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Attorney: Video of fatal shooting involving FAMU student may not exist

Attorney says student was pulled over for seatbelt violation
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Posted at 11:18 AM, Dec 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-20 11:18:18-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Video of an officer-involved shooting that killed a 22-year-old FAMU student may not exist, according to an attorney for the student's family.

Jamee Johnson, 22, was shot to death by a Jacksonville officer during a traffic stop last week. He was a senior business major at FAMU who was set to graduate in spring 2020.

According to First Coast News, Lee Merritt, an attorney for Johnson's family, said Thursday that the State Attorney's Office told the parents the college student was pulled over for a seat belt violation.

The sheriff's office has not yet released details about what led to the traffic stop.

Merritt, who was with the family during the news conference, said he was told the dashcam video does not exist. The ABC affiliate reports that while both officers were wearing body cameras, there may not be video of the shooting itself.

“It seems that the shooting officer's camera became dislodged during the course of the incident, based on our conversation ..." Merritt said.

Deputies say they pulled over Johnson and when they noticed he had a gun, asked him to get out of the car.

That's when they say a struggle happened. Johnson is accused of hopping back into his car, reaching for a gun in the front seat and accelerating his car toward one of the officers.

The officer, identified by First Coast News as J. Garriga, then shot Johnson.

"Witnesses state that he was outside of his vehicle after informing law enforcement of his legally owned firearm," Merritt wrote in a social media post a days before the news conference. "Dash/Body cam footage of the incident has not been made readily available."

Police released a photo of the firearm in the car hours after the shooting.

Johnson's friends, like his family, say they want to see what happened for themselves.

"I don't believe that the story they're putting out there because it was legally in his name. He has no criminal record. He has no reason to do the actions they're saying he done," said Cromer.

Both officers have been placed on paid administrative leave. The officers were treated at a hospital for minor injuries, which were not specified, and have since been released.