When Arapahoe County Deputies and Colorado State Troopers pulled over Jasmine Johnson, they were certain she had a gun and was going to start shooting.
So they sat there, yelling at her to get out of the car for 15 minutes. One of the officers said they saw her point a gun at them, so eventually, they opened fire – depositing more than 50 rounds in Johnson’s car.
She was unhurt – on the floor of the car sleeping, actually, and was totally unarmed, as it turns out.
This amazing story was caught by CBS4.
It started when two drivers reported to police that Johnson was driving erratically on Interstate 70. Shortly after that, she called police and said – in slurred tones – that she had an AK-47 and was going to kill as many police as possible.
“I want to kill cops,” said Johnson on the taped call. “I’m gonna kill all the cops I can. I have a gun, have a machete, have an AK-47.”
They caught up with Johnson’s Ford Focus on I-70 near Agate at about 11:30 p.m. On March 3rd. They conducted a high-risk stop, keeping their distance and repeatedly urging Johnson to show her hands and get out of her car.
“Wasn’t sure why I was being pulled over, trying to figure out what was going on,” Johnson said, clearly not comprehending what she did.
According to CSP dashcam video of the incident obtained by CBS4, Johnson responded to the police requests by displaying lewd gestures and threatening the officers with threats like, “I’m going to kill you.” Johnson told CBS4 “I was quite fearful of something happening to me if I did get out of the car.”
After about 15 minutes, believing Johnson had pointed a gun at them, officers unleashed a volley of shots into her car.
When nothing happened after the first round of shots, officers continued shouting commands at Johnson to get out of the car.
When they again thought they saw a gun, more shots were fired into her car.
“Those deputies and troopers showed a lot of restraint in not causing a further confrontation,” said Walcher.
In about 30 minutes, from approximately 75 feet away, deputies and troopers fired 55 rounds at Johnson’s car from AR-15 rifles, .40 caliber pistols, and a shotgun. Not a single round hit her.
“I am surprised,” said Walcher.
Inside the car, Johnson said she could hear the bullets striking all around her.
“I could hear them, the glass shattering. I was extremely scared and in disbelief. I was praying that I survive it.”
She did. After about two hours, law enforcement brought in an armored vehicle to approach her car. They spotted her apparently asleep in the front seat. Johnson was handcuffed and arrested although police say she struggled and tried to spit on officers. Johnson later told authorities she had attempted to commit suicide that night by overdosing on a pain reliever, a muscle relaxer, and alcohol. When interviewed by CBS4, Johnson denied the suicide attempt, denied making those statements and denied drinking and ingesting medications that night.
Although no weapons were found in her car, a Colorado State Patrol spokesperson apparently told multiple media outlets the next morning that officers only fired at Johnson after she shot at them. CSP Chief Scott Hernandez now acknowledges that was not true. “Unfortunately sometimes things are said that’s not specifically accurate”, said Hernandez. “I don’t think it was intentional to go out that way”. He said somehow incorrect information about Johnson being armed was repeated and shared with law enforcement and the public. “As we know the facts now, that’s not the case.”
So the police consider firing four dozen rounds at an unarmed woman to be “restraint” and saying that she was armed when she wasn’t was “not specifically accurate.” But here’s the kicker: They shot up their own car in the process.
Photos of the crime scene obtained by CBS4 also show that in the bursts of gunfire, an Arapahoe County deputy accidentally shot up a state patrol cruiser. Reports suggest the patrol vehicle was struck 28 times. The deputy was standing immediately behind the car but was apparently unaware that many of his shots intended for Johnson were actually hitting the patrol car. Arapahoe County Sheriff Dave Walcher said,”With all the distractions and lights I don’t think our deputy realized he was hitting the top of the car”. He said his department is doing additional training to address the misfires.
Sounds like these Keystone Kops need lots of training, before someone gets killed.