WATCH: Farmers Branch Police Officer Convicted of Murder of Dallas Teen

A former Farmers Branch police officer has been convicted of murder for chasing and killing a teenager he caught breaking into his SUV.

Ken Johnson, 37, was also convicted Tuesday of felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for seriously wounding another teen in the March 2016 shooting.

Johnson, who had been out on bond, was taken into custody after the verdict was read Tuesday. He faces up to life in prison, and court records show he plans to ask for probation. The sentencing trial will begin Jan. 8.

Johnson was off-duty and in plain clothes in March 13, 2016, when he chased two teenagers he saw breaking into the Chevrolet Tahoe at his Farmers Branch apartment complex.

The teens took off in a vehicle, and Johnson pursued them in his SUV.

He rammed their car off the road at Spring Valley Road and Marsh Lane, hopped out of his Tahoe while it was still rolling into oncoming traffic and shot 16 times into the teens’ car.

Jose Cruz, 16, was shot in the head and died at the scene.

Edgar Rodriguez, who was also 16 at the time, was shot in the head but survived. He lost a finger, and his ear had to be reconstructed.

One bullet lodged in Rodriguez’s cellphone, which he thinks saved his life.

Relatives in the courtroom embraced prosecutor Jason Hermus and Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson after the verdict was read.

Many of the family members were emotional and in tears as they left the courtroom. They are not allowed to comment on the verdict because the sentencing hearing is pending.

Jurors started deliberations Monday afternoon and resumed Tuesday morning.

Investigators said Johnson shot at the car before opening the driver’s side door and continuing to shoot. Hermus called it a “roadside execution.”

“His desire to kill was so great that he opens the door,” Hermus argued Monday.

Defense attorneys Robert Rogers and Tim Menchu argued that the shooting was in self-defense because Johnson saw Cruz reaching down after the crash and believed the teenager had a weapon.

The teenagers were unarmed.

Convictions of police officers are rare, but indictments have been increasing.

Six police officers have been indicted this year on criminal charges in Dallas County for on-duty actions.

And two former Dallas-area police officers have been given probation this year as part of plea deals. One killed a man after a police chase, and the other shot and wounded a mentally-ill man.

Johnson resigned from the Farmers Branch Police Department weeks after the shooting.

The police chief said Johnson violated department policies when he chased the teens and rammed them with his personal vehicle.

Rodriguez testified at the beginning of the nearly six-day trial. He admitted to stealing third-row seats from Johnson’s Tahoe. He said the teens didn’t know Johnson was following them until he was ramming Cruz’s Dodge Challenger.

Johnson was serving as the courtesy officer at his apartment complex when he saw Rodriguez breaking into his Tahoe. He told investigators that Cruz’s red Challenger matched the description of a car connected to several burglaries. Rogers said it was “instinct” that pushed Johnson to pursue the teens while off duty.”

Johnson claimed he shouted at the car, “Police! Show me your hands!” But people at the gas station near the crash contradicted that claim.

One woman yelled at Johnson to stop shooting.

“Man, I’m tired of this! They stole my stuff!” the woman remembers him shouting back at her.

Jurors were asked to consider what a reasonable person would’ve done if they had been in Johnson’s position that day. A “reasonable person would not have done what he did,” Hermus argued.

Johnson did not grab his police badge or cellphone when he left his apartment to confront the teens.

“Ken Johnson was in a rage,” Hermus said. “And how do we know that? Because he decides only to grab his gun. He commits himself to the outcome.”


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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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