The Saint Paul Police Department released body-worn and dash cam footage of Monday’s fatal officer involved shooting of 24-year-old Howard Johnson. Please be advised, this content is difficult to watch.
The Saint Paul police officer who fatally shot a man in Minnesota’s capital city on Monday has been identified. According to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, there is surveillance video showing Sgt. Cody Blanshan striking Howard Johnson, 24, with his squad car before getting out and shooting him. BCA Investigators recovered ten 9-millimeter cartridge casings, “consistent with the department handgun Blanshan fired.”
During a press conference Wednesday, Howard’s mother, Monique Johnson, pleaded for the release of the body camera footage of her son’s death. “We don’t know nothing except from what we see on the news. I want to see the footage so I can see what happened to my child, and I can stop guessing. Release the footage, please!”
"I want justice for my child. I want justice for all the black men that have been killed by police. I want the video footage from the businesses that were there, from the cops’ cams from the dashboard footage. I want it all. I’m entitled to that. That is my child. I deserve to know what happened to him," said Monique.
What we know so far
Prior to Wednesday evening, only vague details explaining what happened before and after police encountered Johnson were available. Below is the initial Tweet that Saint Paul police sent at 8:16 p.m. on Monday which was followed by a BCA Tweet, teasing more information to come. The next update from police came Tuesday at 12:07 a.m., alerting the media of a briefing in 30 minutes.
Early Tuesday morning, outside the Saint Paul Police Department Headquarters, spokesperson Sgt. Mike Ernster shared this account:
Police were responding to a reported domestic incident in the area of Earl Street and Hudson Road just after 6 p.m.
The 911 caller told dispatchers she had just been assaulted by a man who was armed with a gun and had a warrant. The caller hung up.
Police set up a perimeter and found Johnson who “appeared to be carjacking a victim.”
Officers approached Johnson in a squad car and “thought they had struck him” with a vehicle.
Officers exited their vehicle to find the man standing in front of them, with the handgun still in his hand.
Officers discharged multiple rounds, striking the man in his torso and leg.
Officers body-worn cameras were activated, and the BCA would be investigating.
On Wednesday, Howard Johnson’s stepfather Kenneth Manning told reporters the family had been left in the dark. “No one has reached out from the mayor’s office. No one has reached out from the city attorney’s office, the police station — none of us know anything.”
A few hours later, the BCA identified Sgt. Blanshan as the officer involved and shared these details from their investigation.
A woman not associated with the reported assault told BCA agents that as she was leaving a business on Hudson Rd. She said Johnson approached her vehicle and was pointing a gun at her.
Sgt. Blanshan and another officer were parked nearby as part of the perimeter. Surveillance video shows Blanshan using his squad car to strike Johnson in the back and side. The squad car pushed Johnson past and behind the other squad car, knocking him to the ground.
The BCA release states: Johnson got up, and the video appears to show an exchange of gunfire between him and Blanshan, during which Johnson was struck. He fell to the ground, dropping his gun. Officers then handcuffed him and gave medical aid until EMS arrived.
Officers then handcuffed Johnson and gave him medical aid until paramedics arrived. Johnson was pronounced dead at the hospital,
BCA crime scene personnel recovered ten 9-millimeter cartridge casings, consistent with the department handgun Blanshan fired.
This is a developing story and will be updated as new information is made available.