For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, May 24, 2023
Contact: Nazneen Ahmed
(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today announced that charges will not be brought against Fayetteville Police Department officers over the death of Jada Elizabeth Johnson because the evidence showed that the officers acted reasonably in the face of a deadly threat.
Attorney General Stein released the following statement about the decision:
“After conducting a thorough review of this case, my Special Prosecutions Section has concluded that charges should not be filed in this case, and I agree. The evidence shows that the officers faced a deadly threat and acted reasonably in response. Therefore, no charges will be brought.
“Nevertheless, Ms. Johnson’s untimely death is a tragedy. Even when criminal charges are not appropriate, we should always ask whether anything could have been done differently that may have resulted in a better outcome. I urge that a sentinel event review, which is designed to better understand and learn from officer-involved shootings, be conducted in this case. It is possible that a co-responder model that pairs social workers and other mental health experts with police officers could have helped better address the reason for a call. Finally, I call for the body camera footage recorded at the scene to be released in the interest of transparency to the people.
“This case also illustrates the damaging consequences of the proliferation of guns in the wrong hands. It is not known how Ms. Johnson came into possession of her gun, but red flag laws that keep guns out of the hands of people experiencing mental health issues who pose a risk to themselves or others would go a long way in keeping us all safer.”
The North Carolina Department of Justice’s Special Prosecutions Section took over the case on Oct. 14, 2022, at the request of District Attorney Billy West. The Special Prosecutions Section is available to prosecute or assist in prosecutions when district attorney offices face issues of conflict or resource constraints.