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State lawmaker, family push DPS for more details in Dion Johnson's death

A statement released by a family representative says the family does not condone violence stemming from protests. They're also demanding more information.

PHOENIX — George Floyd’s death is the fuel for demonstrations across the country, but there's another name at the center of the protests in Phoenix.

28-year-old Dion Johnson was shot and killed by an Arizona Trooper early in the morning on Memorial Day. As his family heads into another week with questions, they have a new message for those out protesting in their son's name.

A statement released by a family representative says the family does not condone violence stemming from protests. They're also demanding more information about Dion's death.

RELATED: Police: No body cam or dash cam footage in DPS shooting death; family and friends pushing for answers

"A lot of questions unanswered," said Erma Johnson at a vigil Friday night. "A lot of things that I would want to know that happened to my son in the last minutes of his life."

Phoenix police, who took over the death investigation, say the trooper found Johnson passed out in his parked vehicle, which was blocking part of the freeway near Loop 101 and Tatum Boulevard.

Police said there was a struggle that and the Trooper fired their weapon, killing Johnson.  They also say there was a gun recovered from the scene.

The trooper who fired their weapon and another responding trooper were not equipped with body cameras and didn’t have dashcams.

"There’s something suspicious about that," said State Representative Reginald Bolding.

Rep. Bolding echoed Dion's family's concerns a week after his death in a letter to DPS demanding more information.

Investigators haven’t described the struggle that led to the shooting – or how a gun was recovered.

"The lack of information that DPS is providing is something in the community that makes people absolutely wonder what is there to hide," he said.

DPS says they don’t issue body cameras to their troopers and that 122 highway patrol cars are equipped with dashcams.  

Governor Ducey’s 2021 budget proposal includes $3 million to buy more than 1,200 cameras for troopers along with another $2 million to hire staff to manage the footage. The FY 2021 budget is still under review.

For now, Rep. Bolding just wants transparency. He asked DPS to release the trooper's name and history with the department.

"Give the family some sense of where this investigation is leading," he said.

Neither DPS nor Phoenix police have released the name of the trooper involved in the shooting, but DPS says they’re on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues.

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MORE: 'Someone's got to do it': Crews, citizens cleaning up downtown Phoenix after protest turns destructive