; any other audio/video recordings taken at the scene of this incident.”