On May 25, 2020, Dion Johnson, a 28yr old Black man was killed in Phoenix, Arizona, during an arrest for driving while intoxicated. According to the Phoenix Police, a trooper was patrolling when he discovered Johnson’s vehicle parked in the gore point near Loop 101 and Tatum Boulevard. The trooper approached the vehicle and found Johnson asleep at the drivers seat, with cans of beer and a gun in the car, after removing the gun, the trooper attempted to arrest Johnson.
Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel on Monday declined to pursue criminal charges against a Department of Public Safety trooper in connection with the shooting death of Dion Johnson.
“Trooper Cervantes reasonably feared for his life,”said Adel. “Criminal charges against the trooper are not warranted.”
Adel said she did not make her decision lightly but had to consider the likelihood of getting a conviction in court. She also said the lack of criminal charges does not affect a possibility of potential civil action.
Before running through the background of the case, Adel addressed those who might believe that law enforcement officers will not face charges simply because they are officers, saying that is “absolutely not true” in Maricopa County.
“When the facts and evidence justify a criminal prosecution against an officer, this office has charged those cases, and we will continue to do so. Officers do not get a greater benefit of doubt than any other person facing criminal prosecution,” she said. “No matter who you are … if you commit a crime in our county, you will be held accountable.”
Adel explained that four citizens reviewed the case and submitted their opinion. Adel said this opinion, along with full a committee opinion, was considered in making the decision. “When it comes to making a charging decision on a case such as this, I don’t make the decision alone,” she said. “I consult with others who have a range of experience to fully explore and discuss the evidence and legal implications of the evidence.”