911 calls released in fatal shooting involving Fayetteville police officers

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ByCindy Bae via WTVD logo
Tuesday, July 19, 2022
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The mental health crisis that a woman shot and killed by Fayetteville officers was having was one of multiple such episodes throughout the week leading up to her death, according to her grandfather.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- In several 911 calls released by the Fayetteville Police Department on Tuesday, Jada Johnson is heard making claims that someone's breaking into her home.

"I think someone is about to break into the house now," Johnson said on July 1. "I think I saw some shadows of someone trying to come in my front door and back door."

Johnson's claim is heard again in the total of six calls she made, including accusing dispatch of hanging up on her and saying her 2-year-old daughter wasn't breathing.

The Fayetteville Police Department said there was no evidence of a break-in when officers arrived and that it appeared Johnson was having a mental health crisis, which police said they tried for an hour to deescalate.

The mental health crisis she appeared to be having before she died was one of multiple episodes throughout the week leading up to her death, according to her grandfather.

"She thinks her boyfriend has contacted the police to kill her," Rick Iwanski said.

In the footage obtained by ABC11 last week, at least three officers are seen initially responding to the call before it turned deadly. Iwanski's footage doesn't show inside the home where Johnson was shot and killed, but Iwanski said Johnson was unarmed, contrary to what police said.

"There was no struggle. She didn't fight back," Iwanski told ABC11 on Monday. "She did not do anything, just laid there and they killed her and murdered her in front of me."

For members of the Fayetteville Police Accountability Community Task Force, Johnson's death is a sad reminder of the ongoing conversation about accountability in the city, as the two officers involved in Johnson's shooting death remain on administrative leave.

"We don't deserve a statement of what happened," president and co-founder Kathy Greggs said. "We deserve to know why it happened, and we deserve some accountability and reprimand of who is going to get charged for this murder because this is murder."

Greggs wondered why the city continues to fall short in addressing mental health, despite their efforts in 2021 suggesting guidelines on how to respond to situations that appear to involve a mental health crisis.

"We're trying to understand why do we give resolutions and tools and resources but they don't acknowledge those resolutions," Greggs said, adding that crisis intervention calls should be separate. "This is what we need as communities ... helping each other in a crisis and not being killed because you have a crisis."

Greggs commented on Durham County's effort to tackle mental health crises with a program involving unarmed mental health professionals.

"Even though we had someone talking that was armed ... having a conversation with (Johnson) for an hour, it's totally different than an unarmed (person)," Greggs said. "But if you have someone that's armed and you don't trust the police because of previous altercations ... then there's a distrust here."

Greggs said the pressure isn't just on law enforcement, but the need to work together is becoming more urgent.

"We have people that live next door to each other, they should be helping each other," "We know that Jada had a history of mental illness that dates back years ago, so we should have been doing community policing within our own community as citizens. It's our responsibility as well, but we must make sure we understand it's the officer's responsibility, and the police's responsibility, as well as the official's responsibility to hold those accountable."

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is in charge of the case as is standard protocol. Fayetteville PD said there is body camera footage that will be reviewed.

"No one should die from the hands of police officers, and the police should not be able to police themselves," Greggs said. "This is why we're here, is to hold them accountable."