After long-awaited Albers report released in April, OP says it left out photos

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Hundreds of photos from the investigation into the police shooting of John Albers were released Wednesday after the City of Overland Park said it discovered them in an unlabeled folder.

In April, the city released the investigative file on the 2018 shooting, which contained nearly 500 pages of documents, dash cam videos and images.

The batch of photos made public Wednesday was not included. Overland Park officials said those images were located in response to an open records request. The series of still photos was captured from dash cams. Previously released dash cam recordings show the same content, but in video format, the city said in a news release.

The photos were found in an unlabeled, compressed folder which also included autopsy photos, which were not released.

“The release of the photos just once again calls into question the integrity of the investigation,” said Sheila Albers, John’s mother. “What else is missing? Three-and-a-half years later and we are still discovering information that has been withheld from the public. It continues to erode the public trust in our local government.”

John Albers, 17, was fatally shot six times on Jan. 20, 2018, by former Overland Park Police Officer Clayton Jenison. Police had been called for a welfare check on the teen, who was believed to be suicidal.

Johnson County’s Officer-Involved Shooting Investigation Team investigated the incident.

One month after the shooting, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe ruled it justified.

In January, 41 Action News, or KSHB, filed a lawsuit to obtain the investigation team’s file on the shooting.

The city made the file public in April saying withholding the report “has become an obstacle to restoring the community’s trust and confidence” and that the report “reflects a complete and thorough investigation.”

However, questions about the integrity of the investigation and what the report included have unfolded since then. Experts who reviewed the file at The Star’s request said it appeared detectives never considered that the shooting might not be justified. They also criticized the report for focusing on Albers instead of Jenison.

A crime lab report obtained last month was not included in the April release of documents. It showed that the bullets fired at Albers entered through the side of the minivan, answering some questions about Jenison’s positioning and whether he was in the vehicle’s path when he decided to shoot.

The lab report was dated March 7, 2018 — three weeks after Howe declined to file charges. Howe’s office has not answered questions about the charging decision or what information they had at the time the decision was made.

Last week, The Star also obtained six additional lab reports through an open records request submitted to the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.

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