Community Oversight Now calls for investigation into Nashville police killing

Posted at 10:25 AM, Jun 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-12 20:20:57-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Community Oversight Now has called for an investigation into a deadly police shooting in Nashville from nearly a month ago.

Three Metro Nashville officers shot and killed 48-year-old William Johnson Jr. on May 21 after police said Johnson fired at them following a pursuit on Interstate 440. Police said the chase was prompted after Johnson shot off-duty Officer Darrell Osment, who was walking his dog near the Ashland City line.

Community Oversight Now wants District Attorney Glenn Funk and the Community Oversight Board to investigate Johnson’s death, saying “several concerns have yet to be addressed.”

Per a memorandum of understanding between Metro Police and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the TBI is the lead investigator on all deadly shootings involving MNPD officers. That would include the death of Johnson Jr.

Community Oversight Now said it has spoken with someone connected to Johnson’s family and that has raised concerns about the case. They also highlighted several reasons for their request, including a lack of video from the confrontation with Osment.

They also said because Johnson had a history of sleeping in church parking lots, it’s “unclear if Johnson even left his vehicle or even approached the officer.”

“We may never know the full story of the extrajudicial killing of Mr. Johnson by MNPD. But what we do know is that the details of the incident that led to Johnson’s death are sketchy and rest solely on the account provided by MNPD,” the group said in part.

Back in May, NewsChannel 5 spoke with Johnson’s brother, Hermitage pastor Greg Johnson, who said there were more that needs to be known about what happened.

“We’re still trying to gather the facts because all we know of my brother is that he’s a good man, nice and kind,” he told NewsChannel 5 at the time.

Greg Johnson said his brother had just returned from a trip to California and he didn’t have any clue why his brother would be near Ashland City.