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Trooper involved in Dion Johnson's death won't be charged

Arizona Department of Public Safety Trooper George Cervantes shot and killed Dion Johnson on May 25.

PHOENIX — The trooper who shot and killed Dion Johnson, an unarmed Black man, during a struggle on Loop 101 on Memorial Day, will not be charged in the man's death.

Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel announced Monday her decision to not file criminal charges against George Cervantes for shooting and killing Johnson on May 25.

Adel said prosecutors would not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Cervantes did not act in self defense. 

“When trying to determine what happens after an event like the one that ended in the death of Mr. Johnson, more information is always better – better for prosecutors – better for the public – and better for anyone who is committed to keeping our community safe,” Adel said Monday. 

“Given the importance of these types of events where life and death decisions are made, having this additional information for those of us who must sit in judgement of someone’s actions, is good public policy."

Adel also called for all uniformed officers to have body-worn cameras. 

"It is time for stakeholders to come together to make body worn camera deployment a reality across Arizona," she continued. 

"As county attorney, I pledge to use this office to advocate for the resources and funding needed to make this a reality.”



The incident began when Cervantes found Johnson passed out in his car, which was parked on the Loop 101 near Tatum Boulevard.

Police have said Cervantes reached into the driver-side window, possibly to take the keys away or remove a gun in the car when a struggle broke out.

The police report said multiple witnesses driving by observed a struggle between Cervantes and Johnson.

Cervantes told police the struggle got to a point where he feared for his life and that he’d be kicked into traffic before he pulled the trigger.

Cervantes shot and killed Johnson during the struggle. After Johnson was shot, police said Cervantes and another trooper restrained him and put him on the ground.  They called in the fire department after clearing the scene.  

Johnson was taken to Honor Health Deer Valley, where he was pronounced dead. An investigation report revealed Johnson had drugs in his system like meth and fentanyl and also had a BAC of 0.18.

Johnson's family has repeatedly demanded transparency during the investigation.

Back in July, the Arizona Department of Public Safety released a 367-page internal affairs report on Cervantes. 

It showed that Cervantes had been reprimanded for several incidents, including harassment and using his taser to discipline a puppy. 

The report described other incidents, including one in which a Valley police officer asked the Maricopa County Attorney's Office to file intimidation and harassment charges against Cervantes.

This is a developing situation. Stay tuned to 12 News for the latest. 


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