Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt has been hired by the family of 22-year-old Jamee Johnson, who died Saturday (Dec. 14) night after he was shot and killed in an officer-involved shooting after a traffic stop, Action News Jax reports.
Johnson was a Florida A&M University student from fall 2015 to spring 2019 and was a business administration major, according to the university’s communications department, Action News Jax reports.
“Sadly our office has been retained to represent the family of another young black male killed by the police,” Merritt tweeted on Monday (Dec. 16). “#JameeJohnson was a senior business major at FAMU.”
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) said Johnson was shot after a traffic stop turned up a pistol.
According to JSO Chief Investigator T.K. Waters, officers learned Johnson had a gun in the car, which is not illegal in Florida, when they spoke with him during the traffic stop, WFSU reports.
Initially, Johnson cooperated with police when he was asked to step out of the car, Waters said.
But when Johnson was walking to the officer’s patrol car, he pushed Officer J. Garriga, and a struggle between the two of them ensued, WFSU reports.
Johnson reportedly jumped into his car and tried to get away, the JSO said, Action News Jax reports.
Officer Garriga got behind the suspect, who was allegedly reaching for his handgun and at one point during their scuffle, the JSO said Johnson hit the gas while the officer was partially hanging out of the car, Action News Jax reports.
“The suspect was reaching for the gun while officer Garriga was trying to gain control of him. during the struggle the suspect hit the accelerator,” Waters told reporters gathered at a Sunday (Dec. 15) press conference, WFSU reports. “The vehicle moved forward quickly while officer Garriga’s body was partially exposed outside the vehicle.”
After Johnson abruptly stopped, according to the JSO, Garriga fired four shots at him, Action News Jax reports.
The JSO said Garriga and another officer who was there, K. Graham, attempted CPR on him at the scene before paramedics arrived. Johnson was later pronounced dead at the hospital, the JSO said.
The JSO also said that a pistol with an extended magazine was found during a search of Johnson’s car, Action News Jax reports.
“He was in legal possession of a firearm during a traffic stop,” Merritt wrote in Monday’s tweet. “We demand to see camera footage from the stop.”
According to WFSU, the video footage has not been released due to the ongoing investigation.
Waters told reporters Sunday (Dec. 15) that Johnson had no prior criminal history.