By Floyd Simpson
February 1, 2020
JACKSONVILLE: On the night of December 14th, 22-year-old FAMU student Jamee Johnson was driving his mother’s car in the Tallyrand neighborhood on the North Side of Jacksonville, FL. At the corner of 21st and Buckman streets, he was pulled over for a seatbelt violation by two white officers of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, JSO, Josue Garriga and K. Graham. JSO stated that the officers asked Johnson to step out of the car, a command with which he initially complied. However, authorities are also saying that once Johnson walked to the back of the cruiser, he pushed Garriga and the two men tussled. Johnson then returned to his car and began to drive away, dragging Garriga behind. The sheriff’s office also reported that amid the tussle, Johnson reached for his gun and hit the accelerator while Garriga was partially hanging out of the vehicle. Garriga fired four shots into Johnson’s chest, killing the 22-year-old. Johnson was licensed to carry a firearm.
The family has obtained legal counsel from Ben Crump and Lee Merritt, two prominent civil liberties attorneys. Crump and Merritt have issued a letter to the Department of Justice requesting that an investigation be conducted separately from that being conducted by the sheriff’s office. The family has since taken possession of Johnson’s body and is having an independent autopsy performed. JSO has said that there is no dashcam footage and that the body cams worn were dislodged during the altercation. No footage has been released to the family or the public. Garriga was also involved in a deadly shooting in nearby Putnam County. On March 6, 2015, then-Putnam County Detective Josue Garriga was one of several officers who fired at 48-year-old Andrew Williams, who was later pronounced dead, according to PCSO documents.
“A lot of narratives are now coming out that say he was outside the car with his hands up, saying, ‘Wait, wait, wait,’ before he was shot,“ Harvey Johnson, Jamee’s dad, said.
“All we’re asking for is that the video be released,” Bridget Johnson, Jamee’s step-mom, said. “So that we can at least begin to understand what happened.”
Both officers involved in the shooting are on administrative leave, which is protocol. Harvey Johnson, Jamee’s dad, said he does not plan to stop demanding for the tape to be released.
“Right now, we’re trying to set up a meeting with our state representative, Ramon Alexander. He also asked them to release the videotape,” Johnson said. “We’re also trying to set up a meeting with the governor to get him to step in and help release the tape.“
His family believes not releasing the footage is sending a bad message to the community.
“It’s showing that if you get killed on this side of Jacksonville it doesn’t matter,” Britney Johnson, Jamee’s older sister, said.
The shooting of Jamee Johnson and JSO’s handling of the aftermath are a clear indicator of the contempt that the state and it’s sanctioned killers and representatives have for the masses, and their total disregard for the lives of those we’re told they exist to “protect” and “serve”. To report this case as a miscarriage of justice would be a grave understatement. This killing is just the latest in a long line of murders committed by state-funded bandits whose sole purpose for existence is to violently enforce the will of the ruling class. Unfortunately, any shred of justice that Jamee’s family may find through the courts will do nothing to heal their wounds or to prevent future killings. They will not bring accountability to this murderous system. The only way to stop the systematic murder and control taking place in our communities is to build our own institutions of power, truly by and for the people. We must smash the institutions that keep us in bondage. All power to the people.